Color is not consent: how St. Patrick’s day can start an important discussion about touching people without permission

Brianna Neuhouser, Digital Media Manager

A two sentence horror story: “You’re not wearing green!” A pinching hand reaches towards you, tapping their pointer and thumb together. 

Every St. Patrick’s Day, thousands of people across the country scramble to find any sad excuse for green to avoid unwanted touching from their peers. Some even resort to using green makeup or some teal socks. 

While a simple pinch may not seem to be a big deal to some people, touching people without their permission at all is. The #MeToo movement, as well as the sharp increase of sexual harassment accusations, highlights the problem the country has with consent. People believe that being bold and getting what you want is “cool,” and in some instances, it is. Being bold in a job interview or a presentation can really help your cause and case. However, when the boldness comes in the form of assuming another person wants you to touch them, a problem starts to arise. Touching others or entering into their personal space without asking for their consent is problematic because it’s become somewhat of a social norm, so much so that it can feel awkward asking someone. Regardless of how weird it feels, asking is the right thing to do. Touching someone without their permission strips them of their bodily autonomy and starts chipping away at their rights over their own body. It can make people feel uncomfortable and unsafe. When you’re taught as a child to not touch things that don’t belong to you, that doesn’t just apply to other people’s toys. It applies to other people’s bodies, too.