Ask: Build­ing Con­sent Cul­ture

Kitty Stryker

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Nonfiction - CLAIRE FOSTER

Thorn­tree Press (OC­TO­BER) Soft­cover (224pp) 978-1-944934-25-5

The book’s pow­er­ful, pos­i­tive mes­sage is much needed at a time when “just say no” isn’t enough.

Con­sent is sexy? No, it’s manda­tory. Ask: Build­ing Con­sent Cul­ture is an em­pow­er­ing, in­for­ma­tive an­thol­ogy of es­says to help young

peo­ple de­fine their per­sonal bound­aries. Fo­cus­ing on re­spect, safety, and self-ad­vo­cacy,

Ask is re­quired read­ing in a cul­ture that of­ten over­looks young peo­ple’s rights to make their own rules about their bod­ies.

Con­sent isn’t just pro­tec­tion from; it’s also free­dom to: “free­dom to ex­press de­sire, to ex­plore plea­sure, to seek in­ti­macy and ad­ven­ture.” As a re­sponse to rape cul­ture, con­sent is a ne­ces­sity. The es­says in Ask fo­cus on im­por­tant ex­pe­ri­ences with con­sent at home, school, and work; in a med­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment or in jail; and in re­la­tion­ships.

The ma­jor­ity of the es­says are a cri­tique of ex­ist­ing power struc­tures and sug­gest al­ter­na­tive, more in­clu­sive ways to live, work, and take care of each other. This is not a hand­book, but a won­der­ful guide that sug­gests new ideas about so­cial aware­ness and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Ask is edited by Kitty Strkyer, founder of con­sent­cul­ture.com. Ac­tive for decades in the kink com­mu­nity, she tours in­ter­na­tion­ally as a speaker on fem­i­nism, sex work, body pos­i­tiv­ity, and queer pol­i­tics. Con­trib­u­tors in­clude peo­ple of all ori­en­ta­tions, back­grounds, and iden­ti­ties, giv­ing a strong, di­verse cross-sec­tion of opin­ions on con­sent.

From lawyers to ed­u­ca­tors to po­ets to sex work­ers to jour­nal­ists, Ask’s list of writ­ers is a coun­cil of smart, com­pas­sion­ate ad­vo­cates. Their mes­sage? Learn what works for you. Ask for what you want. Em­power oth­ers to do the same.

Although Ask may some­times go over the heads of younger peo­ple, it’s thought-pro­vok­ing ma­te­rial. Par­ents and adults who work with young peo­ple will find good re­sources here. The book’s pow­er­ful, pos­i­tive mes­sage is much needed at a time when “just say no” isn’t enough.

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