In reading Celia Carr’s article about the misunderstanding of rape culture and “gray rape” in North America, it became apparent that her argument focused around the definition of consent. She essentially took this simple definition and began to attach complicated social interactions to extrapolate an asinine conclusion.
The first few paragraphs that Carr constructs is really an introduction to her topic as she defines rape culture (that idea of desensitization of society to sexual assault cases) and gives a clear example what “black and white” rape is. From this standpoint, Carr moves to what Cosmopolitan calls “gray rape”, that strange idea that two people who don’t consent to having sex are in essence raping each other. Now it is odd that she takes the definition from a magazine that objectifies woman by telling them how to eat or how to act if they want to pick up a boyfriend or how to perform bizarre sex acts like eating donuts off a penis or putting pepper under the man’s nose before he climaxes.
Consent is a simple definition that I highly doubt people will disagree with yet it has fallen into a gray area that is now used as a crutch that supports weak concepts like rape culture or ‘gray rape”. What’s troubling is the definition is being manipulated to try and deprive intelligent, independent women of making their own decisions and commitment when engaging in sexual activity. Used in the context of the article the word reduces the decision-making skills of an independent woman down to a child where they are no longer accountable for what they have agreed to. This also leads to a bizarre catch-22: Regardless how consenting a woman is when she agrees to sexual activity with her partner, she can never be fully accountable for her words so the sexual interactions will always fall within the realm of “gray rape”. Taken to the extreme, this means that everyone, male and female, has raped someone at sometime, a preposterous and offensive notion. I don’t ascribe to this line of thinking. Women are very capable of thinking for themselves and can articulate consent during sexual situations with their voices or their body language rendering the idea of “gray rape” deflated and limp.
Rape is a problem in any culture, this does not mean that our culture is a rape culture; we are not desensitized to the tears and pain and mental anguish that a woman or male feels after being violated. But before we subscribe to the notion of “gray-rape” or rape culture lets objectively think about what those terms really mean, the far-reaching consequences they evoke and the evidence. Think for yourself and don’t absorb this word-vomit like they are cogent ideas, rather see them for as they are, a string of irrational thoughts presented in a carnival of ill-supported premises.