After being told by several people that I was, in effect, being over-sensitive about the Joe Biden issue, that it may have been creepy but it wasn’t abusive, that I was having my feelings on the issue “weaponized” against me (what the hell does that even mean?) by Biden’s political opponents, I have left Facebook indefinitely. I will be back at some point — I have friends with whom I keep in touch via the platform — but it’s going to be at least a little while.
I wanted to at least make one other point on the issue of consent, so I’ll make it here. I have fibromyalgia and, as I have written about before, bipolar disorder. When I am having a FMS flare, or a hypomanic episode, my skin can become extremely sensitive. Being hugged hurts.
My friends know enough to ask or to watch my body language. I also feel comfortable putting my hands out to stop them if a hug would be unpleasant. Also, quite frankly, I am much more willing to put up with discomfort for my friends than acquiantances.
FMS, bipolar disorder, PTSD, injury… there are a lot of reasons a person might need consent before being touched. Just because the hugger is or was a powerful elected official does not change any of that.
All of this goes far beyond politics, or even simple politeness. It’s a matter of bodily autonomy.