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?