Join Today!

Expressed Consent Is Safe and Sexy

know your facts Mar 20, 2024
pen laying on a piece of paper with the word I Agree next to a checkbox, by Catkin from Pixabay via

Last week on the Drew Barrymore Show, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson showed up as Drew did an impression of him based on a 90s photo where he was wearing a black turtleneck, gold chain, jeans, and a fanny pack. She even had a wig to look like his hair!

It was just clean fun, and she quizzed him with some questions from the fanny pack. The one that got the most response from folks was, “Squats help you build a strong fanny. Do you think you could do five squats with me on your back?” The question wasn’t that big a deal. People have done exercises with the weight of other bodies on television for decades.

What caught people’s attention, especially women, was the way The Rock asked consent before lifting Drew. First, he asked her if she wanted to do it now. After she said yes, he told her how and where he was going to touch her and how he was going to lift her and waited for consent before touching her. Once he lifted her, he checked to make sure she was comfortable across his shoulders. Then he lifted her and did five squats.

The video below is cued for the question and interaction, (but you can rewind to see the photo she’s imitating).

What’s important about this scene is that he could have taken her first yes to doing the squats as consent for everything, but he didn’t. He made sure she was okay with how he would touch and lift her before he started. And it was a simple question and demonstration. It didn’t break the flow or diminish the fun for the audience.

This is the difference between implied vs expressed consent. Implied consent is suggested without being stated directly. When Drew said yes to being lifted for the squats, it was implied that The Rock could touch her. But she didn’t give explicit consent on where he could put his hands on her body. He could have grabbed her in several places to lift her.

Expressed consent is communicated precisely and clearly, often in words. When The Rock indicated where he would touch Drew on her body and asked if that was okay, he was asking for explicit permission for specific actions.

The Rock is famous, well-liked, attractive, and could easily act on implicit consent, knowing that most people would say yes to his follow-up questions. But he showed consideration in a way many of us don’t see in our day-to-day. Respectful boundaries, clear communication, and asking for consent should be the norm. The fact that so many women noticed The Rock’s behavior proves that we have much more work to do. And we have proof that it’s not impossible and can be done without awkwardness.

Ready to DO something right now? Download the Everyday Activism Action Pack and get started today.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information for any reason.