Back in September Rush Limbaugh got into trouble with the rape-culture police for saying that sometimes "no means yes."
“'No means no' eliminates the gray area, and, best case, it prevents rape," lectured a stern Bob Casca at the Daily Banter.
Sorry, Bob, but you're behind the times.
Writing for the CMC Forum, the official student publication at California's Claremont-McKenna College, Jordan Basiljevac says that not only does no mean no, but yes means no, too:
At five, relatives used to kiss my cheeks even as I winced and turned away. At the tender age of twelve, I was taught that my bra straps and thighs deserved detention because they distracted boys at school. At sixteen, my boyfriend assured me that most girls liked this—I just needed to relax. So at 20, in someone’s room after a party, ‘no’ was scary and unfamiliar to me. These incidents, unfortunately, are not unique to me. In discussing this experience with friends, we coined the term “raped by rape culture” to describe what it was like to say yes, coerced by the culture that had raised us and the systems of power that worked on us, and to still want ‘no.’ Sometimes, for me, there was obligation from already having gone back to someone’s room, not wanting to ruin a good friendship, loneliness, worry that no one else would ever be interested, a fear that if I did say no, they might not stop, the influence of alcohol, and an understanding that hookups are “supposed” to be fun.
Consent is a privilege, and it was built for wealthy, heterosexual, cis, white, western, able-bodied masculinity. When society has taught some of us to take up as little space as possible, to take all attention as flattery, and to be truly grateful that anyone at all could want our bodies or love, it isn’t always our choice to say yes.
Is Basiljevac saying that only rich white "able-bodied" hetero males can consent to sex? Is she saying that when Grandma gave her a peck on the cheek, she was inducted into "rape culture"? I think so.
And how about this?
Consent as a privilege doesn’t just happen in sex. It happens for those of us who give too much in friendships without knowing how to ask for reciprocation, who let doctors touch us in ways that are triggering because we don’t want to make trouble, who dance with handsy strangers because our friends already left the party, who stick around in toxic relationships because we don’t know if we’re allowed to expect better. When you’re poor, disabled, queer, non-white, trans, or feminine, ‘no’ isn’t for you.
In fact, even California's draconian new "affirmative consent" law for campus sex, isn't good enough for Basiljevac:
We cannot trust the state to defend consent and bodily integrity—not in Baltimore, Ferguson, Los Angeles, or Claremont. In this moment, we have to throw out legislation entirely to realize that justice for our communities wasn’t built into those systems anyway.
Claremont, Californa, that leafy Southern California college town where the median household income is $87,354 and the fifth-best place in the U.S. to live, according to CNN/Money. Just like Baltimore!
So: No means no and yes means no, unless you're one of those white cis-sexist men. "Rape culture" is everywhere.