cover image Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape

Yes Means Yes!: Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape

. Seal Press (CA), $16.95 (361pp) ISBN 978-1-58005-257-3

Activists and writers Friedman and Valenti (He's a Stud, She's a Slut) deliver an extraordinary essay compilation focusing on the struggle to stop rape in the U.S. and the importance of sexual identity and ownership. Early on, Thomas MacAulay Millar and Rachel Kramer Bussel explain how the ""no means no"" concept (sexual consent equals the absence of no) must be rejected in favor of a ""yes means yes"" mentality: the idea that consent means affirmative participation in the act itself, a broader definition that better protects women while encouraging power over-not fear of-personal sexual identity. Other topics include body image and self-esteem issues as well as incest, the dangers faced by female immigrants and the public perception of rape; in ""Trial by Media,"" Samhita Mukhopadhyay looks at the Duke Lacrosse rape case and finds the media acting in the tradition of slavery by commodifying the young, female African-American body. Though surprisingly entertaining throughout, with no shortage of wit or humor, unexpected topics (Friedman on enjoying sex, transsexual writer Julia Serano on the mixed cultural messages that lead ""nice guys"" to sexual aggression) keep the book dynamic. Sure to empower and inform, this is an important and inspiring read for assault survivors, educators, activists, experts and those on a path to self discovery.