From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Activists and writers Friedman and Valenti (He's a Stud, She's a Slut) deliver an extraordinary essay compilation focusing on the struggle to stop rape in the U.S. and the importance of sexual identity and ownership. Early on, Thomas MacAulay Millar and Rachel Kramer Bussel explain how the "no means no" concept (sexual consent equals the absence of no) must be rejected in favor of a "yes means yes" mentality: the idea that consent means affirmative participation in the act itself, a broader definition that better protects women while encouraging power over-not fear of-personal sexual identity. Other topics include body image and self-esteem issues as well as incest, the dangers faced by female immigrants and the public perception of rape; in "Trial by Media," Samhita Mukhopadhyay looks at the Duke Lacrosse rape case and finds the media acting in the tradition of slavery by commodifying the young, female African-American body. Though surprisingly entertaining throughout, with no shortage of wit or humor, unexpected topics (Friedman on enjoying sex, transsexual writer Julia Serano on the mixed cultural messages that lead "nice guys" to sexual aggression) keep the book dynamic. Sure to empower and inform, this is an important and inspiring read for assault survivors, educators, activists, experts and those on a path to self discovery.
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"Of all the arguments out there that propose how to end rape, embracing women’s sexual pleasure may not sound like a likely solution. But Yes Means Yes argues otherwise. By investigating the myriad ways the sexual choices of women can take shape, this anthology argues, not only should women know what they don’t want, but they also should seize their freedom to explore what they do want. By challenging blanket claims, like that all males are sexual aggressors, and taking the shame away from females who are bona fide sexual submissives, Yes Means Yes says the conscious decisions we make about sex in its many forms are the best medicine for the illness that is rape culture."
"Utopian novels have grappled with the idea of a world without rape, but what would the path to that world look like? The controversial essays that make up Yes Means Yes! light the way along this very rough road and, not surprisingly, offer no easy solutions…The authors in this collection speak with authority and, unfortunately for some, from personal experience."