It’s a serious problem that kids grow up in this culture not understanding the concept of consent, and that’s definitely an issue we need to prioritize as a society. But did one prominent sex educator take the discussion… too far?

Lucy Emmerson of the Sex Education Forum has caused a huge stir online with her recent suggestion that telling children to kiss their relatives is counterproductive to teaching them about consent:

I believe learning about consent starts from age zero. Much is learnt by young children from everyday experiences about whether or not their opinion is valued and if they have any control over physical contact with others. Intervening may be awkward, but it is necessary if we are truly to teach children that their bodies are their own and that their instincts should be followed. If we can’t create a culture of consent for everyday physical contact, it will be surely a tall order for sexual situations.

The weirdest part of this whole thing is that 1) she sounds crazy and 2) no, she doesn’t.

On the one hand, I remember being a kid and feeling like I didn’t have any ownership over myself in the slightest, and I can see how that mindset could potentially stop a child who’s experiencing sexual abuse from realizing that there’s something wrong. It’s absolutely a problem that young people don’t understand consent, and it’s absolutely a problem that kids are subconsciously taught from birth that their bodies don’t belong to them. On the other hand, reluctantly kissing grandma’s cheek at her birthday party is very different from dangerous sexual situations, and Emmerson might be going way overboard by trying to compare those things.

What do you think? Is Emmerson making feminism look like it’s trying too hard, or does she make a valid point? Is telling kids to show affection to their families a harmless lesson in kindness, or is it breeding kids who are afraid to say no to unwanted physical contact?

Via Telegraph / Photo: Shutterstock