Readers might know that most of us here at SAPAC are long-time fans of Jezebel.com. Feminist analysis, kitten videos, and pop culture all rolled into one fantastic package. Today, however, they've decided to post a fairly rape-friendly post by an "American guy in Paris freed from the idea of "consent." Yes, that is the title of the post.
It goes on to explain how the culture in Paris is one of violent, aggressive "come-ons" by men, including groping random women, forcibly kissing them, and getting them drunk to facilitate a "romantic moment." French women are supposed to laugh and accept this, and even feel flattered to be constantly "permanent sources of desire." Women are supposed to maneuver these attacks to "have the upper hand" in the situation. Excuse me for not catching this, but how the hell do women have the upper hand in a sexual attack?
He then goes on to discuss how women in America are so bound by ideas of consent-- "Here in America, our use of the word "consent" complicates the way we view the relation between sex and pleasure. "Consent" is a weighty term otherwise reserved for elevated, formal, even sanitized contexts. Using the term in regards to sex inherently ties a sexual choice to ethical and legal ones (and our unshakable Puritanism once again rears its modest head)."
I'm the first to agree that America is a Puritanical society, but this is ridiculous. Once again, women are positioned as the gatekeepers, and told that we have to be the ones to say yes or no to sex-- but not consent! No, sex isn't like that, you just make a decision with a sexual aggressor bearing down on you! Note to "American guy"-- this is sexual assault. Grabbing women on the street, kissing them without their permission-- these are both assault.
The very idea that Jezebel would post something like this disgusts me. It doesn't have an editor's name on the post, and the author, Edward Pasteck, doesn't have any other articles, and the only result for him on Google, other than the article in question, is a cached Facebook page without a photo and with only two friends. Judging by the comments on the article, it was up earlier today, which means it was taken down sometime between the posting of the article at 12:21 today and when I started writing this post at 1:30. I'm calling bullshit on this. Edward Pasteck doesn't exist, and it was somebody's idea of either a sick joke or "a way of sparking a conversation." Either way, I'm furious that one of the few spaces on the internet for women like me was invaded. I for one demand an apology from Jezebel for this, and I'll post an update when I find out what is going on.
The only direct word I got was utter dismissal, which, judging by the comments on the actual article and many other blogs, is pretty much par for the course with Jessica Coen. I admit I was a little ragey in my email, which almost certainly didn't help, but a lot of comments have been acknowledging the fact that Jezebel has gone downhill recently, and I agree.
The "update" on their site says "Update/Editor's Note: "Edward Pasteck" is a pseudonym under which the author wants to continue writing (elsewhere). His views do not necessarily reflect the views of the site." Oh really? So you just tacitly support it? If you didn't, there would have been some analysis, a disclaimer, a trigger warning, ANYTHING. Instead, you gave him a platform from which to spew this garbage and then all you do is give that weak "note?" Thanks a lot. Shape up, guys.