Tampa Bay Times

The economics of consent

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In the Atlantic, Brit Marling describes “the way economics complicate the notion of consent.” Read “Harvey Weinstein and the Economics of Consent” in full at http://theatln.tc/2y6sq5n. Here’s an excerpt.

Straight, white men tend to tell stories from their perspectiv­e, as one naturally does, which means the women are generally underwritt­en

(in scripts). They don’t necessaril­y even need names; “Bikini Babe 2” and “Blonde 4” are parts I auditioned for. If the female characters are lucky enough to have names, they are usually designed only to ask the questions that prompt the lead male monologue, or they are quickly killed in service to advancing the plot.

Once, when I was standing in line for some open-call audition for a horror film, I remember catching my reflection in the mirror and realizing that I was dressed like a sex object. Every woman in line to audition for Nurse was, it seemed. We had all internaliz­ed on some level the idea that if we were going to be cast we’d better sell what was desired — not our artistry, not our imaginatio­ns — but our bodies.

It was around this time that I remember sitting in a casual gathering where a straight, white male activist said, “Our gender and race has all the power. So when you want to have sex with a woman you have to ask and get her verbal consent.” He continued, “If that woman is a person of color, she is oppressed by both her gender and her race and then you should really ask twice.” The literalism of his ratio was ridiculous­ly reductive, and his declarativ­e tone off-putting, but I appreciate­d that he was trying to articulate how complicate­d it is to negotiate the invisible forces of privilege and power inside sexual encounters.

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