Popsugar Reading Challenge category: A book published in 2022
Book: Sexual Revolution: Modern Fascism and the Feminist Fightback, by Laurie Penny
Penny makes an interesting connection between sexual and economic exploitation: we put a lot of importance on consent, but when power is unequal, consent can't be freely given. This is why, for instance, we don't allow relations between doctor and patient, or teacher and student. But people often give "consent" under coercive circumstances; for example, employment may hinge on "consenting" to unsafe conditions, forced arbitration, non-disclosure agreements, etc. And many women can speak to situations where "consenting" to harassment is a de facto job requirement.
The rise of white supremacy and fascism in multiple countries has been paralleled by an anti-feminist backlash. Penny urgently argues that all these phenomena are related, and that we need to evolve past the idea that the powerful are entitled to comfort at all costs, while those with less power are expected to "consent" to whatever they get. (See, for instance, the misplaced empathy for the offenders in the Brock Turner and Stuebenville sexual assault cases.)