Comedians teach consent


Photo by: Elodi Breg

Briana Hanson and Caleb George teach consent through comedy.

FMU students laughed and learned about consent at “The C-Word Consent,” a comedy show hosted by the Campus Activities Board (CAB) on Jan. 24 at  Chapman Auditorium in the McNair Science Building.

Briana Hansen and Caleb George performed the show, a stand-up and sketch comedy performance about consent in the modern dating world. The purpose of the show was to explain consent to students in a light-hearted manner. George said he wants today’s college students to be in the generation that ends sexual violence. Hansen noted that 20 percent of people have been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

To begin, Hansen and George used kayaking as a metaphor for sex. The pair pretended to kayak, but noted that it would be acceptable to say no to kayaking, stop kayaking after you’ve already started or not agree to kayak even if you’ve kayaked before. They used this as an example to say that the same should apply to sex, and that refusal to have sex should not come with any pressuring or shaming.

Audience interaction was an important part of Hansen and George’s routine. The pair invited members of the audience on stage for one routine in which George would make sexual advances toward Hansen, and Hansen would indirectly refuse. They gave the audience members balloons to pop every time they heard something that constituted a refusal.

“Just because someone gives a soft no doesn’t make it less valid,” Hansen said.

Another bit that required audience participation was a demonstration of how others can step in when they see someone dealing with unwanted attention. Hansen and George said there are three actions people can take to stop someone who is being too aggressive: separate the people, enlist others’ help or distract the aggressor. The duo asked audience members to use these plans as they acted out scenes in which they would aggressively approach one another.

George also said pornography has given younger people the wrong idea about consent, saying that porn that contains someone pressuring someone else into having sex is problematic.

“Porn skews our expectation of reality,” George said. “There is a guarantee or expectation of a hookup that just isn’t there in real life.”

Charlene Wages, FMU Title IX coordinator, and Rebecca Flanagan, FMU Chair of Title IX Council, also spoke at the event. They encouraged students to use the resources on campus if they have been affected by sexual violence. The pair explained that some faculty and staff are designated as Responsible Employees, meaning the university has approved them to hear matters involving sexual assault. Students can find a list of Responsible Employees on the Title IX page of FMU’s website.