From The Editor: On Paris, Consent And Shitstorms


I’ve made some mistakes. I’d like to acknowledge them.

The first mistake was publishing Edward Pasteck’s controversial essay — “American Guy In Paris Freed From The Idea Of ‘Consent'” — as we were going into a holiday weekend, when I would not be able to directly or adequately respond to readers. A quick note of acknowledgment posted in the comments was inadequate, a crappy holiday stopgap.

The second — and far more significant — mistake was publishing something of this nature without giving any context. I failed to give an explanation as to why it was on Jezebel in the first place.

I believe that we’re not always doing our job if we don’t ourselves publish and discuss that with which we may disagree — or outright oppose. Looking purely at what gets posted on Jezebel, it’s often a one-sided debate on matters that readers are hearing about secondhand: we relay news or information or the opinions of others, then we react or issue some sort of verdict. And that’s the core of what blogging is, of course. But sometimes it’s worth being confronted with the voice of an issue head-on, particularly in a place such as this, where you can safely react and discuss if you so choose. The idea of consent is not up for debate, but this young man’s way of thinking, how he came to it and what can be done about it — that is something you can and should discuss.

I should have prefaced the post with something to that effect. That would not have made it less upsetting for some readers, but to throw this essay out there without explanation was a mistake and something that I regret.

Later today, you’ll have further opportunity to continue this discussion: we’ll be publishing a counterpoint to the issue of French sexual culture and the role of consent, written by a woman in France.

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