Tempest in a Teapot?

Fenster writes:


ere is a video on the subject of tea.  Oh, and sex, too, since they go together like love and marriage.  Check it out.

This was sent to me by a friend who works at a college and knows the by-ways very well.  He found it amusing and thought it might be useful to my daughter, who just started her freshman year.  His view is that it is a lesson for all, male and female, and that there is much to be gained in the promotion of the simple virtue of consent.

In some ways I agree but the simplicity of the video is both elegant and deceptive.  There’s a bit of prestidigitation at work.

First off, is this or is this not a message for both sexes?  Ummm, yes and no to both questions.  On the one hand, let’s consider the intent of the author, or at least the expressed intent.  The video is based on a blog post by one rockstar dinosaur pirate princess in which the tea concept is put forth and in which the following assertion is made:

It seems people really have a problem understanding that before you have sex with someone, and that’s every time you have sex with them, make sure they want to have sex with you. This goes for men, women, everyone. Whoever you are initiating sexytimes with, just make sure they are actually genuinely up for it. That’s it. It’s not hard. Really.

Well, if it is really not hard, not hard at all, we shouldn’t have much of a problem, should we?  But I digress . . . .

Added to the authorial intent is the issue of design.  The video is put out by a small outfit called Blue Seat Studios.  They have cleverly opted for stick figures that are either male or of indeterminate gender.  And the title: “Sex and Consent” is neutral in a way that, say, “Keep it in Your Pants, Laddies” or “Men are Such Beasts” would not be.

The clever design is also apparent in the tone of the thing.  It is innocent and even a bit childlike.  In that sense it is reminiscent of Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  Just be nice to people!  That makes it perfect for the college set, to which it appears to be aimed: “Hey Andrew, we know you’re a nice kid since your mom and dad grew you up that way.  You were raised to be polite.  Just because you are on your own for the first time, and are with a drunken co-ed, that’s no reason to forget what your mom and dad told you.  And that goes for you too, Chloe!”

So we are given some reason to think that the message has a good-for-goose good-for-gander quality.  And even if there is some disingenuousness in there–and I think there is–it is meaningful that the rhetoric surrounding the video is not overtly structured as targeting male irresponsibility.

That said, a moment’s reflection on the admonitions in the video suggest it was crafted with male restraint in mind.  Women and men are equally able to pour tea down the throat of an unconscious member of the other sex but the sex act itself is another matter.

Tea and sex are of course very different things and the etiquette around them is also likely to vary, and in proportion to the differences.

It is not the responsibility of one video to take on the possibly different ways that males and females should consider how they should handle themselves with respect to these delicate issues.  But by subtly suggesting the one video is good for all it also subtly suggests that consent, as it is put forth in the video, is the only simple all purpose tool that needs to be considered.

The mind’s need for polarities as simple organizing principles suggests to us that males and females are the same thing but in reverse.  But that is not so.  They are different but not in a mirror image kind of way.  The differences are jagged, irregular and nuanced given that humans are made of crooked timber.  Thus, the female version of male consent is probably not female consent.   It is probably something else.  But what?

Gwendolyn and Cecily? Dear Algy, did you not know they were at the Slut Walk?

Gwendolyn and Cecily? Dear Algy, did you not know they were at the Slut Walk?

About Fenster

Gainfully employed for thirty years, including as one of those high paid college administrators faculty complain about. Earned Ph.D. late in life and converted to the faculty side. Those damn administrators are ruining everything.
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4 Responses to Tempest in a Teapot?

  1. peterike2 says:

    There’s a very important part missing from that video. In the interest of public service, I am providing a script for the missing portion. Imagine this in the voice of the narrator.

    “Now let’s say somebody offers you tea, and you say yes to the tea, and you drink the tea, and you act like you’re enjoying the tea. [Show stick figure saying ‘Yum!’] Well then the next day, or a few days or even weeks later, you’re not allowed to say that, really, you never liked that tea, or that you were forced to drink the tea when in fact you accepted it, or that it was really bad tea and now you feel violated by it. [Show stick figure saying “blech!”] Once you accept the tea it’s your tea. You can stop drinking before you finish it, but once you finish it, you own that tea and you can’t pretend you never wanted it in the first place.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. agnostic says:

    The whole CONSENT movement is trying to propagandize young clueless brains into equating doing something that you’re “not actually, genuinely up for” at the moment — which socially normal people do all the time as a form of compromise to maintain relationships — with being taken advantage of while shitfaced drunk / passed out / etc.

    It’s a ridiculous equation that only socially sheltered people would be amenable to accepting — good thing for the propagandists that the products of helicopter parenting have minimal social experiences and therefore zero intuition about how relationships work.

    The rollback movement needs to emphasize that it’s obviously wrong to take advantage of people who are semi- or non-conscious. It doesn’t take a people-person to figure that one out. But the main point to make is that we all do things that we’d rather not, and that this compromise is a sign of maturity in social matters.

    Some of a girl’s girlfriends may be fun to hang out with, but some of her friends are boring and annoying — yet sometimes we have to bite the bullet and get along with them. Some of things she cooks up taste nice, but some of her concoctions taste gross — yet we shouldn’t blow it out of proportion, complain later about how we were fed tofu salad against our actual, genuine desire at the time, etc.

    And that if you’re going to have to compromise too much — all her friends are annoying, all her cooking is gross — then you should exit the relationship and find a new one. Just like if a girl feels like her boyfriend is constantly begging her for sex that she doesn’t want. Exit and find a new one.

    It’s depressing that basic stuff like these needs to be explained to college students, but they’re all victims of helicopter parenting, and we have to try to minimize their anti-social immaturity the best we can now that they’re here in grown-up land, for better or worse.


  3. Tarrou says:

    Let’s say (for the sake of argument, nothing like this would EVER happen in real life), you have a young lady who claims she didn’t want tea. In fact, she never wanted tea. But ten guys held her down and poured boiling tea all over her, while she lay on a bed of broken teacups. Somehow without injury! And the first guy to offer tea turns out to be a made-up person who never existed. And all the people she accused had alibis. But still, because she is a girl and girls never lie about tea, this becomes a great national sensation.

    What do you do when there was no tea. No teacup. No pot. No one even there to brew the tea, and no place for it to have been brewed in, but someone claims they were unjustly and without their consent forced to have tea!

    What does the metaphor say about this case?


  4. Pingback: You Read it Here First! | Uncouth Reflections

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