Consent and Tea - of the Goverened


I notice that despite discussions about consent having become far more frequent and productive, it seems to be “fashionable” to address only certain kinds of consent. Is recognition of your agency and autonomy of utmost daily significance? Should we be willing to discuss transgressions of consent, and what to do about them? While in topics either about consent generally, or governance, mention of “consent of the governed” quickly results in unease.

Having had to learn “both sides” of sexual/bodily consent issues as I matured, and having always been a politico/revolutionary type, I have never seen them as being fundamentally dissimilar concepts. Both affect you on a daily basis, in all of your dealings with people, for your entire life. Both are about communication and dealing with exploitation, countering ugly power dynamics which exist to deny one’s agency and autonomy, which are used to render one a resource to be used by another whose power is recognized rather than an equal partner with a fair say. But still I witness a strong push to deny the apparent equivalence, without any effort at all made to elucidate why they may not in fact be equivalent. To me, they seem closely linked in how they work and enable each other. And even those who acknowledge some relationships between entrenched patriarchal structures in society and issues of bodily autonomy note the significance of calling attention to those structures and working to change them, while avoiding discussion of citizenship and governance themselves as consent-based issues.

Is it something more obvious to me coming at this from a direct democracy perspective? Have some people agreed that public discourse is just not ready for that discussion? It directly affects you, so what do you think is going on here?


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