Consent : Fearful Asymmetry – Nilofer Kaul

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SKU: 9789390514328 Categories: , , Tags: , ,

Description

Especially after the #MeToo storm, ‘consent’ has been the rallying point of our debates. Nilofer Kaul looks at the idea of consent with all its assumptions of equality, rationality and language, and argues that this papers over the inherent asymmetry in gender relations. Harping on the centrality of consent, she argues, invisibilizes the violence of this asymmetric arrangement. The problem, as most women know, is not just that they are oppressed but that they apparently acquiesce to their indignities. It is in this heart of darkness that psychoanalysis is summoned to look at the inequitable distribution of power. Masculinity inherited power and this must be constantly proved and asserted, and constant violence is displayed to prove a delusional sense of power. This fictive potency demands the expunging of all traces of vulnerability, of the entire apparatus of thinking and feeling, and these unwanted attributes are then placed in femininity. However, Kaul argues, not all asymmetry is violent. BDSM partners ‘consent’ to violence, even seek it. How do we then think about consent in a world that is insistently and fearfully asymmetric?

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