You Don’t Have My Consent

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt Roosevelt said a lot of great things in her life. Here’s my personal favorite:

No one can make you inferior without your consent.

There are a lot of people out there determined to make me inferior. Why? Because they want to charge me extra for goods and services, sell me diet plans and surgery, or just find someone to feel superior to themselves. Well, I’m sorry for them. It ain’t gonna work.

You see, I don’t consent.

I am not inferior.

I am not superior.

I am equal.

I deserve to be treated well just as much as any other person.

My body is not a problem to be solved or a platform for someone else’s fearmongering. It’s just my body. It does what it does, does not do what it does not do, and is very much okay precisely as it is.

Fat, night blindness, occasional ingrown toenail and all, I am equal.

Nobody has my consent to make me less than I am.

I don’t say it’s always easy. There are a lot of people out there determined to take my consent and yours by force. But do your best not to let them have your consent, either.

Because you know what? They don’t deserve it.

And if you need another quote to get you through, you can always remember what this plucky young lady said to a very sexy goblin king:

You have no power over me.

 

2 Responses to “You Don’t Have My Consent”

  1. AnthroK8 October 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    It is actually “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

    I like Mrs. Roosevelt as much as the next United Nations Declaration of Human Rights appreciating person. But I absolutely effing hate this quote.

    No one can make you, but they sure can do their level best to have conditions be such that it’s hard to feel otherwise. No one make you (feel) inferior, but they can do all manner of things that effectively render you so. Apartheid laws and denial of education and ineffective domestic violence intervention and all sorts don’t make you anything. But they allow others to treat you as inferior, which is something people do have power to do.

    I am sorry, Mrs. Roosevelt, but you sound victim-blamey. A person with your power telling the rest of us to just get over it- this is how I hear this quote get used. I hate it.

    I much prefer another quote, which she did not write but for which she is more or less responsible. It comes from the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and it points out that we have responsibilities to ourselves an others to honor the dignity and equality everyone has, no matter if they feel it or consent to its denial or not:

    All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

  2. AnthroK8 October 28, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    I should add… acting with reason and conscience in a spirit of brotherhood can mean resisting other people’s denial of our humanity and doing our best to deny their attempts to exert their power over us.

    We aren’t without agency, but nor is anyone else, and we do affect each other, even if the power is an illusion.