Dr. Harry Brod Discusses the Importance of Consent


This semester, St. Norbert College is privileged to have visiting scholar Dr. Harry Brod on campus,. Brod specializes in Masculinity Studies. In addition to teaching the class “Men and Masculinities,” he has given talks and held meetings to introduce studies on masculinity to the college.

One of his dialogues took place on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in the Fort Howard Theater. “Asking for It: The Ethics and Erotics of Sexual Consent” was held to cover the importance of making sure someone says “yes” knowingly and willingly without influence from outside factors.

Part lecture, part discussion, Dr. Brod asked questions of the audience and then shared his ideas about the topics. One of the first things he asked for was examples of times when the phrase “yes means yes” does not hold true, or in his words, “In this particular circumstance, maybe we should be careful about accepting that yes.”  After hearing a few responses, he asked the same thing about “no means no.”

He then discussed his view that the only thing that means yes is yes.

“Sometimes when I pose it in terms of ‘red light’ and ‘green light,’ someone will say ‘yellow light’ is the default mode.” He went on to say, “On the other hand, you need to realize that for some of us when we’re driving along in a car and there’s a traffic light, yellow light is supposed to mean ‘get ready to stop.’  But for some of us, what it means is ‘if I step on the gas I can still make it through.’”

Dr. Brod spoke with both a sense of humor and a sense of urgency: while is difficult to talk about subject matter such as rape and sexual assault, it is impossible to go about life without facing them in some form. By including the audience in discussion, he gave them an opportunity to talk about these subjects.

Not only did Dr. Brod talk about the importance of getting consent often, he also talked about it as a healthy and even romantic action.  He stated that doing this builds a trusting relationship, which can create a good experience for all involved.

Dr. Brod is here at SNC for the rest of the semester, and he is an important resource that the campus is lucky to have.

In upcoming events for masculinity studies, the Masculinity Summit is taking place on Nov. 2 and 3 featuring Dr. Brod and other masculinity studies schlars. For more information, visit the calendar at: snc.edu/cvc/programs.


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