Last night’s episode of grown-ish, "Messy," focused on a very relevant conversation being held across college campuses in America.
The topic of consent is a touchy one, and not so black-and-white for many. When Zoey’s ex-boyfriend, college basketball star Cash Mooney, is caught up in sexual assault allegations after a party, the university launches a new initiative called “enthusiastic sober consent." The rule in place states that everyone engaging in sexual activity must affirm and/or receive consent while both parties are sober. Zoey and her friends spent most of the episode debating the benefits and consequences of the rule. Some fought hard for the rule (Zoey and Ana), some argued against it (Aaron and Vivek), while the others straddled the middle.
It's argued that while the rule may have good intentions and serves to protect students against assault, the expectation that hook-ups are facilitated between sober college students is not realistic. The guys also complained that constantly affirming consent while in action is a “turn-off." While the concept of their school's rule is highly debatable, one thing is not—consent is necessary and required. No matter the situation, the people engaging in sexual activity must always verbally agree to it.
In the episode, the group also discussed sexual assault as a whole, and made the crucial point that anyone can be a victim. To be clear, this is not an issue exclusive to women. Sadly, there are still people who are shocked to hear men can be assaulted, as we learned through some of the characters in the episode. I think it’s just another reason why the episode was so significant—it presented as many sides and views as possible on the subject, all while educating and guiding viewers and characters alike.
A lot of viewers on Twitter also agreed on the importance:
— Nadirah (@Go_Nadz824) February 7, 2019
— Ms.Sasha (@jmcq816) February 7, 2019
— Eva Smith 👩🏾💻 (@Eva_Smith) February 7, 2019
“Messy” was a good move by grown-ish to address something that is on a lot of college students’ minds as of late. With the national conversation surrounding consent, and the #MeToo movement at center stage, depicting the discussion on such a huge platform was a great way to continue it.
Remember, consent IS sexy and IS necessary!