Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape

Book cover: Yes Means Yes! ed by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape is a call to arms, offering a collection of insightful essays that turns the old standard, “no means no,” on its head. Edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, the book showcases the voices of women and men of all backgrounds, such as rape and incest survivors, sexual assault survivors, activists, and educators.

The contributors posit that in order to tackle sexual assault head on, we must embrace a “yes means yes” attitude towards sexuality.  The book offers a mixture of sex ed advocacy, questions regarding virginity and consent, pop culture analysis, and personal stories.  Many of the essays also shed light on some of the issues not being reported on in the media, such as the rape of immigrant women, and the experiences of sex workers.

Because of the subject matter, some of these essays are greatly upsetting.  Coco Fusco’s “Invasion of Space by a Female,” for instance, was one of the most enlightening pieces in the collection.  It was also one of the most horrifying.  In it, Fusco analyzes the use of female sexuality in military interrogations against Arab detainees.  “We don’t really have a language for comprehending female sexual aggression as rape,” she writes, “and that lack diminishes our ability to perceive rape as such.”

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape was published in 2008 by Seal Press.

Goodreads | Amazon
I read it as a(n): Paperback
Source: Purchase
Pages: 361

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