ERIC Number: ED326796
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug-10
Reference Count: N/A
The Social Construction of Consent: Sexual Scripts and Acquaintance Rape.
White, Jacquelyn W.; Niles, Patricia
The decision whether a woman has consented to sexual intercourse is rarely determined by the woman herself. Often, instead, a woman's consent, and ultimately her sexuality, is determined for her by others--her partner, the community, or the court system. Women in this culture have traditionally had very little power to control their own bodies and their own sexuality, ironically, while held responsible for its consequences. In the examination of rape and its treatment by the legal system, the woman's voice is drowned out and lost. Female consent has been defined traditionally from the male perspective. Sexual scripts create a prototype of the consenting female. The prototype consists of a cluster of attributes and behaviors indicative of willingness to engage in sexual intercourse. Traditional views render nonconsent virtually impossible. Without evidence of nonconsent, there can be no crime, and the problem of acquaintance rape becomes trivialized--it is really "just sex." A feminist alternative argues that rape must be viewed from the woman's point of view. Women desire sex based on mutual attraction, that involves minimal pressure and two-way communication about each partner's desire. A feminist perspective also suggests that a woman has the right to be sexually provocative. Finally, male-female interactions in general, and the dating situation in particular, must be reconceptualized; relationships should be based on mutual respect and trust. (ABL)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (98th, Boston, MA, August 10-14, 1990).