The Good2Go App Might Be Flawed But It Could Still Start An Important Conversation Around Consent

The app is getting a lot of stick, but creator Lee Ann Allman has some interesting things to say about consent


by Stevie Martin |
Published on

So there's a new app in town. It's geared at helping college students consent to sex, and it's taken a bit of a beating upon its launch. Good2Go is designed to do away with grey areas when it comes to getting it on: you show the app to your partner, they have a multiple choice option between 'No thanks', 'Yes, but... we need to talk' and 'I'm Good2Go', and then you can test your/their sobriety to make sure everything is, erm, good to go (see what I did there?).

Criticisms have been swift and fairly brutal, with the press picking up on the kind of things you'd expect – namely, what university student is going to stop a sexy fumble to flash an app at a girl when loads of them can't seem to get over the awkwardness of, um, wearing a condom? A review was even titled 'Why Good2Go, an App for Sexual Consent, Is A Horrible Idea' goes even further, with journalist Alyssa Bereznak writing that 'it goes without saying that barely anyone will use this tool', before pointing out that 'the fact that this app exists proves something much more important: that people out there very wrongly think that sexual consent can be granted by something as simple as pressing a button on a phone'. Which, of course, completely misses the point.

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Having tried out the app, I can understand the main criticism – that not many people are going use it before they have sex because, if you're having non-consensual sex with someone, would you think to double-check it with a checklist? The victim certainly can't, and the perpetrator isn't about to. If you're having consensual sex, again, would you double-check it with a checklist? Surely it'd be a bit of a buzzkill. If it's a grey area, and you're not sure if the girl/guy is up for it, would you double check it with a checklist? Seems a bit formal, even if it only takes a matter of seconds to complete, thanks to a simple and straightforward design. 'If it seems a little awkward to use the app to learn the language of consent, then it's really a lot worse if you don't use it and you don't check consent,' Lee Ann Allman, the creator of Good2Go tells The Debrief. 'Really bad things could happen.'

Call Good2Go misguided, flawed and say you probably wouldn't use it, but is it really fair to say it's 'a horrible idea'?

Consent is a real problem in universities (and outside of universities for that matter) – Cambridge and Oxford are introducing consent classes, for God's sake – so the fact that someone out there is trying to manipulate technology used by students to take a step in a positive direction can't be a negative thing. Call Good2Go misguided, flawed and say you probably wouldn't use it, but is it really fair to say it's 'a horrible idea'?

'We actually have had a really good response,' says Lee Ann, who came up with the idea after hearing about the rape problem on campus from her son (21) and daughter (18). 'Young college kids that are out there and talking to the [app] administrators are the best spokespeople because they are the ones who are talking and saying, 'Hey, here is something we can actually use'. This is a tool that will work on the prevention side, rather than just being useful after the assault has taken place.'

The fact that college kids felt positive about the app might not mean they'll use it in the heat of the moment, but it does show that there's a real market out there for something like Good2Go. Lee Ann has opened up a conversation, and students are responding because hey, rape is a problem. A problem that's certainly not made worse by an ad-free, not-for-profit solution, even if it hasn't solved the problem just yet.

We are absolutely open to change. We want kids to use this, and if the kids don't use it then it doesn't do what we intended

While Lee Ann had lots of discussions around the dinner table with her family about how the app needed to be simple ('We kept talking about how the design would work, how it had to be quick and simple to use, otherwise it'd be too invasive and kids just won't use it'), she admits that it might not be perfect. 'We are absolutely open to change. We want kids to use this, and if the kids don't use it then it doesn't do what we intended,' she says. 'Sexual assault is such an important issue and I'm in it for the long haul. This isn't a one-day story – I want to make a difference.'

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'If there's something else that would be helpful, then I'm all ears. We are listening to all the feedback and yes, some of it is negative, but you've got to listen to the criticisms too. We really want this to work,' she adds. 'If we can get kids just talking about consent, about what they want and what they don't want, then I see that as a win.'

Lee Ann has a point. Say a college student downloads the app but, when things get serious, they're too nervous to actually take it out and formally register their consent – it's on their minds. A guy might be more likely to ask a girl's consent, and a girl might be more likely to speak up for what she wants and doesn't want, rather than going along with something she's not ready for. 'In the future, I want to see changes in the way people interact across the world,' Lee Ann says. 'Having a son and a daughter, I am sympathetic to both sides of this and to the feelings that both have about using the app.'

Good2Go may not be there yet, and an app might not be the answer to solving the consent problem but, instead of knocking it, why aren't we talking about how we can improve it? Why aren't we using this as a launchpad for conversations about what other technologies could be employed to give girls and guys the confidence to speak up about things they're not comfortable with?

It's better than a Tinder for fit people. Or a Tinder for rich people. Or another Angry Birds.

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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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