Okay, forgive me my ignorance but I don't really get this whole thing about casual sex at American colleges and yes means yes and so forth. The first time I've actually heard about this social movement and the news laws was on GaG. I am European and while I like to believe that western Europe is generally progressive on women's rights, this is a complete non-issue in my country and I think in all the neighboring countries around me. Nobody here has ever suggested that there should be an official affirmation on the part of the woman to have sex. I'm at the very left of the political spectrum and I consider myself a feminist and yet... I find these laws incredibly strange, silly and bewildering (at least from what I know so far).
Let me explain. Sometimes I feel like the US has rules and laws for things that in continental Europe, we would simply consider common sense. This whole "yes means yes" campaign is a perfect example of that. In my country, college students date and if they're single they like to have some casual sex. Usually, this goes without any troubles for anyone because everyone just behaves in a common sense way. If I want to have sex with my girlfriend, I don't need to have her official, verbal agreement because I can easily tell from her non-verbal reaction. If I come on to her and she responds by kissing me, saying something sweet, petting my butt etc. I can savely assume that she wants it too. If she acts distant, doesn't respond to my touches or suddenly starts talking about her grandma's hospital bill, I can assume she doesn't feel like it at the moment. Common sense. I don't quite understand why that doesn't work for American college students. Sure, sometimes a guy might accidentally misjudge the situation and go on despite her disapproval but then the girl can just say "sorry, I don't feel like it" and things are clear and settled. Why do you need a law for such common sense things?
Most Helpful Girl
I'm not going to argue that these aren't common sense things because they totally are, but there are a whole host of problems that I think led to it. I feel like culturally North America is a step behind Europe... but I don't know a lot about it. I can think of a few things that would give rise to the whole "yes means yes" thing.
1. Wrongful acquittals. A lot of people aren't charged with rape crimes they've committed because the victims were too scared to come forward while there was still physical evidence, leaving most situations a he said she said scenario where the onus is on the victim to prove that they were really raped. Somehow this is a known statistic and yet it still happens.
2. I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg because I don't remember hearing much about yes means yes before, and I don't know that the two are even directly related, but I do remember a Yale fraternity in the United States promoting "no means yes, yes means anal" soo...
To speak to what you said about a girl being able to tell him she's not interested if he makes a move and she's not interested - that makes sense if the him in question is a normal guy and she's used to normal guys. But men can be very intimidating. This is especially true of the rape-y kind. An unwanted advance could be seen as a threat, because either a) it is a threat or b) that's just what she expects to happen. In both cases she'll try to snake out without giving any clear sign of her intentions. The yes means yes might be an attempt to get better results in cases.2
Most Helpful Guy
It all boils down to the fact that
1) we have a fantastic excess of unemployed unemployable lawyers in America. Truly we have more lawyers than the rest of the world combined.
2) we actually young adults from several pretty different cultures coming together and having sex while using a mix of drugs.
3) we have some of the most ignorant citizens on earth
4) due to the massive excess of lawyers see #1, we have come to believe that everything must have a law attached to define it.
Welcome to America!1