Yale Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Volume 2, Issue 1
fall 2011
Editor, Geetanjali Singh Chanda
Managing Editor, John-Albert Moseley
Layout Design: Nick Appleby

Ryan Mendías '13

Ryan Mendías

In the fall of 2010, I found myself grappling with questions of violence, gender, and representation in Professor Melanie Boyd’s seminar “Theorizing Sexual Violence.”  The theoretical richness of the course was inextricably linked to an activist impulse.  Professor Boyd’s pedagogy emphasized moving beyond the classroom and into the wider Yale community, imbuing our academic work with a political imperative to dislodge the cultural structures that aid sexual violence.  After the DKE incident, that political imperative only strengthened and was eventually taken up by the administration—culminating in Professor Boyd’s promotion and the creation of the Communication and Consent Educator program.  Unsurprisingly, Professor Boyd’s dynamic approach to theory and praxis has become a crucial element of our aims as CCEs.  The forty CCEs, drawn from a dazzling array of Yale’s campus communities, work to shift the discourse around violence past simplistic exhortations to “just say no” and refuse to settle for a risk management approach to sexual violence prevention.  As a CCE, I’m profoundly motivated by Professor Boyd’s complex and moving vision of a world in which everyone is a fully empowered actor, navigating their way through sexual cultures that have as their baseline not a legal bare minimum (i.e., consent) but rather a powerful, mutual, expressive desire.  The conversations I’ve had as a CCE have made me, at various times, excited, sad, frustrated, and, more than anything else, incredibly hopeful.  That hope is the direct result of Professor Boyd’s creative and energetic guidance and support.

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