Rethinking Sex, Power, and Consent on Campus
Questions about power, consent, and assault on college campus have sparked difficult—but necessary—conversations. In this #MeToo moment, how do we engage in practical dialogue and move forward? For three years, the award-winning investigative journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis embedded herself in colleges across America, conducting hundreds of interviews with the survivors, the accused, the parents, the professors, and the administrators—listening with an unbiased ear. In her bestseller, Blurred Lines, and in clear-eyed keynotes, she maps out strategies to create safer, happier, more edifying college experiences—not just for students, but also for those who guide their lives in those crucial four years.
“With rigorous reporting, brilliant observations and a rare absence of bias, Grigoriadis has written a fascinating and moreover an important book about a complex, controversial phenomenon. Blurred Lines is poised to become the definitive work about sex, consent, and campus life in our era.”— Meghan Daum, author of The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects Of Discussion.
The #MeToo movement is taking the world by storm, but Vanessa Grigoriadis’ ground-breaking research into college assault patterns preceded it by more than three years—the time in which she traveled the country for her book Blurred Lines: Rethinking Sex, Power and Consent on Campus. As Grigoriadis discusses in her incisive keynotes, a cultural revolution is taking place, and college students are leading the charge. As a speaker, Grigoriadis tackles the complex social and political issue of assault on campus with the impartial wisdom drawn from her scores of far-reaching interviews. She asks: How can we help survivors move on? How do we address the accused? How might we involve parents, who are often at a distance? What about school administrators, who are responsible for all these students, while also legally bound by the red tape that holds administrations together?
Grigoriadis’ talks cut through the often sensational media noise that values “hot takes” over constructive, meaningful dialogue. On stage, she offers objective and sensitive accounts of how this new sexual revolution can cue widespread, concrete social change on college campuses and beyond. Administrators, parents, professors, and even architects can innovate in simple ways: From the way dorm rooms are designed, to dealing fairly with both accuser and accused, to navigating the Title IX federal civil rights law, to the significant affects of drinking culture, especially within fraternities—Grigoriadis speaks to all of it.
Vanessa Grigoriadis is a National Magazine Award-winner and contributing editor at The New York Times magazine and Vanity Fair. The New York Times Book Review has praised her “many memorable articles” and New York Times magazine staff writer Jenna Wortham has said she “made me want to be a journalist and uncover the things that give us all pause.”
Grigoriadis introduces the philosophical concept of consent and discusses how it has relevance in our contemporary culture. She advocates for a return to ethical, respectful sex, wherein partners are thoughtful and compassionate. She situates the current debate about sexual assault in this framework, then provides a nuts and bolts explanation about the meaning and evolution of Title IX and the growth and goals of the student-led grassroots movement against rape. She also connects student activism to contemporary history by tracing the cultural switchbacks that brought us to this moment, weaving in the revival of 1990s progressive culture, Obama-era pop feminism, the rise of the alt-right, and surge of stories about Hollywood celebrities and assault. Sexual consent is a complex issue that can only truly be understood by delving into multiple concepts. Grigoriadis provides clarity, real talk, and forward-thinking optimism on the most pressing issue in social lives today.
In this timely, unique talk designed for both collegiate and corporate environments, renowned journalist Vanessa Grigoriadis weaves together the social and cultural strands that have led to our moment’s feminine uprising and perhaps imminent ascendency in the workplace and beyond. Taking as her boundaries the lifespan of today’s college students and those just entering their careers, she guides audiences on a sweeping and thoughtful journey through this dramatic social shift. What will these young women demand as they become more mature? What are the flash points in American pop culture, media, and the economic sphere that have shaped their ideology, morality, and self-image? Most of these women were born around the time of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, grew up during Dubya’s social conservatism, and were swept up by the 2010’s pop feminism, when progressive female-centric online media merged with girl-power-branded stars like Taylor Swift and Beyonce to create an unstoppable force. Though the #MeToo movement is largely viewed at the moment as litigating past wrongs, Grigoriadis argues that it should be viewed as the lit match resulting in an explosion of strong girls who will insist on gender parity in all realms. Despite women’s vast underrepresentation in American political and corporate leadership roles at the moment, Grigoriadis argues that the path forward may be straighter and shorter than we imagine.