News | Educating the bros

Video series aims to spark needed conversation about consent

“Feminism for Bros” is a five-video series that started this year, and is intended to provide a friendly and digestible introduction to consent. The project is the result of a collaboration between Concordia University Television (CUTV), the Centre for Gender Advocacy (CGA), and Jimmy Bellemare, Emily Campbell, Julia Jones, and Skylar Nagao from the Consensual Collective.

Bellemare and Campbell thought of the idea for “Feminism for Bros” after realizing that their younger brothers, although well-meaning, didn’t seem to have very evolved perspectives on concepts of consent. “They just needed to be pushed in the right direction,” Bellemare told The Daily.

Julie Michaud, administrative coordinator at the CGA, also emphasized the educational nature of the video project. “We wanted to create short and engaging videos that would help clarify what consent is and isn’t,” said Michaud in an email to The Daily.

The videos are short, professionally shot segments that feature young adults acting in situations relevant to the average university student.

Feminism for Bros 101” is the story of a ‘bro’ and an intoxicated freshman girl. What starts off looking like the beginning of a one-night stand instead leads to a sexless night as the student’s roommate calls him out and deters him from taking advantage of someone unable to give consent.

Feminism for Bros 105” demonstrates how to ask for consent while maintaining a sexual mood: a girl and guy make their way from kissing to intercourse by explicitly asking for permission to remove clothing or establish new contact.

The success of the project has been hard for organizers to gauge. “The videos might have been geared too much toward our own community. It’s hard to assess the feedback – we only get positive responses from people within the community who think the same way,” Bellemare told The Daily.

Bellemare also noted was that the videos’ target audience, young adults, might not be the most responsive demographic to consent education.

“It might be better to target people who are young[er] and more easily influenced,” Bellemare said. “It’s hard to reach out to people who are older and set in their mindsets. […] It’s hard to change their minds.”

Michaud explained that YouTube comments on the videos have been disabled because they mostly constituted offensive trolling deemed unproductive to the discussion on consent.

A prevalent opinion among young adult men in workshops Michaud helps organize is that “if you ask [for consent], it’s going to kill the mood.” According to Michaud, the videos are meant to help normalize the idea that asking for consent doesn’t have to be awkward. “It would be weird to invite your friend over and order pizza with mushrooms and pineapple without asking if your friend actually likes that,” Michaud said.

One of the CGA’s major goals is to create mandatory consent workshops in residence halls for first-year Concordia students. According to Michaud, the underlying objective of the videos is to open the floor to further discussions about consent, which are not traditionally embedded in sexual education classes. The videos, Michaud explained, are a good way for the CGA to start these discussions while the logistic difficulties of larger projects are dealt with.

Bellemare intends to re-release the videos on a newer website; however there are no current plans to produce additional videos for the series.