I May Destroy You: What is the role of television in consent education?

Television has a very important value in society, since it transmits human dramas and the reality that each individual experiences. Michaela Coel's I May Destroy You is a form of consent education.

Still from the series 'I May Destroy You'

While it is true that television is not the solution to the educational deficiency faced by much of humanity, it is an essential piece in the puzzle. Photo: YT-HBO

LatinAmerican Post | Alexey Zhúkov

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Leer en español: I May Destroy You: ¿Cuál es el papel de la televisión en la educación sobre el consentimiento?

Over the years, TV has evolved significantly, becoming one of the main sources of entertainment for society through audiovisual productions that provide educational content. There are more and more elements that address the problems of human existentialism, touching the fibers of a globalized world full of paradigms that encourage reflection.

While it is true that television is not the solution to the educational deficiency faced by much of humanity, it is an essential piece in the puzzle. This is the case of consent, which is defined as the expression or attitude with which a conscious person allows or accepts something.

There are many ways to use the term, but when it comes to interpersonal relationships, we are talking about when a person actively and freely agrees to do something in an informed way. In other words, it is the option to say yes or no to a certain circumstance.

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It is important to shed light on the close relationship that exists between television and how to approach a sensitive issue such as consent.

What is the role of TV in consent education?

Television approaches in an objective way the action of consenting or not to a situation, this is evidenced in the content of increasingly dramatic stories, which can happen in real life. For this reason, this audiovisual medium is of vital importance when it comes to educating in a didactic way, considered one of the best ways to teach, especially when it comes to children and adolescents.

Consent is an issue that must be approached with tact and precision, if it is to have a positive effect on viewers and moviegoers.

Can film and TV have a pedagogical role on consent?

The answer is yes, because people are the result of what they see, hear and feel. Therefore, audiovisual productions have the power to instruct, both positively and negatively, the public on how to approach consent, that is, understand it, know the behavior and attitudes that must be taken. Most importantly, these artistic means of communication influence people, helping them to empower themselves and reflect on certain circumstances in their lives.

One of the greatest exponents of the educational and reflective role on consent on television is the English drama series created, directed and starred by the filmmaker Michaela Coel entitled I May Destroy You. The Afro-descendant actress created the series as part of her catharsis to overcome the trauma of having been sexually assaulted.

I May Destroy You

It tells us the story of Arabella, who, after a night of drinks in a bar, wakes up with a head injury and her smartphone damaged. Suddenly memories of the night before begin to come to her mind and the image of a man on her does not stop haunting her. Little by little, the protagonist will put together the puzzle that will lead her to discover the truth.

At present, many mass consumption series have generated controversy due to their feminist theme and their explicit content on sexual violence. The truth is that they are issues that are part of reality and that are necessary to address to provide information that allows understanding the problems that affect society, offering a comprehensive perspective from the points of view of the protagonists (feminist – sexist and aggressor – victim), in order to analyze its essence and explore the consequences of harassing or honoring a person's consent.

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