[Content Note: Discussion of consent issues; rape culture continuum.]

While I was out walking the dogs this afternoon, I passed the local church, whose signage has been featured here previously, and saw this:

image of a church sign reading: 'A HUG THE IDEAL GIFT ONE SIZE FITS ALL'

HA HA except, you know, for people who HATE BEING HUGGED. By which I mean people who hate being hugged altogether, or people who hate being hugged by people outside a very intimate group, or people who hate being obliged to hug even if they aren't especially bothered (or triggered) by the actual act. Which is a lot of people.

Whoooooooooooooooops your one size fits ALL.

This is One of Those Things which routinely elicits exasperated accusations of oversensitivity when I write about them, but it's also One of Those Things which is a perfect example of how hostility toward consent is so endemic and so axiomatic in our culture that it shows up as a cutesy slogan on church signs.

No, not everyone wants a hug. That's a simple idea, in theory, but in reality try being a person who wants to draw boundaries around who can touch you in what way and see how "simple" it is in practice.

In the same way that we all say, "Everyone agrees that rape is bad!" as if there isn't rape apologia embedded in every aspect of our culture, we all say that it's fine for people to choose who is allowed to touch them, but simultaneously judge, and act offended by, people who turn away "shows of affection," which are, in fact, displays of aggression when done against someone's will.

It's all part of the same continuum of hostility to consent that collectively builds the rape culture.

And it's as easy to avoid as asking, "Do you hug?" I've been told yes and I've been told no. Either one is fine with me.

By the way, that is indeed a "No Trespassing" sign in the background. Oh the irony, etc.

section of previous image with yellow arrow added to point to 'No Trespassing' sign on church grounds

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus