Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Let’s Talk About Aziz Ansari

By now you’ve probably heard about – or even read — the report on Aziz Ansari and the sexual assault allegations a former date recently made against him. I first saw a link to the expose on my Facebook feed Monday morning, posted by a feminist neighborhood dad we’re friendly with, who captioned it, simply, “This is date rape.” Interested, I read the piece and one of my first thoughts (you know, alongside: “Ew, what a douche!” and “Ugh, this sounds too familiar” and “Why did he keep pushing her?!” and “Why didn’t she leave?!”) was:

this is not date rape. What was described by the woman Ansari brought home after a dinner date is horrible and enraging and uncomfortable and regrettable, but it wasn’t date rape, and to categorize it as such really does a disservice, not just to the #metoo movement and to women who have suffered date rape and other kinds of sexual assault, but it’s also a disservice to our entire society to have missed an opportunity to include a new subtext in our recently collective conversation about sexual power dynamics and the impact such imbalance has not just in the workplace, but also on relationships and, more specifically, sex (heterosexual sex, in particular).

I’m heartened that many of the think pieces and social media posts published in the last 48 hours or so have focused on just that, and in doing so, we are expanding our collective conversation to include the misogynistic, archaic sexual script we all grew up learning: men are to doggedly pursue sex, women are to preserve their own purity while protecting a man’s fragile ego by coquettishly brushing off such advances. It’s a shitty script that results in more than just bad sex — it results in hurt feelings, murky boundaries, and ambiguous and unsatisfying relationships. It’s a narrative we saw recently in “Cat Person,” the viral short story for The New Yorker that so many of us identified with. We identified with it because we know the narrative, we know the script. This quote from The Guardian really hits the nail on the head:

“Girls are raised with a contradictory set of expectations: be kind and acquiescent, but also be the brakes on male sexual desire. We are taught to reflexively say yes except for when we’re supposed to definitively say no, but we don’t learn how to know when we want to say either…
When feminists do try to talk about this sexual imbalance, we get written off as anti-sex prudes. This is strange, because what we actually want is a norm of good sex for everyone involved, instead of the status quo of sex as a male-led endeavor, centered on male pleasure. Women seem to have two sexual possibilities: yes or no. Note that men never have to say “no means no” or even “yes means yes”. They’re the ones posing the question, not answering it.

Men aren’t morons, and they know as well as anyone that a woman who is silent, physically stiff, or pulling away is not exactly aflame with desire. But they also know that we are collectively invested in a social script wherein men push to get sex until women acquiesce. And so they push, even when they know it’s unwelcome, because they can.”

The language of “a bad hookup” fails to capture the unequal power dynamics and the deep sense of disorientation and betrayal that comes when someone treats you as a hole rather than a person. Nor does it adequately measure the weight of centuries of misogyny that have shaped our most intimate moments.

Feminists have been on the forefront of tackling these knottier issues of sex, consent, pleasure and power. And so it’s up to us to lead the way in confronting the private, intimate interactions that may be technically consensual but still profoundly sexist.

“The poorly reported Aziz Ansari exposé was a missed opportunity”

So, it’s time to shine a light on this issue of sexist sex — the kind of sexual interactions that don’t meet the legal and cultural definition of assault, but are something more, or something different, than just “bad sex” (which a journalist in the Times argues the Ansari case was) or even “sloppy sex.” It’s the kind of sex that, as mentioned above, has been shaped by centuries of misogyny and the idea that the female body is for his pleasure and the male body his for his pleasure and that sex, in general, is basically for his pleasure. And we’re all supposed to know that because that’s always been the script, and so when we’re on dates, it’s normal when a guy is overly aggressive and missing nonverbal cues — he’s just doing what he’s supposed to do (pursuing his own pleasure). And the woman, if she isn’t boldly saying no or voicing exactly what it is she wants or what would turn her on and what is turning her off, is doing what she was socialized to do (protecting his ego, not being rude). It’s rude, after all, to embarrass someone, to tell him you don’t like what he’s doing, that the way he touches you makes your skin crawl.

BE RUDE, bitches. Teach your daughters to be rude. Teach your sons to be respectful and to follow nonverbal cues (teach them examples of nonverbal cues!). Advocate for our public schools to teach social skills classes where these cues are taught. Be bold, speak up, say no, walk away, end a bad date as soon as you feel grossed-out or uncomfortable. YOU OWE NOTHING. Even if a guy paid for your meal. You owe him shit. Saying no or not now or that you don’t like that isn’t being a prude or anti-sex or a cock tease (raise your hand if you’ve been called a tease!). Changing your mind at any point for whatever reason doesn’t make you a tease. And if it does, so the fuck what? Wouldn’t you rather be called a tease than have sex with someone you don’t want to have sex with because you didn’t want to be rude?

On the flip side, if you want the sex, be bold about that too. Make ALL cues easier to decipher so that everything is more clearly defined and we have less ambiguity in personal moments and fewer public accounts of these moments that are icky to read about.

80 comments… add one
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    Bittergaymark January 17, 2018, 12:43 pm

    Sadly, I fear the “Metoo” movement — which is so very important and amazing and brave — is rapidly dissolving into “Mekinda” lameness and is very much in real danger of flaming out with vapid shit like this “story.”
    The tone of that Babe piece is just so fucking off. Hell, the “photographer” — and really what REAL photographer runs around with a dated camera these days? —is seemingly equally concerned about having to drink (GASP!) white wine as she is anything else.
    More, the only tidbit that he blogger seemingly fact checked with the quality of the outfit. Some tired dress over tired jeans — allegedly it was a great look. Whatever. That look was over five years ago.
    NEWSFLASH! If you can’t fucking even be bothered to speak up about what kind of wine you want to drink — then you damn well don’t have the maturity to date. I meant — Really? Are women THIS helpless? Because the cowardly anonymous source of this piece is a new low here as far as being utterly helpless.

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      Dear Wendy January 17, 2018, 1:08 pm

      The Babe piece was poorly written, for sure, and problematic for a number of reasons, the biggest of which, in my opinion, was the missed opportunity to frame the discussion around the effects systemic misogyny has on sex (Specifically, heterosexual sex) and our long overdue need to change the sexual script — to teach boys to see and respect nonverbal cues, and to teach girls to speak up about their wants and their boundaries, to honor THEIR feelings before worrying about hurting someone else’s.

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      • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 1:36 pm

        I have rarely found it hard to set boundaries. Hell in college I would say to a guy “I will do X but I won’t do Y” before anything got started. It was “Here’s my line, anything before that line – cool with me.” Not a single person ever gave me a hard time for saying “here’s the line”.

      • keyblade January 18, 2018, 12:07 am

        I’m almost okay with there not being a frame. I think when experiences become written stories the smallest change in words can evoke such different reactions. There are many collective experiences people are writing about coming from the #Metoo movement. My personal #metoo stories I chose to share with others, actually closer to when President Trump was nominated, were both workplace sexual harassment.
        One experience involved completely unprovoked groping from a customer I didn’t know while I was turned away from this customer. The other experience involved a comment and a sharp joke from a co-worker about the sexual and revealing nature of my outfit in front of an entire group of co-workers. I did speak up at that moment and he unapologetically rebounded. I’m reluctant to describe my outfit but if it matters it was a multi-colored, long-sleeved, slightly sheer blouse from New York Company with a sleeveless shirt underneath.

        While these are certainly not the only incidents I’ve experienced or witnessed, these are both the experiences that stand out as being openly tolerated and shrugged off. It is the experience from the people I told (mostly my female friends), and not from the harassers which disturbed me most deeply. It’s why I had so much anger listening to President Trump speak to Megan Kelly and all the rest of it. It was less about what he said than the people who didn’t care at all that he said it. I’d like to attribute it to media over-play but really it just isn’t a concern for many people.

        As far as the conversation about consent goes, it’s an important discussion. But lets not kid ourselves that a huge number people are concerned about even obvious cases of non-consent. It’s trendy to act concerned but what changes are people willing to make in their own lives? I’m so impressed by the women who have led the movement because if women (and men) don’t advocate for themselves when others abuse them, there will not be change.

        My reaction to the story is that “Grace” described the whole night very specifically, right down to quotes. In my opinion I didn’t think Ansari sounded unconcerned with “Grace’s” feelings. But then they don’t really know each other and it’s tough to call.

        I wonder if there is room to discuss a person’s expectations for themselves while recognizing systemic misogyny? Being protective of both oneself and one’s sexual partner is important for sex to be safe. However, it should be acknowledged that many people truly do not care if sex is safe and such people are selfish by nature. Axis’s reactions don’t read like such a person to me, but I’ve been out of the dating scene for a long time. I’ve been fully consenting and completely unenthusiastic with my husband before and vice versa. So for me the frame of this discussion has more to do with reasonable behavior and inferences between people who don’t know each other well but are choosing to be sexually active.

  • MissD January 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

    Yeah, I agree with you Wendy. I think he’s an asshole for rushing her and pushing her to have sex when she wasn’t enthusiastic about it. I think he’s an absolute dumbass for not picking up on her discomfort. But I don’t think it does women any favours when we’re painted as helpless little victims who can’t find the courage to say “no” on a date. Seriously, she could have said “Whoa… I’m not ready for this, please stop.”

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    • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 1:31 pm

      I don’t agree that this paints women as helpless little victims. There are a lot of reasons why a woman might not explicitly say “NO” on a date. For example, women who get murdered for rejecting men, being socialized that you can’t be rude, being socialized that men cannot stop themselves once they are getting ready for sex. I think it’s unfortunate that society spends hundreds of years socializing women to find more agreeable ways of conveying their wants and needs, and then as soon as it negatively impacts men (the negative impact being that they are told to pick up social cues or understand phrases that don’t involve yelling NO or STOP, and that if they are a jerk, people might hear about it), then we jump on women for not overcoming the socialization.

      If folks wanted women to feel more confident that they could say no and a man would stop and wouldn’t turn violent or shame her or make the situation more uncomfortable or feel bad about himself, then they should have raised them that way. Like, for real, 4-year-olds often aren’t even allowed to say no to hugging their aunt or uncle when they visit, but somehow along the way (with often no extensive sex ed training) they are supposed to suddenly learn exactly how to handle a situation where a guy repeatedly pressures them despite knowing full well they aren’t interested.

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      • MissD January 17, 2018, 1:35 pm

        I think I was trying to say the same thing as you. Of course there are hundred reasons why women feel like they can’t speak up, and that is a shame and needs to be stopped. Like Wendy said above, we need to change the script!

      • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 1:43 pm

        I understand your point – but that is a broad brush stroke with which to paint genders. I agree women need to speak up – and somehow in 20 years we lost that. When I was this woman’s age we had gone through years of learning these lessons. I’m not sure how they were so quickly forgotten.

        Still – I don’t think women have entirely forgotten it. I know my opinion won’t be well received, but I think there are many people who allow celebrities to cross lines they would firmly hold in place for others.

      • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 2:25 pm

        Well, I’m not saying everyone in the gender is like that. The discussion is already about how “women need to do this” or “men do that.” The discussion is already using a generalized view because it’s easier to talk about like that.

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      Copa January 17, 2018, 1:38 pm

      Agreed. I’ve stayed out of the few discussions of this that I’ve seen on social media, but a lot of what I’ve seen, everyone wants this to be an “either/or” situation. Like, it seems to be entirely Aziz’s fault OR victim blaming. Aziz/men should be respectful and work to appropriate understand/interpret even the nonverbal cues. Women should work to make sure the messages they’re sending are clear. Effective communication takes two people, so yes to everything Wendy is saying about teaching our sons and daughters to the skills to do this.

      As an aside, did anyone else think it was weird that the woman on the date with Aziz took a picture of their food? It was in the Babe piece. I’ve seen comments online about how it seems like she was trying to live out some kind of romcom. I can’t say I entirely disagree, and that photo was one of the details that really didn’t help.

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      • MissD January 17, 2018, 1:41 pm

        Maybe I’m stereotyping but it could be her age. Or maybe she’s just one of those people who feels the need to instagram / snapchat everything. I know lots of people like that.

        I was just annoyed by the whole “he served me white whine when I prefer red” as like, a lead up to what happened between them sexually.

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        Copa January 17, 2018, 1:53 pm

        Yeah, I thought it might be her age, too, but c’mon! I’d feel super embarrassed to be documenting a first date like that with anyone, let alone a celebrity. It gives the impression she was making one date into A Big Deal.

      • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 2:27 pm

        From what I understand, the white/red wine thing was relied on so heavily because of the writer wanting to make a point. That’s one of the ways that person did a disservice to Grace.

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        TheLadyE January 18, 2018, 8:56 am

        Re: the taking a picture of her food…oops, I’m 35 and I will take pictures of food sometimes at restaurants when it looks fancy or delicious. I have this policy where I take the picture and then immediately put the phone away and focus on my dinner companion, and post it to Instagram later. I kind of use Instagram/social media as a place to document my adventures for posterity, so that’s why. However, I don’t usually do that on first dates; not until after at least a couple of dates, when the guy & I work our way up to a restaurant with food I would want to take a picture of, generally, but if I were younger maybe I would.

        For example, my best friend took me to dinner a few weeks ago to celebrate my new job and it was the fanciest piece of salmon I’d ever seen…and I wanted to document that moment because it was important to me.

        That being said, Aziz being a celebrity may add a different filter, if you will, to this issue. Like, was she taking a picture to show the food Aziz bought her?

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        Copa January 18, 2018, 10:46 am

        Oh, don’t get me wrong — I take pictures of my food and drinks sometimes — but on a first date? NO!

  • MissD January 17, 2018, 1:13 pm

    I liked this article, it pretty much summed up what I was thinking: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/15/opinion/aziz-ansari-babe-sexual-harassment.html

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  • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 1:27 pm

    Some women are that helpless and it angers me to no end. But this isn’t about a helpless woman this is about the lure of celebrity.

    I don’t believe this is some naive just off the beet truck rube. She must have some dating experience. What she wanted was a celebrity experience; now I’m not saying she’s lying – but I’m saying she had a lot more control than she decided to use. And I also think that she’s used that power before – said “Nope, this is not working for me.” I’m sure she’s removed wandering hands from her shoulders or ass with other dates or jerks she just met. But my assumption is simply that she wanted into that inner circle. She made some choices, to put up with an awkward and less than enjoyable experience because if this worked in her favor… she would be dating a famous guy. Or know a famous guy who could introduce her to other famous people. Whatever. She may not believe it (or want to admit it), but I doubt she would have put up with such a shitty experience if she didn’t feel there was a brass ring to be grabbed.

    I think she’s foolish and shit like this makes it harder for women who have been assaulted to come forward. It’s not a false rape accusation but it’s just shitty – like that woman that tweeted if “you regret sex the next day, then it wasn’t consensual and you should consider it rape.” No, if you regret it the next day it’s equivalent to the regret one feels after eating an entire chocolate cake in one sitting. Something that you need to control going forward.

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      Dear Wendy January 17, 2018, 1:45 pm

      I completely agree with this. It’s totally valid to ask “Why didn’t she just leave?!” And I think it’s equally valid to suggest that she didn’t want her brush with celebrity to end just yet. She hoped it would get better and that the brush with celebrity could continue.

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    • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 2:23 pm

      Maybe she was really into him as a celebrity, but I also know women who have been in similar situations with guys who aren’t famous. I guess I’d need to know more about her before determining she was just in it to be with a famous guy or meet famous people.

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        Lianne January 17, 2018, 2:30 pm

        I think this can also happen with someone you have had a MAJOR crush on and this sort of distorts your view of them, but in the moment you’re like, I am gonna see where this goes….I think that’s a similar situation.

      • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 2:34 pm

        Yeah, definitely. I think any situation where you think you know them (which can happen with a celebrity because you see them on TV, read their books, etc.) and they act differently than you expect. Your brain has to decide what to do with that info. Cognitive dissonance. Takes some time before brain is necessarily going to overhaul its view of the person.

      • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 4:27 pm

        Yes, this is where I think she expected some kind of “Master of None” thing to happen. He wants sex. You don’t. He lives there. You don’t. If you stay, he is not going to set you up with his Netflix account while he goes to the bathroom to masturbate then snuggle up to you on the couch with cheez its and a soda.

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      Lianne January 17, 2018, 2:25 pm

      I think you perfectly put into words how I was feeling about the situation after reading the article Wendy linked to. As the story unfolded, I found myself more and more dumbfounded as to how she kept going along if it was so awkward. Her words to him when she came out of the bathroom after collecting herself made it seem like, ‘hey; I have a line and you’re sort of toeing it…not, I am super uneasy so STOP.’ And then she got to the part where she performed oral sex on him. Like, really? From her description of that situation in particular, he didn’t force her. And she said she couldn’t believe this is where the night had led based on her “saying she was uncomfortable.” So why did you go down on him? I think what you say above is alot of why I think she did. There were many points that I kept thinking throughout, how was THIS not the point where you left? I dunno. I feel very uncomfortable with both sides of this situation. Because, there is that power dynamic going on, as well. Not that she was looking for his help in boosting her career, but he’s clearly on a different plane than him. It’s just fucked up.

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    MaterialsGirl January 17, 2018, 1:41 pm

    “… men are to doggedly pursue sex, women are to preserve their own purity while protecting a man’s fragile ego by coquettishly brushing off such advances. ”

    Perfect, Wendy! I had so much trouble with this original article at first.
    It also made me think about the times when I was the aggressor. .. was I acting just as douchey as Aziz? If you take gender out of the picture and say “asker” or “askee”, I think it helps to re-frame most sexual encounters in a healthier way. EVEN IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP. example: “Asker”: rubbing up on partner/hand grazing butt/whatever. “Askee”: swats hand away. “Asker”: Hey are you alright? feeling okay? I’m SUPER horny and turned on by you right now
    “Askee”: yeah i’m beat. “Asker”: ah okay, we can cuddle. (or let me help you or whatever).

    Lisforleslie,.. i also had the impression too

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  • dinoceros January 17, 2018, 2:50 pm

    So, I appreciate that most of you were apparently very savvy and assertive when you were her age. But not all of us were. I didn’t date in high school and barely in college. I didn’t know much about dating timelines or what was “normal” and I didn’t know that “normal” matters less than what you WANT to do. I actually wrote more about my experiences and deleted it because I know the sort of responses I’m going to get, and they’re going to enrage me. It sucks that some young women are naive and don’t get taught this stuff from moms, sisters, friends, schools, whatever. But some of them don’t. And it doesn’t mean they deserve to be coerced or harassed into sex. I wish that humans could say the perfect things at the right time and act exactly in their best interests all the time, but humans are imperfect and they don’t. And honestly, it has less to do with Aziz understanding the intricacies of consent and more to do with him not having empathy for another person and not seeing her as a person. It would be nice if when a naive person gets themselves into a situation that they aren’t prepared for, that the other person is a human who actually has empathy and doesn’t take advantage of it. But our society is all about taking whatever you can get.

    The other thing that is bothering me is that regardless of your thoughts on the issue, this is a good opportunity to talk about consent and boundaries. Whether it means that people will teach boys to respect boundaries or girls to speak up more. But I think that the fact that she took photos of food, wanted certain wine, or whatever are irrelevant. I think we should just keep this about the topic at hand, and not try to discredit her or express our disdain simply because she likes to instagram meals.

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      MaterialsGirl January 17, 2018, 3:46 pm

      Hey Dino, I’m sorry you were in this situation and I think it’s true for many young women growing up, strong examples or not. The desire to be loved, to have someone like you and want to date you is a pretty standard need and want for humans across the board. And a lot of times that internal dialogue goes “well, if I do this, then maybe they will like me.” or even more verbally with the askee saying “if you loved me, you would do X.” And it certainly doesn’t help that society has been set up in a Men take, women have to bat away at all costs when it comes to sex. Or that people in general just don’t display empathy or have another’s happiness or best intentions in mind.
      So that leaves us to the root of the problem: how do we promote and display empathy and concern for our fellow human being in all matters of our lives. Giving your brand new shoes to the homeless guy on the El, volunteering, lending your voice to protests, and just being treated as you would want to be treated. I think the golden rule is pretty applicable even in sexual situations. I wish the partners you encountered were taught to think of it the same way so the onus would not have been on you when your own voice had not been fully formed

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    • MissD January 17, 2018, 3:47 pm

      @dinoceros I think what you’re saying here is what people ARE trying to get across in their critique here. Not everybody has the experience and not everybody is taught to speak up when they are uncomfortable, and they SHOULD be taught. Both men AND women need to be taught that it’s OK to speak up and say “I’m uncomfortable, stop.” And equally, both men AND women need to be taught to understand non-verbal cues as well.

      People are making fun of the article because it was poorly written, which is sadly doing a disservice to those struggling with these issues.

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    • Lucy January 17, 2018, 3:59 pm

      The overwhelming sense I got from reading the original piece was that neither of them treated, or even saw, the other as a person. She came cross as trying to live out some kind of celebrity romance fantasy, and he seemed to be treating her like she was disposable, a commodity. A lot of her account really rubbed me the wrong way (complaining about the wine? AYFKMWTS?!), but I don’t know whether that’s coming from her, or from the author, who clearly had an agenda, and is also not much of a writer. I also think that naming him, while maintaining anonymity herself, is doing her few favors. Go public, or don’t, but this halfway version smacks of character assassination to a lot of people, and in that way is the antithesis of #metoo.

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    • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 4:35 pm

      I completely agree that this is a teachable moment. For women – own your sexuality, embrace it, say what pleases you, say what displeases you, vocalize your needs and your boundaries.
      For men – same.
      For both – ask permission, confirm and enjoy.
      Also for both – I’ve yet to meet anyone with ESP – use your words.

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  • ktfran January 17, 2018, 3:05 pm

    Thank you Wendy for posting your thoughts on this and I appreciate how you’re not contributing to this is her problem, or his, but in taking a holistic approach.

    I have to admit, when my husband first told me the news, I thought “are you effing kidding me, this has gone too far.” Then i read the Babe article and I also kind of thought eww… he was aggressive, but again, my original thought, why didn’t she just say no!

    I’m on the same page as MG on how these things go and LforL and her thoughts.

    I get it. Women are supposed to behave a certain way. Fuck, I was raised in conservative, Catholic household. I was raised not to make waves. To always be polite. That girls should dress a certain way and act a certain way. On top of that, I’m a people pleaser… but even with all of these things working against me, I was still able to say no. I’ve been wracking my brain and I’ve never done something I haven’t wanted to do. I can think of two distinct instances where I was uncomfortable and stopped the situation from going further. Once was in college where the person was aggressive in what he wanted but I said no and removed myself, alcohol was also involved. Another I brought a guy back to my place, we were both drunk, it was new years, we were hot and heavy but I stopped the sex because I decided I wasn’t comfortable. There’s probably more, but those were the most glaring.

    Yes, men should be more cognizant of their partner and their comfort level. However, women should also be cognizant of their comfort level and not count on someone to read minds. Say no!

    Maybe I’m lucky in that despite my upbringing and my family’s views on how men and women should behave, I was surrounded by strong women.

    Mothers, aunts, sisters, friends, show younger generations how to be strong. You’re doing them a disservice not to.

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    • ktfran January 17, 2018, 3:11 pm

      Sorry. I shouldn’t have left men out in my last statement. I think that’s been covered though. Show empathy. Pick up on nonverbal cues. Check in.

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      Copa January 17, 2018, 3:19 pm

      Yeah. I was also raised in a more conservative Catholic family. Nobody ever taught me how to speak up for myself in these situations. Like you, I’ve also wracked my brain trying to recall past experiences, and I can’t think of a situation where I wasn’t vocal about my boundaries when I started feeling uncomfortable. I also think most of the guys from my past have been respectful, and remembered all the guys who directly asked, “Is it okay if I…?” and the like.

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      • ktfran January 17, 2018, 3:31 pm

        I do distinctly remember the college incident and the guy being aggressive about it. Like, pushing my head to go down on him. We were at a party. There was lots of alcohol. I extracted myself from the situation.

  • MMR January 17, 2018, 3:45 pm

    I agree with most of what’s being said here.

    The part that really got me, was that she took the time to go to the bathroom and “collect herself”, and when she came back out he asked if she was ok, he says “It’s only fun if we’re both having fun”… then next thing she knows she’s going down on him? We’re missing some context here… They were literally just talking about consent, and then he presented his penis? And she didn’t say “you know, this is exactly what I just told you I didn’t want to do”?

    I believe that all the facts presented in the article are true (ya – he sounds gross and entitled and should be called on it) but I think she’s conveniently left some things out. There was a clear stepping-back-and-assessing moment when she came out from the bathroom and she decided to stay and participate.

    I don’t know which friends she “confronted” about this (She completely misused “confronted” and it really bothers me.), but this doesn’t amount to sexual assault.

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    • LisforLeslie January 17, 2018, 4:38 pm

      Agreed, unless one is a little person there is no way those parts line up naturally.

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    TheLadyE January 17, 2018, 4:27 pm

    So, here’s a story that’s somewhat related, I guess.

    Two years ago I was dating a guy from OKCupid. We weren’t exclusive but had been dating for about six weeks, he went on a trip to NYC, and when he came back he made some excuse about why he couldn’t become exclusive with me. (It turned out he was getting together with another girl while he was in NYC & ended up marrying her.) He gave me a huge sob story about this unfortunate/hard stuff he was going through in his personal life and that’s why he couldn’t be with me, and said how great I was, how much he wished he could be with me etc etc. He ended up cuddling with me on the couch for a long time and we made out pretty heavily for hours. I was devastated. (I didn’t know about the other girl at the time.) Eventually, he went home.

    Later that week we went to a show together and that night when we went for drinks afterwards he got super angry and impatient with me (we were hanging out as friends at that point). In hindsight I see now that he felt guilty that he had lied to me, but I didn’t know that at the time. He ended up saying very darkly that he “never felt ready” to make out with me and I felt horrible for a long time for initiating the kiss with him – which by the way he never stopped or acted uncomfortable with at all.

    I have felt guilty about that ever since. Like, did I not pick up on something?

    Then again, I have a good guy friend of mine who said he lost his virginity by being date raped, so as we know it can happen to men, too. It’s good we are expanding the conversation.

    For my own part, I have felt coerced a couple of times, and each time – starting at the tender age of 19 when I also came from a very conservative, religious household – I had no trouble shutting it down. Not to say everyone won’t have trouble, but I also don’t understand why she didn’t just leave. Maybe she was hoping he would start behaving better, and it would’ve been nice if he had…but I also would’ve thought the tipping point would have been when she came out of the bathroom.

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      TheLadyE January 17, 2018, 4:28 pm

      I meant to say…I was devastated because we were breaking up, not because we made out. Wanted to clarify.

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    • ktfran January 17, 2018, 4:52 pm

      Yeah. I totally agree with your last paragraph. Not everyone can and will say no, but from the article, it really just seems like she had a lot of opportunity to end the night and leave. I’d really like to know why she didn’t.

      I also appreciate that, even according to the Babe article, she texted him her regrets and he apologized. I’d like to think he learned from that and behaved better on future dates. Or maybe he’s a dick. I dunno.

      Also, LadyE, I don’t think you should beat yourself up about that guy from Ok. I suppose I’m just a fan of, for both men and women, knowing what your comfortable with and stopping something when you’re not. People really aren’t mind readers. LforL is basically saying everything I want to, only better.

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  • Sarah January 17, 2018, 6:12 pm

    This is a great discussion– thank you, Wendy!!

    I’m glad people saw through the babe article! Neither party was perfectly correct in his/her behavior, but I agree it seems like a stretch to go to sexual assault! I’m not his fan but he did seem to be unfairly villianized.

    Maybe it is just me, but I also didn’t like that she got the privilege of hiding her identity (with a flimsy rationale) and he didn’t. I guess it is because I don’t see what he did as sexual assault.

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  • Sandra Weston January 18, 2018, 12:24 am

    I was an incest victim. Throughout my childhood my father abused and then raped me and my mother has said she couldn’t allow herself to know. At seventeen I left home. At twenty-seven I began decades of therapy for recovery. During this time I learned that most children are molested, abused and raped by those closest to them, family and family friends or neighbors. It’s so common that I wish instead of putting the laser focus on celebrities everyone would admit that they and strangers are the exception. Yes it’s important to stop being tolerant of any abuse. Let’s just make sure that it is actual abuse and admit that the perpetrators are very often relatives.

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    • keyblade January 18, 2018, 11:31 am

      I’m sorry you went through that. Your birth parents sound like despicable people. It is extraordinary that you have chosen to pursue recovery through so much of your life. I agree that children are often abused by those who have the opportunity to get closest. But I do think date rape, especially with acquaintances and among teens is still very prevalent. And I believe workplace sexual harassment is not at all uncommon and occurs in every industry. I’m not sorry to see giants fall. Best of luck (and light, if you believe in it).

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  • Gauri January 18, 2018, 1:29 am

    My first reaction when I read the Babe article was – what a douchebag and a hypocrite! I agree with everything said here about Grace – she should’ve left and put an end to it. But Aziz’s aggressiveness and entitlement were disgusting, all the more because he puts forth this feminist-ally-Master-of-None-Time’s Up-button-wearing persona. He did apologize to Grace, rather than shutting her down and pretending to not know what she was talking about, but I think he should’ve shown more empathy given their age difference and his celebrity created a power dynamic that made Grace more hesistant to rock the boat.

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  • Randee January 18, 2018, 9:42 am

    This is the best thing I’ve read about this whole thing, which has caused a huge amount of mixed emotions in me. Thanks, Wendy.

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  • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 10:08 am

    Hmmm. Okay, I’ll raise my hand and admit that I (unlike almost everyone else here?) have had trouble saying no when I was coerced. I did manage to extract myself from those situations but it was hard and uncomfortable and I still left feeling like I was being used.

    I also was raised in a conservative, religious household where I was socialized to be “nice.” I only dated a little in high school and college, so by the time I was the same age as “Grace,” I was still very naive.

    By my mid-twenties, I was dating my husband and living/working in Chicago. I walked and took the train everywhere, which gave creepy dudes ample time to hit on me, follow me, cat-call me on a regular basis. I came home from work one day and told my then-boyfriend about a dude who followed me onto the train–I kept talking to him the whole way because I didn’t want to be rude.

    My husband then said to me: “So? Be rude. You don’t have to be polite. You don’t owe him that. You don’t owe him anything.”

    This was… a revelation to me. At 25 years old, the fact I didn’t owe someone else (especially a man) my politeness had never occurred to me. And no one had ever told me that I can and should be rude when I’m uncomfortable.

    So guess I have a little sympathy for Grace then most other people here. I get how a 23-year-old woman might stay and not walk out because she doesn’t want to be rude. I get how she might feel used and violated after saying no in so many nonverbal ways.

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    • MMR January 18, 2018, 10:30 am

      I completely agree with everything you’ve said. Teaching women they don’t need to be “polite” is important. It has been (inappropriately) ingrained in too many woman that it’s their responsibility not to make anyone else feel bad about their actions, even if they’re being inappropriate. And I think that’s been reflected in the conversation here. His behaviour was wrong.

      The real problem people are pointing at is that she’s labelling what happened as sexual assault, which trivializes the experiences of real sexual assault victims. Her story is very common, and it’s a issue that needs voicing – but it needs to be described differently because *it is different* from sexual assault. It’s about a power imbalance that is very nuanced and largely invisible to people who haven’t experienced it.

      I’m not invalidating her story. I totally get how she ended up doing somethings that she wasn’t enthusiastic about. (Above, I mention how I think she described a conversation about consent that seems inconsistent with her actions, but that’s something else altogether.)

      The main takeaway from this story is that what she described is something important that needs to be discussed, but ***is different from** sexual assault. Conflating the two gives people the opportunity to dismiss all #MeToo experiences as overly dramatic and therefore not worth discussing.

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      • MissD January 18, 2018, 10:34 am

        Yes, this.

    • LisforLeslie January 18, 2018, 10:46 am

      Your story resonates and I’m glad you received some very good advice. However, one does not give bjs to be polite. What I’m saying is that at a certain point, she made specific choices to not listen to herself. Of course all of us have done similarly (not necessarily sexual but have been persuaded beyond comfort or dismissed our guts and regretted it later). In those non-sexual circumstances we don’t necessarily blame the other person for duping us. If I go to a car dealership aiming to buy something at $30K and I walk out with a $60K car – well, do I blame the car salesman who has an end goal or do I blame myself for not walking away? Who is really at fault if I do something against my own self interests?

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      • keyblade January 18, 2018, 11:23 am

        Except that I did know 14 year old girls who performed fellotio to be polite and popular. And outside of blatant prostitution, I think we should continue to promote and encourage enthusiastic consent, particularly in situations which rely on reading another person’s non-verbal communications.

        I agree with Wendy that women have been conditioned to be overly-responsible for the experience of male sexuality in heteronormative relationships. Both men and women have bought into female mystique role and are reluctant to accept the jarring reality of a women being a simple person, who must use words and and instructive language to have a more ownership and autonomy during sex. I’m guessing most people are not good at learning this during high states of arousal on the onset of orgasm and so this topic should continue to be explored before it get’s to that point.

        But let’s be careful about conflating this conversation with the #Metoos. Changing the focus when a person is clearly communicating that they have experienced an abuse of position or power as it relates to sexual/workplace dynamics in my opinion is a disservice to those willing to take a risk for the ideal of workplace equality, justice, the safety of those who were also abused or could be abused.

        I’m not shocked to opportunism nor confusion pieces. I examine borders and ethical relativism all the time. But disputes on the fringe and how the edges of consent should be defined will hopefully not detract feminists from the systematic scale of how often lines are crossed and how much culture enables it by focusing on a nihilistic demand for perfect absolute resolution before any truth to power can ever be acknowledged.

      • MMR January 18, 2018, 1:34 pm

        There’s a **BIG** difference between a 14 year old child and a woman in her early twenties. Which is why the sexual contact with the 14 year old was illegal (sexual assault), and what this woman experienced was not. Namely, the child has less ability to consider the repercussions of her actions, while a woman does and is expected to make rational decisions based on that.

    • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 3:05 pm

      I agree that this isn’t sexual assault in the legal sense, but I’m seeing a lot of blame-y commentary here and elsewhere on the internet. Stuff: “Well, she did go over to his place,” and “why didn’t she just say no?” And from the outside, I can see why other people would ask those questions.

      But when I was her age, there were several times when a man I was on a date with invited me back to his place and I said yes with no intention of sleeping with him. I was so naive that I honestly thought he wanted to hang out with me at his apartment–I didn’t realize he might take this to mean I was game for more. And how am I supposed to say no if I don’t know or am not sure what he wants from me?

      I’ve seen a lot of male commenters (not here, elsewhere) say things like: “Women have to say no! We’re not mind readers!” In these scenarios, it often felt I, the woman, am expected to read my date’s mind. Does he want to just talk? make out? oral or something more? How the hell am I supposed to know?

      This is why it’s so important for men like Aziz in this situation to actual voice what they want. If he had told her he wanted to have sex rather than continually pawing at her, maybe she would’ve felt a bit more comfortable saying, “No thank you, and I’m going home now.”

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        Copa January 18, 2018, 3:14 pm

        I don’t believe Grace was so naive that she didn’t know he wanted to have sex.

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        Dear Wendy January 18, 2018, 3:21 pm

        I don’t think it’s blame-y commentary to ask why she didn’t leave. At the very least, it invites a conversation about… well, why she didn’t leave. Likely, centuries-long misogyny and the way girls are socialized has a lot to do with why she didn’t leave a situation in which she felt prolonged discomfort. It’s important to talk about that and change the way in which boys and girls are socialized to approach dating and hooking up differently.

      • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 3:34 pm

        I agree–I don’t think Grace was that naive. But a lot of 23-year-old women are, and so I can understand why they might struggle to say no, or might do something they are uncomfortable doing, in this kind of situation.

        Really, I am less concerned about this particular woman and more with how women are socialized in general: many of them (myself included) are only ever taught to not have sex. So when they end up alone with a man, they don’t know how to handle themselves, they feel pressured to be polite, and they lack the confidence to voice their boundaries.

      • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 3:35 pm

        @Wendy: I don’t think you intended it to be blame-y but I’ve seen this kind of commentary elsewhere on the internet, and it comes across as: “Well, I have no sympathy for her! After all, why didn’t she just leave?”

  • Ashley January 18, 2018, 2:07 pm

    There’s a lot on this thread and elsewhere on what Grace was thinking, but what about Aziz? I’m having trouble interpreting his actions as anything other than a man who was certain he had a sure thing. *Warning* Lots of conjecture here.
    1. I don’t think it’s a coincidence he pulled this with a woman over 10 years his junior. I think he thought what a lot of people are saying here, she’s young, more LIKELY to be compliant, less self assured, less confident. I’m just trying to imagine him pulling this on a woman his own age, and I’m having trouble.
    2. So he gets her back to his place, and realizes, it’s NOT going to be that easy. He chases her around his apartment for 30 minutes (or so). Man, he should be DONE by now, her ass should be halfway back to Brooklyn! He can’t call it, he’s going to get something out of this evening, if it kills him.
    3. She finally leaves. He didn’t force her down, she didn’t claw him or punch him, so he can tell himself he is still a good guy. He is still the woke male feminist ally, in his mind.

    Cut to few months later, and when all this comes out, he gives a lame apology. There is little self reflection, and I think that, more than anything, calls into question his reputation as a “male feminist.”

    There’s been a lot of hand wringing on what’ll happen to Aziz. So far, I can still find his shows on Netflix, he could still tour etc…I don’t see him starving any time soon. His credibility as a modern dating expert/point person is shot tho, IMO. Although, he has an opportunity here to explore these issues of consent/coercion (umm this could totally be a plot of Master of None) and l think only in that way, could get back his credibility.

    Some other thoughts.
    I hadn’t really thought about the celebrity angle, and I guess because I’ve always thought Aziz was lame I didn’t see anyone else getting particularly starstruck.

    The journalist who broke this story sent a horrible email, and I think if there is a loser in this story, it’s her.

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    • Kate January 18, 2018, 2:35 pm

      Samantha Bee last night:

      “People are worried about Aziz’s career. Which no one is trying to end because again we know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harrasser, and an Aziz Ansari. That doesn’t mean we have to be happy about any of them.”

      Her monologue was good.

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      • ktfran January 18, 2018, 3:37 pm

        Ever since I heard about this story, I’ve been waiting for Amy Poehler to say/write something. IDK why. I guess because she’s such a strong, vocal feminist and he was on her show.

  • keyblade January 18, 2018, 2:41 pm

    @MMR- yes there is a big difference between a 14 year old child and a 22 year old woman. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought it up. It’s challenging to have a discussion about systemic misogyny, particularly as it relates to sexual behaviors. It’s hard to think about sexuality in one-size-fits all of social terms because it clearly isn’t one-size-fits-all. I’m sorry to have made such a clumsy comment. If I understand LisforLeslie’s comment correctly, she is advocating for individual responsibility. She’s right to warn people not to assume all people will be trustworthy just because it’s sex or and she is right to encourage people to know themselves and forcefully assert boundaries, particularly adults who are capable of discernment. But sexuality often doesn’t begin in one’s early twenties, so a broader conversation about personal responsibility in sexual experiences may need to go earlier. As it relates to this personal story, it came across to me as the story of a man who wanted to a sexual hook-up and a woman who wanted a date and who was still processing what she wanted in real time.
    Enthusiastic consent shouldn’t be presented to inexperienced women as a guaranteed expectation lest women fail to understand the importance of self-advocacy.

    I don’t view this piece as legal sexual assault. But I think it is okay and right to advocate for decency. It seems like people want permission to treat other people like shit. I don’t think it infantilizing to women to encourage men to push back against the notion of selfish sexual self-interest. Perhaps this is to push back against what feels intuitive at times. This cuts against casual sexuality. Obviously, I could read more on all of this but it seems to me there is a push back on judging an and all contexts of sexuality. Maybe people get worried it will lead to sex shaming. The worst of society will weaponize puritanical notions of righteousness to keep others in the place. Individual proclivities and experiences of female sexuality will be swept into mislabeled containers. Maybe so, but I think many people are in pursuit of intimacy and connection and not just raw sexuality. And I think some people have a more challenging time figuring themselves out and judging context particularly when courting is involved. Boundaries are healthy and important but not all people can assert them with selfish force. Not everyone knows the line before it gets close. So it is in the spirit of good health and intention not to screw with other people’s bodies if one perceives push back even if the messaging isn’t obvious. Acting against one’s own primal instincts for the good of others is never going to be universally accepted or popular. But it still seems to me to be a good thing to advocate. But perhaps I’m naïve.

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    • MMR January 18, 2018, 4:06 pm

      I agree with all of this. The real problem is that she *explicitly* – after careful consideration – decided to publicly accuse him of sexual assault.

      Almost everything I’ve read about this (I’m possibly in a bubble) has talked about how the sexist power imbalance in sexual relationships is very real, and should be discussed, but it can’t be equated with sexual assault.

      I think the most productive thing that could come out of this is a discussion around how to address that invisible power imbalance. Recognizing that there are varying degrees of inappropriate behaviour is important, but lumping everything together is unhelpful at best.

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  • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 3:44 pm

    This: “But I think it is okay and right to advocate for decency. It seems like people want permission to treat other people like shit.”

    So we all agree he didn’t rape or assault her, but that’s pretty much the lowest bar ever for decency. We all do better than that. And we all deserve to be treated better than that.

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    • Anon from LA January 18, 2018, 3:44 pm

      Oops, meant this as a reply to @keyblade above.

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  • Kate January 18, 2018, 5:14 pm

    I finally read that piece, though I didn’t finish it because it was definitely NSFW. It was so gross in so many ways, but my strongest reaction, repeatedly, was, WHY didn’t you LEAVE??? She wasn’t being threatened or restrained, and she could have politely said goodnight and left at any time. I know, I know, women aren’t taught to assert themselves, but geez. Anyway. He’s not a rapist, but he is a pushy skeezer, and there’s no reason this story shouldn’t come out. It’s relevant to the Timesup / Metoo movement, and I DONT think it devalues it or goes too far. Like Samantha Bee said, it doesn’t have to ruin your life to be worth speaking out about. But no, it wasn’t rape.

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    • Kate January 18, 2018, 5:19 pm

      Like, I feel she didn’t leave because she was really into his celebrity status and was trying to negotiate some deal wherein she didn’t have to have intercourse and could reset to dating. In spite of how gross he was being. That’s… not what he wanted. So, like my friend in high school who would give blowjobs to popular boys as a way to gain status, she offered up a BJ.

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    • keyblade January 20, 2018, 2:57 pm

      Okay, but what is the relevance? That pushy skeezers will be outed? Dates will be recorded for public analysis and consumption?

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      • Kate January 20, 2018, 3:18 pm

        Yes. Timesup on being a rapist or a workplace harrasser or an Aziz Ansari who pats himself on the back for his awesome feminism but is a gross sleazebag behind closed doors. Sorry, but it’s all gonna come out now. Conduct yourself like a good man and you have nothing to worry about.

      • Kate January 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

        I mean, there’s a reason we’re not hearing stories about the Tom Hanks’s of the world, and countless other guys, right? Because they are good guys who don’t behave like assholes.

      • keyblade January 20, 2018, 4:10 pm

        “Conduct yourself like a good man and you have nothing to worry about.”
        What does he have to worry about? The scorn and hate of the internet? A career ending? Rape is illegal. Hostile work environments are illegal. This “reporting” is the opinion of one anonymous source. There is evidence presented of how she felt after the encounter. There is circumstantial evidence it wasn’t the celebrity’s intention to rape or assault her. I don’t like skeevy pushers, either. But it isn’t clear to me that perception was completely congruent with reality.
        Feminists say to “believe women”. Given the physical differences between men and women in heterosexual coupling, as well as data, there are very good reasons to do just that. But what does believing someone who is anonymous in a comment section of an unrelated website contribute in terms of emotionally validating the original anonymous source? Is this an opportunity to validate what a terrible, awful, experience this must have been? If it is about sending a non-specific threatening message about what happens when men don’t “conduct themselves” and it isn’t limited to rape, assault, or harassment is it all sexual behavior? Is it ANY sexual behavior that isn’t deemed good by ANY anonymous source up for public scorn/docking? Is it the men who act like feminists who will be publicly scrutinized?
        This person labeled what happened to her as sexual assault. I firmly acknowledge it is extremely difficult to prove date-assault. I’ve never met the man in question. I have no investment in defending him. I do have an investment in promoting better culture. But what is the best way to do it?

        Can there be a single, popular, message about sexual conduct? Enthusiastic consent is gaining traction. But this article is a great example of how impossible it is to determine a man’s actual intent. It reads incriminatingly enough. Nobody wants to put up a date trying to “sell’ intercourse with the same cheap, shyster tactics of a used car salesmen. Surely, that isn’t conducting oneself as a “good” man.

        But again, this is one source who has chosen to remain anonymous and by her own account she tried to set the pace, while being naked, and continuing to make out with someone who’s “claw” style repulsed her.

      • Kate January 20, 2018, 4:29 pm

        This movement is about calling out unacceptable behavior. This was a form of unacceptable behavior, and it’s being called out and examined and labeled as not-okay. That’s a good thing. Al Franken’s behavior is another example of unacceptable actions that were called out as such. Are either of these guys a Larry Nasser or a Harvey Weinstein? Of course not, but each of them are displaying facets of male behavior to women that is unacceptable.

        And yeah, Aziz has been publicly revealed to be gross. That’s the price he pays, to have people think he’s gross and a hypocrite. It’s not going to ruin his career. He’s just an example. And talking about it and calling it unacceptable helps. It helps to say out loud, these things are not okay and will not be tolerated. So hey, all men, stop acting like this. That’s the point.

      • Kate January 20, 2018, 4:30 pm

        And yes, it’s pretty much all up for discussion.

      • Kate January 20, 2018, 4:37 pm

        Actually you know what? *I* think it’s gross. I’ve never had a guy act like that on a date. But maybe the general opinion will be that, eh, it’s fine, his behavior was acceptable. And if so, cool, we had a discussion and we came to a general consensus on what’s okay and what’s not. But who is anyone to say what should and shouldn’t even be discussed, and who should and shouldn’t be believed? It’s all absolutely a valid discussion.

      • keyblade January 22, 2018, 10:31 am


        I felt disgusted reading this account. If any women I knew had told me directly that this had occurred on a date, I would validate her feelings of terrible discomfort and anger at this “woke” celebrity. He behaved like a pig.

  • SailBobo January 18, 2018, 5:29 pm

    I find the whole power imbalance thing interesting, in a Buddhist context … (lol) … In Buddhism, two things make us do what we might not want to do – fear is what pushes us off of the path, desire is what pulls us off. It sounds like many women fear offending people, but she also had desire pulling her – the desire two hang out with a celebrity.

    Power dynamic falls into both categories. Women might fear losing their jobs, etc., but they also have the upper hand on the desire side (maybe someone will tell me that women don’t use desirability to their advantage). Women generally regulate sexual activity, at least in the early parts of the relationship. In the latter stages whoever has the lowest sex drive has a certain amount of power.

    All in all, an interesting lesson in gender dynamics, but yes, not sexual assult.

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    Copa January 18, 2018, 8:55 pm

    Anyone else see this? Journalist Ashleigh Banfield went on air and I guess basically said, “I’m sorry you had a bad date, but this was not assault” and invited the Babe author, Katie Way, to come on her show. Katie Way responds to say no in the pettiest way possible, attacking Banfield’s age and appearance. I cringed reading the full text of it — it’s really something else. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/aziz-ansari-latest-babe-cnn-ashley-banfield-attack-katie-way-age-appearance-video-a8166931.html

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    • Kate January 18, 2018, 9:00 pm

      Jesus, that’s even grosser than the original article, if that’s possible. What a dumb twat.

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      Copa January 18, 2018, 9:10 pm

      Nothing says “I’m a feminist and journalist with integrity” like attacking someone’s age, hair, and choice of lipstick, right!? Curious to see if she’ll be out of a job soon.

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      • MissD January 19, 2018, 6:46 am

        I read that Babe is run by 20-year-olds so… out of a job? Probably not?

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        Copa January 19, 2018, 12:06 pm

        It’s hard to believe that the person who wrote that e-mail to HLN is a writer by trade — it wasn’t even a well-written attack! She went to a great journalism school, which came as a bit of a shocker.

        Anyway, I’ve looked into babe a little bit after seeing this last night. They hold themselves out as being an online publication for “girls who don’t give a f*ck,” and a job opening they had open a few months ago repeatedly misused the word “which” and indicated that the target audiences is “girls” ages 18-24. So I’m thinking that she probably won’t have to face the consequences of her actions, at least not by her employer, but wonder if she’s laying the groundwork an uphill battle if/when she wants to work somewhere more reputable than babe.

        I’ve been reading how Katie Way has responded to critics, and it’s incredibly immature. It’s like she wrote a big-girl article, didn’t approach it in the best way, and now doesn’t want to deal with criticism or the big-girl consequences. Her response is to name-call and act dismissive (I’ve read several quotes where she’s referred to things/people’s opinions on what she wrote as “f*cking stupid”).

        I don’t think I was a particularly mature 22-year-old, but *never* would’ve been this immature and thoughtless, particularly not when representing myself in my professional capacity.

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      Dear Wendy January 19, 2018, 6:09 am

      Utterly disgusting.

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      Lianne January 19, 2018, 11:18 am

      Wow. What an immature, thoughtless response. If she really felt compelled to defend Grace’s honor, she would have appeared on the show and spoke eloquently and intelligently. Instead, she cut another woman down in the most anti-feminist way possible. I am disgusted.

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  • shakeourtree January 19, 2018, 11:22 am

    I feel like I’ve been in similar scenarios before. I wouldn’t call it sexual assault, but in my case at least, I think my history with sexual assault lead to more of these types of uncomfortable situations than I ‘d care to admit. In my teens and early 20s, I was repeatedly coerced into sex (and worse) by someone I trusted. Once I got out of that situation, I still had trouble saying no. I think I thought that it was better to give in than to say no and find out that he didn’t care and wasn’t going to listen to me anyway. I think that element is missing from the conversation when people say things like, “Why didn’t she just leave?”, or “Why didn’t she say no?” I know that it took lots of therapy for me to feel safe and confident enough to say no without hesitation, and I know this is also an issue for some of my friends with their own histories of molestation and/or rape.
    I think we really need to be teaching children from a young age that sex should be a mutually satisfying interaction between two people rather than a conquest or something you take from someone else. I just don’t get how people can enjoy sex with someone who clearly isn’t into it.

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