“affirmative consent”

“What is consent for a subject whose algorithm for all things is to identify and meet the standards set by others? For whom the question of yes or no has been ontologically supplanted by the question of success or failure? When what to do with one’s life is not a question for personal choice, why should what to do with one’s body become any more than another occasion to make someone else happy?” (Ninh “Without Enhancements: Sexual Violence in the Everyday Lives of Asian Americans”)

How might we do better than the “yes/no” of affirmative consent, given Asian American cultural scripts that alienate well-gendered, properly racialized subjects from the validity of their own wishes in the first place? How do model-minority, dutiful subjects learn to recognize their limits after lifetimes of learning to invalidate and ignore them? How do we learn to embrace a politics of being accountable to ourselves without a politics of blame, shame, or guilt? 

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