The Consent Culture Workbook
by Kitty Stryker
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Pub Date 02 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 31 Jul 2023
Hazel Boydell, Thornapple Press
What does “consent culture” mean to you? Navigating the complex, never-ending work of culture change can be overwhelming at times. Whether you’re exploring what consent means in your personal life or as part of your work in the world, Ask Yourself guides you through the introspection necessary for lasting change. In Ask: Building Consent Culture, consent culture activist Kitty Stryker compiled a diverse collection of essays from people working on questions of how to build a culture of consent in our everyday world. This timely and practical companion workbook invites you to take a journey through your own thoughts on consent and consider how you can help build consent culture. Ask Yourself guides you through a structured exploration with prompts for 28 days of journaling, conversations, and other work. The prompts are split into four sections on distinct themes that allow you to explore consent at your own pace and in your own way. This thoughtful book also features short contributions from consent culture activists to help inspire reflection.
“When Kitty Stryker tugs on the thread of ‘consent,’ vast, oppressive power structures start to unravel. This workbook gets down to the fundamental principles of how humans need to treat one another. Taking its own metholology to heart, it offers no authoritative answers, just smart, emotionally astute questions that could upend how you think about the problem of other people.”—Alison Bechdel, author of Dykes to Watch Out For and Fun Home
“I've always felt that if societies are ever to address problems of structural violence, we have to understand the dynamics of intimate violence. But this workbook invites us beyond discussions of rape culture and harm-avoidance—the thought-provoking prompts also explore the nature of how and why we say 'yes' to each other on every level, exploring consent as a basis to develop a more equitable and self-acknowledging way to move through the world, and as a radical paradigm for our selves in relation to other people.”—Leigh Alexander, narrative designer and writer of Reigns: Her Majesty
“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have spent the greater part of my life in the rigorous work of trauma recovery that is both continuous and necessary for people like us to lead relatively serene and functioning adult lives. I’m very grateful for the work of serious activist-educators like Stryker, and her new book is exactly what’s needed in this moment. It’s a practical workbook that takes the reader, step by step, from the inside out, into a thorough awareness of their own personal definition, need and application of consent. If that sounds heavy, it is—as it should be. It’s also profound, lovely, timely, universal, and highly actionable. One comes away from this book with a much deeper understanding of the nuanced and evolving idea of consent, a clearer understanding of one’s own place within this landscape and, perhaps most importantly, the tools to be of service to others. This is a vital text.”—Alex Winter, actor, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 8 members
Ask Yourself: The Consent Culture Workbook by Kitty Stryker reads like having a conversation with an expert on healthy relationships, not solely sexual ones. Kitty Stryker is the creator of Kinky Salon London and a feminist who uses a power-conscious analysis when discussing consent.
This workbook exceeded my expectations with the broad scope of information presented in the text, the global perspectives considered from beyond US culture, and the books, essays, and podcasts shared at the end. Stryker writes that by respecting our individual and collective differences we can become more connected to one another. She writes that oppression thrives on our disconnection to each other and to self so she created this workbook as a guide to help us consider important questions about how we define terms, set boundaries, and understand consent. She wrote this workbook full of insights, prompts, and questions to help us come up with our own conclusions and solutions that best fit the context of our lives and the communities we are a part of.
The book is broken down into the following sections:
Week One: Our internal beliefs
Week Two: Our relationship to loved ones
Week Three: Our relationship to our community
Week Four: Self-reflection
Consent is such a nuanced term and we all understand what it means differently based on our own intersectional identities. Stryker does a phenomenal job of asking the right questions of us so that we can get clear with self and in turn build a culture of consent in our daily lives and relationships.
Thank you to the author and publisher for the e-arc copy!
A book everyone should read. Seriously. An incredibly important conversation that everyone should read, no matter what gender featuring incredibly important conversations.
A considerate, practical, and essential workbook that acts as guidance for the reader through their own beliefs of consent and its implementation.
Thank you to the author and the publisher for this ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
I read Ask: Building Consent Culture and based on that I requested this book. They are different books, but a great pair. If the first book is thought provoking regarding how consent is not easy or always clear and is an ongoing process, this book's prompts for writing or reflecting and thinking about boundaries in general (not just physical boundaries or sexual boundaries) was even better. I'm thinking about how to use this in college courses.
Some folks may not appreciate the context in which Kitty Stryker's work on consent took shape (sex work, BDSM community), but it is important. I hate to think that it would put some people off for she is making a much wider argument for boundaries beyond physical and sexual, but also around time and labor and emotional availability. I work with undergrads and they need to hear this because generally speaking they are so busy, so overwhelmed, and feel like they are often failing, in addition to often trying to figure out a balance of needs in their romantic and sexual relationships.
I believe that this type of book should be translated into all possible languages and be read by all. ALL.
It is one of those books that even though you finish reading, you leave it close at hand because you constantly go back to it and look for a certain reference, read a certain paragraph again.
It is not one of those books that one can read quickly (at least not me) because it has so much information and so many things to assimilate, reflect on and think again that you cannot go from one page to the other as if nothing had happened.
They are readings that change you, that open your head, that make you THINK. And many times those readings are not the most popular, unfortunately.
I wish books like this didn't exist. But in the world we are in, with this society that makes us fight every day for the least... they are necessary. And I'm glad that there are people who are encouraged to express, to make us think, to invite us to question everything that surrounds us.
Thanks NetGalley and Hazel Boydell for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I browsed this book fairly quickly, so did not really read it. My purpose was to see if it was a good resource to use with teens, in counselling, and life in general. It sure seems like it, and I will be keeping this title in mind for when the occasion comes up to get it. Thank you!
I feel like I should let it be known that I did not spend as much time on this book as I could/should have. Rather, in an effort to get my review written, I decided not to explore it as the workbook it is intended to be. As a reader, this did leave me with some degree of detachment. And yet…it was still impactful.
The fact that I did not utilize this book to its full potential but still benefitted from reading it is a true testament to how thoughtfully it was created. The fact that I would like to revisit the workbook when I have more time/energy for reflection and journaling is an even bigger testament - as I rarely revisit any books after I have read them once.
Stryker did a fantastic job of creating a workbook that is accessible and interesting, no matter one’s experience with consent culture & education. The book really succeeds at expanding the conversation beyond sex; turning consent into a way of life for all interactions, big or small. It asks you to truthfully examine areas where you can improve. And it does so by prompting reflections both micro- and macroscopic: how you engage with yourself, your interpersonal relationships, and your broader community.
Interspersed throughout are personal stories (from Stryker and other individuals). Through this, the book offers insight into the history of consent culture & advocacy. It also provides little bits of theory, like Betty Martin's fascinating four-quadrant model. And it asks uncomfortable questions, like does consent always need to be enthusiastic? Or can it simply be “engaged?” The workbook dives deep for a truly nuanced study of consent - which I am so happy to finally see in more recent mainstream writings on the topic.
Overall, I am happy to have read through this book. It has given me a lot to continue thinking about - along with a few additional resources that seem intriguing to pursue. It’s also convinced me that I definitely need to pick up the companion book “Ask: Building Consent Culture” (which has embarassingly been on my TBR since it came out in 2017).