Happy International Women’s Day!
At Project Consent, we’re always excited when we hear about new consent-positive initiatives. That’s why we’ve partnered up with Emma Clows, for an International Women's Day campaign called "50 Shades of No.” She has launched a fashion line that features t-shirts printed with 50 statements in 50 different shades of grey, from off-white to almost black. Each statement is something that a real woman said or did during a sexual encounter she didn’t feel comfortable saying outright ‘no’ to.
The campaign has given out 50 shirts to 50 different celebrities and influencers to wear publicly and share pictures of on their social media today. You can also take a look at each shirt on the campaign’s Instagram.
Clows stated that she was inspired to launch the project after the Aziz Ansari scandal, a situation that sparked much debate over what constituted consent:
“While most of us have been taught that ‘no means no,’ the reality of how we communicate is far more complicated than that. This is partially because women are enculturated to ignore their discomfort, and to not speak up. Fear of how a man could react also means women tend to communicate in more passive ways that may be overlooked or ignored. According to Professor of Sociology Katherine Lively, ‘Girls are socialised to be nice and to be more in touch with other people’s feelings. Boys on the other hand are socialised to be less attuned to people’s feelings, and to win.’ This often results in miscommunication between genders and a lot of ‘grey area’ where consent is unclear. We need to move beyond ‘no means no’ and towards a culture of enthusiastic consent, where both parties take responsibility for checking in with their partners to make sure they feel safe and are having a good time.”
The goal of this initiative is to generate clearer communication about sex and respect for people’s boundaries. Today, anyone from around the world can buy any of the 50 shirts here. By sharing these powerful statements, you’ll help show the world that every Shade of No deserves respect. All proceeds from these shirts will go to Project Consent.