Is consent shaped by cultural norms?

I read this article the other day and I had to reach out to parents to ask their opinions about it. The article was about the dangers of forcing your child to hug someone. It certainly makes sense as an idea that no one should be forced to do anything. However, the action of hugging has different connotations in various cultures than it may have in North America.

In many cultures, especially European and South Asian-Filipino ones, the act of hugging is a sign of respect among family members, both immediate and extended. Some cultures will go past hugging and enact a double-cheek kiss as a greeting. It is a sign of affection intended to bring loved ones unity and strangers who are close to family a chance to enter their inner circle.

In this way, it could be perceived as an expectation and something that is encouraged. Thus, I believe that the word “force” may not be the most appropriate. I personally have never seen any parent grab their child and force them upon a person so that they can be hugged. I never witnessed not hugging someone being the grounds of a consequence such as taking away electronics or toys.

I have seen parents encourage their children to hug people after they may initially refuse and if they continued to refuse, the behaviour would be excused on behalf of fatigue, illness or temper tantrum.

The author of the mentioned article had an unfortunate case of molestation which coloured this timeless embrace. It is accurate that sexual assault cases occur the most by someone a person knows.

Therefore, is consent truly shaped by cultural norms? I argue that it is not. Hugs are consented by children because even though they are encouraged and recommended, the child gets the ultimate say in the end.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments below!


The Modern Day Fairy Godmother


What happens when nothing happens?

So Mickey and I went out for coffee last Friday. I have had some amazing first dates and some horrible ones too but I have never used this word before: mediocre.

He was a nice guy and we had a great conversation but something just didn’t click like it did on Halloween night. 

I remember walking to the cafe as he was waiting for me and I had barely recognized him. Instead of being as fancy as he was when I first met him, he sported some glasses, a winter coat and casual clothing. He didn’t look bad at all but the same “wow” factor didn’t appear. I guess that I have a soft spot for cop costumes.

Even though I was dressed to the nines and he paid for our drinks, it seemed like we were just two friends meeting up. No butterflies, no sparks. I felt guilty as nothing was wrong about him. In fact, the intellectual chemistry that I always looked for was present!

That night, I added him on Facebook but something strange happened: the butterflies were present when I was looking at his pictures. I am not so shallow to think that this first date was influenced by how he dressed. There was more at play.

I have not gotten to know Mickey for as long as I have other suitors with whom I have went on first dates in the past. Therefore, how can I make a judgement call as to if he is right for me?

As well, I was under a lot of stress prior to meeting him. I had every one of my room-mates tell me that how I was apparently approaching dating  was completely stupid. How are they to know what is best for me? Shouldn’t I know? 

In addition, first dates are always going to be weird and it’s just a process of getting to know someone. If I find that after the second date that there is no potential, I know that I have something that is still a great asset to my life: a friend. 

What are your thoughts? 


The Modern Day Fairy Godmother