Tag Archives: consent

Affirmative Consent

What ‘Affirmative Consent’ Actually Means, via Think Progress:

proposed bill in California that would require college students to obtain explicit consent before proceeding with a sexual encounter is sparking controversy over whether that standard can actually work in practice. The legislation, which was introduced as a direct response to the current sexual assault crisis on college campuses, defines consent as an “affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity” every step of the way. There are some concerns that’s much too broad.

“I feel like their hearts are in the right place, but the implementation is a little too excessive,” a biology major at Cal State Long Beach told the Long Beach Press Telegram. “Are there guidelines? Are we supposed to check every five minutes?”

“Whether anyone could feel ‘sexy’ under such conditions seems dubious at best,” concurs arecent piece published in the libertarian magazine Reason that also calls California’s proposal both “absurd” and “dangerous.”

And in a Washington Post article entitled “YOU are a rapist; yes YOU,” law professor David Bernstein argues that requiring a standard of explicit consent for sexual encounters “makes almost every adult in the U.S. (men AND women) — and that likely includes you, dear reader — a perpetrator of sexual assault.” Bernstein is mainly concerned about the ambiguous first steps of initiating a sexual encounter, giving the example of a woman who may unbutton a man’s shirt without explicitly asking.

There are legitimate questions about whether state legislation is the right vehicle for instilling a culture of affirmative consent on college campuses. But much of the hyperbolic concern over turning students into rapists and taking the fun out of sex stems from a misunderstanding about how affirmative consent actually operates in practice.

Affirmative consent isn’t based on the idea that every sexual encounter is a rigid contract between two parties. No one is suggesting that college students need to run through a checklist before unbuttoning each other’s shirts. Instead, it’s more about broadly reorientingabout how we approach sex in the first place.

The current societal script on sex assumes that passivity and silence — essentially, the “lack of a no” — means it’s okay to proceed. That’s on top of the fact that male sexuality has been socially defined as aggressive, something that can result in men feeling entitled to sex, while women have been taught that sex is something that simply happens to them rather than something they’re an active participant in. It’s not hard to imagine how couples end up in ambiguous situations where one partner is not exactly comfortable with going forward, but also not exactly comfortable saying no.

Under an affirmative consent standard, on the other hand, both partners are required to pay more attention to whether they’re feeling enthusiastic about the sexual experience they’re having. There aren’t any assumptions about where the sexual encounter is going or whether both people are already on the same page. At its very basic level, this is the opposite of killing the mood — it’s about making sure the person with whom you’re about to have sex isexcited about having sex with you.

Making sure someone else is enthusiastic about what you’re doing with them requires you to consider their wants and needs, think about how to bring them pleasure, and ultimately approach sex like a partnership instead of a means to your own end.

It’s admittedly somewhat of a departure from the way our society often approaches sex; recent studies have found that most college students feel uncomfortable voicing their desires during sexual encounters, and there’s a gender imbalance in whose pleasure is prioritized. But the emphasis on getting consent isn’t an effort to turn everyone into rapists. It’s just about encouraging better communication across the board.

“Consent isn’t a question. It’s a state,” feminist writer Jaclyn Friedman, who wrote a book on enthusiastic consent, explained in a blog post back in 2010. “If, instead of lovers, the two of you were synchronized swimmers, consent would be the water. It’s not enough to jump in, get wet and climb out — if you want to swim, you have to be in the water continually. And if you want to have sex, you have to be continually in a state of enthusiastic consent with your partner.”

The people who are worried about affirmative consent standards are typically preoccupied about the people who may be penalized for failing to ask questions every step of the way. What if a college student starts passionately kissing his girlfriend without getting her permission first? What if a couple enjoys explicitly consensual foreplay and then moves on to intercourse without a verbal agreement beforehand?

But those hypothetical situations aren’t necessarily breaches of an affirmative consent standard. If both partners were enthusiastic about the sexual encounter, there will be no reason for anyone to report a rape later. So if college students are worried about protecting themselves from being penalized, it’s not hard — all they have to do is stick to engaging in physical contact with people who are clearly receptive to it at the time. That doesn’t include girls who are passed out drunk, but it probably does include most couples in long term relationships, who are used to communicating their needs to each other. There are certainly some gray areas in sexual encounters, and it’s sexually active young adults’ responsibility to figure out how to navigate them effectively.

That’s likely not enough to pacify the critics who are concerned about women abusing the system and lying about rape in order to ruin men’s lives. But that’s a bigger problem. The supposed threat of false rape claims continues to be trotted out to undermine efforts to enact sexual assault reform, often by so-called “men’s rights activists” who are worried that feminists are primarily interested in victimizing them. In reality, false rape allegations are very rare, comprising about two to eight percent of all reports for a crime that’s alreadyvastly under-reported.

More broadly, it’s perhaps important to remember that California’s proposed law isn’t that groundbreaking on the collegiate level. The National Center For Higher Education Risk Management, which advises higher education institutions about how to craft effective sexual assault policies, has been recommending this type of consent standard for more than a decade. It’s already in place at colleges in the University of California system, as well as atmost Ivy League schools. In the midst of increased attention to issues of rape on campus, some universities are in the process of refining their definitions of consent even further to make sure students are on the same page.

“The shift in this country away from defining sexual violence as force-based conduct has been championed by many colleges, and is now the law in a majority of states,” the National Center For Higher Education Risk Management noted in a 2001 guide for campuses. “Many state criminal codes are antiquated, at best. Colleges are on the cutting edge with so many issues, ideas, and research. Sexual misconduct should be no different, and is an area in which colleges really can and do lead the way.”

The shirts pictured in the photo above are made by an organization called Only With Consent. If you’re no longer afraid of affirmative consent, you can get your own here.

Consent “102”

Consent 102: Clarifying the Gray Spaces, via The Good Men Project:

I learned how to put the moves on a girl watching Danny and Sandy [Grease, pictured above]. Most memorable—and easiest to understand for my 10 year old self—was his fake sneeze at the drive-in. From hands and arms at his side, to arm on the seat behind her, to fake sneeze and arm on her shoulder, he was smooth.

Things went downhill from there, literally and figuratively. When Danny started groping Sandy, she objected. Strongly. Got out of the car and walked away. He lamented being alone at the drive-in, but didn’t understand what went wrong. At 10, I went with the storyline (and stereotypes) and saw her as prudish. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s and had a fair amount of experience that I realized what was missing: her consent.  I also realized that he’s mauling her, not groping her, but that’s a different story.

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I grew up in the 1970s and was taught “no means no.” In my 20s, I went on a few dates with a young woman. After an activity out (dinner, movie, etc.), we’d ended up back at one of our places and make out. At the beginning of each make out session, she’d tell me how far we’d be going, saying something like “no hands under shirts.” And then she’d inevitably take us across that line, moving my hand under shirt.

I didn’t have a good framework for how to understand what was going on and had no idea what to do when someone said no and then changed it to yes in the middle of making out. I wasn’t very good at the relationship thing at that point, so instead of talking about it, I just stopped calling her. Retrospectively, that wasn’t my best move, but it was the only thing I could figure out at the time.

Today, we teach kids that “yes means yes” and “no means no.” I think that would have helped my 20something self. Then again, there’s still a lot of nonverbal communication and indirect messaging that happens as a two-some moves from no sexual contact through their first sex together. These messages can be difficult to understand, and contribute to the notion that men and women come from different planets. The challenges are magnified for teens and others with relatively little experience in the dating and sexual realms.

That lack of experiences often turns into a reliance on gender stereotypes and images presented by mass media, including porn. In those realms, it’s usually the guy’s responsibility to make the moves and girls rarely say—or mean—no for any length of time.

Below are some guidelines to help understand and navigate the grey areas so they become black and white. We’re big on consent here at GMP, whether those are lessons for teens or kids age 1-21.

The Indirect No.

Girls are given a double message about the word no. They’re taught to say it clearly when something sexually is happening that they don’t like. And they’re taught that being someone’s friend—and especially being someone’s girlfriend—means agreeing, or at least going along with, whatever their partner suggests in order to maintain or strengthen the relationship. This gets reinforced through lessons on politeness; a flat “no” may be considered incredibly rude.

So, when confronted with a situation where he is stereotypically pushing for more intimate sexual contact, she says things like “what if someone walks in on us?,” “what if I get pregnant?,” or “this [car/sofa/etc.] isn’t the right place.” All of these are indirect ways of saying either “no” or “not yet.” But boys are rarely given the decoder ring—there’s no male version of Seventeen to explain it to them—so they interpret this as either some form of making excuses or as a problem that needs to be solved. If he believes she’s making excuses, a nice guy will take this as some version of no and back off, while a jerk will continue to pressure her because he thinks she doesn’t know how to say yes.

On the other hand, he may understand “what if someone walks in on us?” as a problem to be solved. Being a problem solver—whether that’s figuring out how to get to the next level of Halo, finding a way to beat a 4-6 defense, fixing stuff around the house, or making the electronics play together nicely—is part of our (stereotypical) expectations of guys. With a goal of having sex and a problem of “someone might walk in on us,” he’s likely to start looking for solutions. He’ll get frustrated when she rejects each solution or finds additional problems to solve and she’ll get frustrated because he doesn’t understand her “no.”

There’s a simple solution though: ask/say if the message is really “not yet” or if it’s “no, never.” And remember that not yet doesn’t mean stop, it means keep doing what you’re doing but don’t go any farther.

Grunting & Groping

It’s not the clearest form of communication, but permission is often granted nonverbally. It’s one of the findings of a long line of research by University of Kansas researcher Charlene Muehlenhard, who has spent the last two decades studying sexual consent among college students. Her research indicates consent is often given nonverbally, often with one person—typically the guy—putting his hand (or mouth or whatever) someplace it hasn’t been before. He might rest it there for a moment, implicitly asking if it’s okay, before doing anything. If his partner doesn’t like it, she (or he) can move it away. If she just stops but doesn’t say anything, that should be understood as no.

If he’s going too fast, or repeatedly puts his hand someplace where his partner doesn’t want it, then she may stop the action completely. Just ask Danny Zuko.

There’s a simple way to make this more explicit. When that hand gets to a new place, break the liplock for half a second and ask “is this okay?”

Be Explicit

Don’t ask about “doing it” or “hooking up” because those terms are ambiguous. Ask or tell the person what you want to do and if they’re okay with that behavior. Lack of vocabulary probably won’t be a problem. Be reasonably specific; if it helps you can be very technically specific—I want to put my tongue in your mouth and move it back and forth—and laugh about it.

If you’re not comfortable saying it out loud—whether it is about permission to cuddle, kiss, or penetrate—then you’re not ready to do it.

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All of these forms of consent rely on the assumption that you’re both at least reasonably sober and otherwise capable of giving consent. If she’s passed out, as in Steubenville or Maryville, then there’s no consent. These guidelines also assume that both girls and guys can refuse sex and that people will stop when asked to do so. And even though I’ve mostly written for a male-female couple, these guidelines should work for any pairing.

Teaching consent

The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, Ages 1 – 21, via The Good Men Project:

A list of parenting action items, created in the hope that we can raise a generation of children who have less rape and sexual assault in their lives.

The ongoing horror of rape in the news, from Penn State to the young women raped and killed in India to Steubenville, has proven to be a wake-up call for many parents. We always knew that rape was a problem, but never before have we been so mobilized to create change.

As writers, educators, and advocates of sex-positivity and healthy consent, the four of us have been inundated with requests from parents for advice on how to help create a future with less rape and sexual assault.

We believe parents can start educating children about consent and empowerment as early as 1 year old and continuing into the college years. It is our sincere hope that this education can help us raise empowered young adults who have empathy for others and a clear understanding of healthy consent.

We hope parents and educators find this list of action items and teaching tools helpful, and that together we can help create a generation of children who have less rape and sexual assault in their lives.

There are three sections, based upon children’s ages, preschool, grade school, and teens and young adults.

Sincerely,

Julie Gills, Jamie Utt, Alyssa Royse and Joanna Schroeder

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For Very Young Children (ages 1-5):

1. Teach children to ask permission before touching or embracing a playmate. Use langauge such as, “Sarah, let’s ask Joe if he would like to hug bye-bye.” If Joe says “no” to this request, cheerfully tell your child, “That’s okay, Sarah! Let’s wave bye-bye to Joe and blow him a kiss.”

2. Help create empathy within your child by explaining how something they have done may have hurt someone. Use language like, “I know you wanted that toy, but when you hit Mikey, it hurt him and he felt very sad. And we don’t want Mikey to feel sad because we hurt him.”

Encourage your child to imagine how he or she might feel if Mikey had hit them, instead. This can be done with a loving tone and a big hug, so the child doesn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed.

3. Teach kids to help others who may be in trouble. Talk to kids about helping other children*, and alerting trusted grown-ups when others need help. Ask your child to watch interactions and notice what is happening. Get them used to observing behavior and checking in on what they see.

Use the family pet as an example, “Oh, it looks like the kitty’s tail is stuck! We have to help her!!” Praise your child for assisting others who need help, but remind them that if a grown-up needs help with anything, that it is a grown-up’s job to help. Praise your child for alerting you to people who are in distress, so that the appropriate help can be provided.

4. Teach your kids that “no” and “stop” are important words and should be honored. One way to explain this may be, “Sarah said ‘no’, and when we hear ‘no’ we always stop what we’re doing immediately. No matter what.” Also teach your child that his or her “no’s” are to be honored. Explain that just like we always stop doing something when someone says “no”, that our friends need to always stop when we say “no”, too.  If a friend doesn’t stop when we say “no,” then we need to think about whether or not we feel good, and safe, playing with them. If not, it’s okay to choose other friends. If you feel you must intervene, do so. Be kind, and explain to the other child how important “no” is. Your child will internalize how important it is both for himself and others.

5. Encourage children to read facial expressions and other body language: Scared, happy, sad, frustrated, angry and more. Charade-style guessing games with expressions are a great way to teach children how to read body language.

6. Never force a child to hug, touch or kiss anybody, for any reason. If Grandma is demanding a kiss, and your child is resistant, offer alternatives by saying something like, “Would you rather give Grandma a high-five or blow her a kiss, maybe?” You can always explain to Grandma, later, what you’re doing and why. But don’t make a big deal out of it in front of your kid. If it’s a problem for Grandma, so be it, your job now is doing what’s best for your child and giving them the tools to be safe and happy, and help others do the same.

7. Encourage children to wash their own genitals during bath time. Of course parents have to help sometimes, but explaining to little Joe that his penis is important and that he needs to take care of it is a great way to help encourage body pride and a sense of ownership of his or her own body. Also, model consent by asking for permission to help wash your child’s body. Keep it upbeat and always honor the child’s request to not be touched. “Can I wash your back now? How about your feet? How about your bottom?” If the child says “no” then hand them the washcloth and say, “Cool! Your booty needs a wash. Go for it.”

8. Give children the opportunity to say yes or no in everyday choices, too. Let them choose clothing and have a say in what they wear, what they play, or how they do their hair. Obviously, there are times when you have to step in (dead of winter when your child wants to wear a sundress would be one of those times!), but help them understand that you heard his or her voice and that it mattered to you, but that you want to keep them safe and healthy.

9. Allow children to talk about their body in any way they want, without shame. Teach them the correct words for their genitals, and make yourself a safe place for talking about bodies and sex. Say, “I’m so glad you asked me that!” If you don’t know how to answer their questions the right way just then, say, “I’m glad you’re asking me about this, but I want to look into it. Can we talk about it after dinner?” and make sure you follow up with them when you say you will. If your first instinct is to shush them or act ashamed, then practice it alone or with a partner. The more you practice, the easier it will be.

10. Talk about “gut feelings” or instincts. Sometimes things make us feel weird, or scared, or yucky and we don’t know why. Ask your child if that has ever happened with them and listen quietly as they explain. Teach them that this “belly voice” is sometimes correct, and that if they ever have a gut feeling that is confusing, they can always come to you for help in sorting through their feelings and making decisions. And remind them that no one has the right to touch them if they don’t want it.

11. “Use your words.” Don’t answer and respond to temper tantrums. Ask your child to use words, even just simple words, to tell you what’s going on.

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Guidelines For Older Children (Ages 5-12) 

1. Teach kids that the way their bodies are changing is great, but can sometimes be confusing. The way you talk about these changes—whether it’s loose teeth or pimples and pubic hair—will show your willingness to talk about other sensitive subjects. Be scientific, direct, and answer any questions your child may have, without shame or embarrassment. Again, if your first instinct is to shush them because you are embarrassed, practice until you can act like it’s no big deal with your kid.

2. Encourage them to talk about what feels good and what doesn’t. Do you like to be tickled? Do you like to be dizzy? What else? What doesn’t feel good? Being sick, maybe? Or when another kid hurts you? Leave space for your child to talk about anything else that comes to mind.

3Remind your child that everything they’re going through is natural, growing up happens to all of us.

4. Teach kids how to use safewords during play, and help them negotiate a safeword to use with their friends. This is necessary because many kids like to disappear deep into their pretend worlds together, such as playing war games where someone gets captured, or putting on a stage play where characters may be arguing. At this age, saying “no” may be part of the play, so they need to have one word that will stop all activity. Maybe it’s a silly one like “Peanut Butter” or a serious one like, “I really mean it!” Whatever works for all of them is good.

5Teach kids to stop their play every once in a while to check in with one another. Teach them to take a T.O. (time out) every so often, to make sure everyone’s feeling okay.

6. Encourage kids to watch each others’ facial expressions during play to be sure everyone’s happy and on the same page.

7. Help kids interpret what they see on the playground and with friends. Ask what they could do or could have done differently to help. Play a “rewind” game, if they come home and tell you about seeing bullying. “You told me a really hard story about your friend being hit. I know you were scared to step in. If we were to rewind the tape, what do you think you could do to help next time if you see it happen?” Improvise everything from turning into a superhero to getting a teacher. Give them big props for talking to you about tough subjects.

8. Don’t tease kids for their boy-girl friendships, or for having crushes. Whatever they feel is okay. If their friendship with someone else seems like a crush, don’t mention it. You can ask them open questions like, “How is your friendship with Sarah going?” and be prepared to talk—or not talk—about it.

9. Teach children that their behaviors affect others. You can do this in simple ways, anywhere. Ask them to observe how people respond when other people make noise or litter. Ask them what they think will happen as a result. Will someone else have to clean up the litter? Will someone be scared? Explain to kids how the choices they make affect others and talk about when are good times to be loud, and what are good spaces to be messy.

10Teach kids to look for opportunities to help. Can they pick up the litter? Can they be more quiet so as not to interrupt someone’s reading on the bus? Can they offer to help carry something or hold a door open? All of this teaches kids that they have a role to play in helping ease both proverbial and literal loads.

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Guidelines for Teens and Young Adults

1. Education about “good touch/bad touch” remains crucial, particularly in middle school. This is an age where various “touch games” emerge: butt-slapping, boys hitting one another in the genitals and pinching each other’s nipples to cause pain. When kids talk about these games, a trend emerges where boys explain that they think the girls like it, but the girls explain that they do not. We must get kids talking about the ways in which these games impact other people. They will try to write it off, but it’s important to encourage them to talk it through, and ask them how they would feel if someone hit them in that way, or did something that made them feel uncomfortable or violated. When you see it happen, nip it in the bud. This isn’t “boys being boys”, this is harassment, and sometimes assault.

2. Build teens’ self esteem. In middle school, bullying shifts to specifically target identity, and self-esteem starts to plummet around age 13. By age 17, 78% of girls report hating their bodies.

We tend to build up our smaller kids by telling them how great they are. For some reason, we stop telling kids all the wonderful aspects of who they are when they reach middle school. But this actually a very crucial time to be building up our kids’ self-esteem, and not just about beauty. Remark to them regularly about their talents, their skills, their kindness, as well as their appearance. Even if they shrug you off with a, “Dad! I know!” it’s always good to hear the things that make you great.

3. Continue having “sex talks” with middle schoolers, but start incorporating information about consent. We’re often good at talking about waiting until marriage to have sex, or about sexually-transmitted infections, or about practicing safer sex. But we don’t usually talk about consent. By middle school, it’s time to start. Ask questions like, “How do you know whether your partner is ready to kiss you?” and “How do you think you can tell if a girl (or boy) is interested in you?” This is a great time to explain enthusiastic consent. About asking permission to kiss or touch a partner. Explain that only “yes” means “yes”. Don’t wait for your partner to say “no” to look for consent. Educating our middle schoolers about consent means we don’t have to re-educate them later and break bad habits, perhaps after somebody’s been hurt.

4. Nip “locker room talk” in the bud. Middle school is the age where sex-talk begins in gender-segregated environments, like locker rooms and sleep overs. Their crushes and desire are normal and healthy. But as parents and educators, we need to do more than just stop kids from talking about other kids like they’re objects. We also need to model how to talk about our crushes as whole people. If you overhear a kid say, “She’s a hot piece of ass” you could say, “Hey, I think she’s more than just an ass!” You can keep it jokey, and they’ll roll their eyes at you, but it sinks in. They need a model for grown-ups who are doing things right. Even saying something like, “It’s also cool that she (or he) is so awesome at tennis, isn’t it?”

5. Explain that part of growing up is having changing hormones, and that hormones sometimes make it hard to think clearly. Sometimes that means our desire feels overwhelming, or that we’re angry, confused or sad. It’s common, and perfectly okay, to be overwhelmed or confused by these new feelings. Tell your kids that no matter what they’re feeling, they can talk to you about it. But their feelings, desires and needs are no one’s responsibility but their own. They still need to practice kindness and respect for everyone around them.

6. Mentor teenage and college-aged boys and young men about what masculinity is. Men need to talk to boys about what’s good about masculinity. Ask what hasn’t been so good about our culture of masculinity in the past. How can we build a more inclusive form of masculinity that embraces all types of guys: from jocks to theater kids to queer folks to everyday you-and-me? These conversations can encourage a non-violent form of masculinity for the future.

Boys need to start talking about building a healthy masculinity starting in middle school and continue through college, because transforming masculinity is vital to transforming rape culture.

7. Talk honestly with kids about partying. Make it clear that you don’t want them drinking or using drugs, but that you know kids party and you want your kids to be informed. Ask them questions about how they are going to keep themselves and others safe when they’re drinking. Questions such as:

– How will you know when you’ve had too much to drink?

– How will you handle it if your driver has had too much to drink? (Make clear that your child can always call you to come get him or her if needed).

– How will you know if your drinking or drug use has reached a dangerous level, or crossed into addiction?

– How does your behavior change when you’ve had too much to drink? How can you protect others from yourself in that situation if, perhaps, you become an angry drunk or start violating people’s space or safety?

– How will you know whether it’s okay to kiss someone, touch someone, or have sex with someone when you’ve had a lot to drink? Explain that decisions sometimes become cloudy, and signals become unclear when we are impaired. How will you be sure that you are reading the other person’s signals accurately? Suggest that they always ask for permission to touch or kiss another person, especially when there’s drinking involved.

– Although it should be obvious, explain that a person who is drunk, high or otherwise impaired should not be touched, harassed or sexually assaulted. Teach your children to stand up for, and seek help for, a fellow partygoer who has had to much too drink.

– Be careful about the language you use with your kids about partying. The responsibility is never on the victim to have prevented his or her assault. It is always on the perpetrator to make the right decision and not harm anyone.

8. Keep talking about sex and consent with teens as they start having serious relationships. Yeah, they’ll tell you they know it all, but continuing the conversation about healthy consent, respecting our partners, and healthy sexuality shows them how important these themes are to you. It also normalizes talking about consent, so talking openly and respectfully with partners becomes second nature to teens.

9. Finally, teens are thirsty for more information about sexual assault, consent, and healthy sexuality. They want to learn, and they will find a way to get information about sex. If you are the one providing that information—lovingly, honestly and consistently—they will carry that information out into the world with them.

Having good information encourages kids to be UPstanders, not BYstanders. Not only does the world need more Upstanders, but kids really want to be a force for good. And we can give them the tools to do so.

A blurb about breasts

Earlier this week, the New York Times released an op-ed piece “My Medical Choice,” by actress Angelina Jolie, where she shared that she underwent a double mastectomy.  Jolie lost her mother at a young age to breast cancer, and the doctors advised her that she also had a very high chance of developing breast cancer.

In her op-ed piece, Jolie stated “I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have a mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.”

In response to her brave, personal decision… good for you!

There have been a lot of mixed reactions about her procedure on social media sites.  Where some people are able to see the inspiration, others do not.  There have been some horrible and distasteful statements on Twitter, for example, that say things like, “RIP Angelina Jolie’s rack. It’s a sad day for tit fans,” and “Angelina cut off her breasts, because she wasn’t getting enough attention.”

Let’s talk about the over sexualization of breasts for a minute.  When a woman shows cleavage, it is considered “sexy,” but also, she is “asking for it.”  When a woman conceals her cleavage, so she won’t be “asking for it,” she is considered a “prude.”  (Side note: people have the right to wear whatever they want.  Nobody “asks” to be raped, and clothes do not equal consent).  Also, when a woman is seen breastfeeding (the most natural thing on Earth) it is often considered “obscene.”  None of this is okay, and a person’s body belongs to that person, and nobody else.