Title of Research Output

Consent in Young Adult Fiction

Faculty

Arts and Humanities

Supervisor Name

Miranda Green-Barteet

Keywords

YA, Young adult, consent, affirmative consent, choice

Description

This project considers the representation of consent in young adult (YA) novels. Consent is broadly defined as giving permission, approval, or agreement. While most often in analyses of YA literature consent focuses on romantic and/or sexual consent, consent also includes an individual’s willing participation in any activity. For example, within the genre of dystopian YA, characters must often perform acts of violence without their explicit consent in order to survive their dystopian worlds. This project then considers how consent is represented within YA novels and what messages about consent the genre imparts to YA readers.

What we have learned over the course of our reading and research is consent is defined almost exclusively in terms of sex, romance, and sexual/romantic relationships. Whereas we define consent more broadly in terms of an individual’s ability to agree to participate in an activity, for example, in terms of YA literature, consent focuses on sex and one’s ability to consent to sex or to a physical aspect of a romantic relationship. Because we defined consent more broadly, we focused our reading primarily on YA fantasy and urban fantasy. We hypothesized that novels in this genre would conceive of consent in broad terms. We learned, however, that YA fantasy and urban fantasy novels feature choice and interrogate protagonists’ ability to make choices freely, but few of these novels engage with the concept of consent as we define it.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank my supervisor Prof. Miranda Green-Barteet for this opportunity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 License.

Document Type

Paper

Consent-YA-Havaris.docx (45 kB)
pdf of blog post

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Consent in Young Adult Fiction

This project considers the representation of consent in young adult (YA) novels. Consent is broadly defined as giving permission, approval, or agreement. While most often in analyses of YA literature consent focuses on romantic and/or sexual consent, consent also includes an individual’s willing participation in any activity. For example, within the genre of dystopian YA, characters must often perform acts of violence without their explicit consent in order to survive their dystopian worlds. This project then considers how consent is represented within YA novels and what messages about consent the genre imparts to YA readers.

What we have learned over the course of our reading and research is consent is defined almost exclusively in terms of sex, romance, and sexual/romantic relationships. Whereas we define consent more broadly in terms of an individual’s ability to agree to participate in an activity, for example, in terms of YA literature, consent focuses on sex and one’s ability to consent to sex or to a physical aspect of a romantic relationship. Because we defined consent more broadly, we focused our reading primarily on YA fantasy and urban fantasy. We hypothesized that novels in this genre would conceive of consent in broad terms. We learned, however, that YA fantasy and urban fantasy novels feature choice and interrogate protagonists’ ability to make choices freely, but few of these novels engage with the concept of consent as we define it.