Asking For It
The Ethics & Erotics of Sexual Consent
The line between sexual consent and sexual coercion is not always as
clear as it seems -- and according to Harry Brod, this is exactly why we
should approach our sexual interactions with great care. Brod, a professor
of philosophy and leader in the pro-feminist men's movement,
offers a unique take on the problem of sexual assault, one that complicates
the issue even as it clarifies the bottom-line principle that consent
must always be explicitly granted, never simply assumed. In a nonthreatening,
non-hectoring discussion that ranges from the meanings
of "yes" and "no" to the indeterminacy of silence to the way alcohol
affects our ethical responsibilities, Brod challenges young people to
envision a model of sexual interaction that is most erotic precisely
when it is most thoughtful and empathetic. Ideal for classes in gender
studies, communication, and sociology, and especially useful for extracurricular
programs and workshops.
Harry Brod is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at the University of Northern Iowa. He is the author of White Men Challenging Racism: 35 Personal Stories
, Theorizing Masculinities
, Hegel's Philosophy of Politics: Idealism, Identity and Modernity
, A Mensch Among Men: Explorations in Jewish Masculinity
, and The Making of Masculinities: The New Men's Studies
Directed & Edited by Sut Jhally
Associate Producers: Scott Morris, Jason Young
Praise for the Film
"In this documentary film, an exploration of sexual consent challenges common assumptions about how partners communicate their willingness or unwillingness to engage in sexual activity. ...An especially unique and refreshing element of this documentary is Dr. Brod's emphasis on the positive consequences of promoting an affirmative consent standard. Arguing that many sexual assault prevention efforts have been ineffective largely because of their anti-sex undertones, Dr. Brod offers an alternative perspective. He suggests that only in the presence of affirmative consent can partners enjoy a fully erotic experience characterized by intimacy, mutuality, and sexual communication. ...This film strongly promotes a safe and responsible approach to sexual consent without glossing over the challenges and complexities of consent and without taking a blaming or sex-negative stance. This film is recommended for sexual assault prevention education with young adults or as a resource for classes on gender and sexuality. It also could be a useful training video for sexual assault prevention advocates who would like to improve the effectiveness of their message."
- Tiffany M. Mueller and Zoë D. Peterson, | Department of Psychology, University of Missouri - St. Louis | Journal of Sex Research
"An excellent film to bring men into the conversation. Brod comes off as wise, nonjudgmental, and almost fatherly when giving advice to the male students in his audience. The way in which he sets up his line of argument about the importance of adopting an affirmative consent standard would make it very difficult, I think, for anyone not to seriously consider what he is advocating. The film provides some concrete solutions and a way to move forward. Particularly refreshing is Brod's insistence that men's actions are an important part of addressing the problem of acquaintance rape. Ultimately, [this film addresses] important issues surrounding sexual boundaries, ethics, and issues of consent, and both men and women would benefit from viewing [Asking For It
]. [Asking for It
] would no doubt spark lively and intense discussion among students."
- Amy Leisenring | San Jose State University | Teaching Sociology
"Asking for It
is an interesting and useful continuation to the conversation about sexual conduct on campus and between young people. Brod is a comfortable and commanding speaker... and it is informative to see a philosopher take on a practical ethical/legal issue of this sort. The film would be very appropriate viewing for all incoming college freshmen, and it would generate some lively analysis and debate in the classroom. Suitable for mature high school classes and for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of gender, and American studies, as well as general audiences."
- Jack David Eller | Anthropology Review Database
"...A useful tool for initiating discussion about consent in small groups, classes and other contexts that allow for group discussion."
- Richard A. Sprott, Ph.D. | California State University, East Bay | Contemporary Sexuality
Praise for Dr. Brod's Lectures & Presentations on Sexual Consent
"Professor Brod made an immediate connection to a large but somewhat resistant audience. The visit did us a great service."
- Professor Warren Rosenberg | Chair, Gender Issues Committee, Wabash College
"Harry was excellent and got great involvement. . . Very engaging and thought provoking. People felt safe to share . . . Best definition of consent and responsibility I have heard . . . Completely innovative way of talking about consent . . . Good use of humor to discuss difficult topics. Very engaging and connected to the audience . . . It was moving . . . Great info, well-presented and a useful model . . . Great thinking and motivating . . . Great theory and great presenter!"
- "Violence Goes to College" Conference participants | University of Colorado
"An incredible approach to issues of gender, cultural diversity, masculinities, and power that truly relates to the reality of college students' lives."
- Jenn Freitag | Coordinator
Lighthouse Violence Prevention & Intervention Center, University of Central Missouri