Review: Consent Laid Bare by Chantel Contos

Consent Laid Bare is important reading. It is also not terribly comfortable reading as it takes a look at the politics of sexual consent. How is it in a supposedly enlightened era that consent is such a difficult topic? 

Contos argues that despite women having achieved equality in so many ways, when it comes to sexuality we are still subjected to an outdated social model, where men's pleasure is considered more important than a woman's humanity. She looks at how women's sexuality has been co-opted by the porn industry and the problems that come with that--especially when teenage boys are accessing porn and assuming that any violent or degrading acts depicted are pleasurable. 

As I said at the start of my review, this is not comfortable reading. Many things are uncomfortable, though the points raised are relevant. And while I might not agree with everything the author says (and nor do I have to,) I think she raises an important issue. The chapter at the end, titled Dear Boys and Men, was particularly interesting and I appreciate that it wasn't about blame so much as it was about raising awareness and creating change.


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