Greer's 'bad sex' and the future of consent

Brooks, V. 2019. Greer's 'bad sex' and the future of consent. Sexuality and Culture. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s12119-019-09671

TitleGreer's 'bad sex' and the future of consent
TypeJournal article
AuthorsBrooks, V.
Abstract

Germaine Greer’s polemic, ‘On Rape’, has proved controversial and has served to further divide feminist opinion on the way to move forward from #MeToo in consent reform. Greer’s work, along with other second wave feminists has been rejected by third wave feminist scholarship for simultaneously minimising the harm caused to victims of sexual violence, and claiming that rape is not ‘catastrophic’, with Naomi Wolf being Greer’s most vocal and powerful opponent. Yet, I claim that in maintaining this position in opposition to Greer we are missing the real transformative power of Greer’s revival of second-wave arguments in relation to reforming our laws on consent post #MeToo. The consent framework and the definition of consent under the Sexual Offences Act 2003 has been readily criticised for its vague definition of ‘freedom’ and ‘capacity’ in that such a definition misses the subtler, yet powerful, ways in which victims are coerced and abused – those which are most insidious, since they are embedded within the fabric of our society, and within the ‘tissue’ of heterosex. Greer’s position that rape is ‘bad sex’, may well hold some truth – since bad sex for women, has long been accepted as part of life albeit reduced to sufferance and duty. Inevitably, this leads us to the conclusion that there are many more instances of rape than we thought, and many more women suffering, than we thought. This article examines this position and argues for urgent research on women’s sexuality, and radical intervention in the law and academia, in the quest for consent law reform.

KeywordsConsent; feminism; sexuality; consent reform
JournalSexuality and Culture
ISSN1095-5143
Year2019
PublisherSpringer
Publisher's version
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1007/s12119-019-09671
Web address (URL)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12119-019-09671-x?wt_mc=Internal.Event.1.SEM.ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst&utm_source=ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst&utm_medium=email&utm_content=AA_en_06082018&ArticleAuthorOnlineFirst_20191117
Publication dates
Published online16 Nov 2019
LicenseCC BY 4.0

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