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The Limits of Consent: Your Thoughts
Feedback on my interview with Mia Döring
Some of the best comments in response to my interview with Mia Döring below.
By the way, I’m off to America tomorrow! I’ll be debating Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Providence College on Tuesday afternoon, and then on Thursday at Harvard I’ll be in conversation with Mary Harrington and Christine Emba on the question of ‘Rethinking Feminism.’ Maybe see some of you there.
Have a lovely week –
A very thoughtful comment from Zahira:
There were two very powerful things Mia said that I don't think are talked about anywhere near enough: One is that this is always framed in terms of the "sex worker's" right to sell sex, but no one EVER questions the rights of the (mostly) male buyers to buy sex as a service, like it's any other service!!! It's always been horrifying to me that the male buyers are so comfortable having sex with someone and getting sexual pleasure from it when the other person is clearly reluctant and / or coerced, usually by financial necessity or abuse (if they weren't, they would need a payment to sleep with you!!). This is why a model that criminalises buyers is so important. This belongs to a wider question, of what should we be able to purchases as consumers? Sex? Babies? People? Two: How her body experienced the encounter as rape / abuse, regardless of her mind. Again, this is part of a wider discussion about how many people try to separate themselves from their body and feelings of discomfort.
The boundary between body and mind was a theme that William Matthews also picked up on:
Very important that stories like Mia's are more widely known. What she said about her critics, especially academics, over-intellectualising and living far too much in their heads rather than their bodies is key to understanding the wider political dynamics around sex and gender. And actually so much of contemporary culture more generally… I suspect it's also more likely to become a goal and spread as such in a context where most of one's thinking and communication is slow and deliberative. Like academia but also in a wider context where more and more communication and opinion-voicing is text-based or delayed response, as online, rather than face to face, immediate, and intuitive.
A lot of people commented that Mia’s account reminded them of their own experiences, including Adrienne:
I was reminded very much throughout of experiences I had as a teenager and young woman that while technically consensual, were deeply damaging in the long term. The endgame of “sex positivity” is that anything can/should be allowed as long as there is consent, with absolutely no regard given to the fact that young women often cannot discern what experiences will be harmful and this only comes with age, guidance, and experience.
And as Karen D’Arbes replied:
We are at the point where parents feel they can no longer give advice, guidance or boundaries to their children. It’s like kids are supposed to be the adults and, sure, they know themselves, right?