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What Even is Consent? An Investigation Into Educational and Media Presentations of Consent

Our work was focused on understanding why, after years of messaging, consent remains an ambiguous topic, and there are far too many rapes, sexual assaults, and coercive encounters. We believed that messaging received from media and social norms around sex

Consent in Popular Media

Although created for entertainment purposes, television shows and feature films often act as a mirror, presenting the viewer with society's faults, anxieties, and prejudices.  In out work, we looked at films and television shows from 1921 through the present day and discovered that "Media presentations of consent violations were often portrayed either casually, humorously, or  even romantically."

Consent Violations in Media Examples

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

Explicit Violence (Kidnapping)


Bridgerton (2021 - present)

Explicit Violence (Force)

Grey's Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy (2005 - present)

Power Imbalance


Gone with the Wind

Gone With the Wind (1939)

Explicit Violence


Grease (1978)


Wedding Crashers

Wedding Crashers (2005)

Explicit Violence

The Sheik

The Sheik (1921)

Explicit Violence