Can We Talk About Consent?
An entertaining and clear guide to what consent is, this book outlines how we can apply the principles of consent when making decisions both for ourselves and with others. This is a serious topic, but it’s handled here with a light and humorous touch. The central concepts are presented in an accessible and memorable way, with the help of the vibrant and inclusive illustrations. One of the most useful concepts is a ‘Should Story’, which is told to us to try and make us do what’s ‘normal’, even if it’s not harmful to do otherwise.
The book encourages us to learn to choose, even about the small things because then we’ll get practice for when we need to make choices about big things (such as who to have relationships with). This is how we develop agency. It also discusses why consent is central to good relationships: it leads to mutually enjoyable experiences and shared memories.
We learn how to ask, how to say no, how to listen to someone else’s no, and – another key concept – that the absence of a ‘no’ does not mean a ‘yes’. We also find out what to do if something non-consensual happens.
Crucially, we learn why it’s harder for some people to give consent, whether because of their gender, race, socio-economic background, or other factors. And we are asked to think about how we can use our agency and freedom to choose in a way that empowers others. A must-read. But only if you want to.