Aziz Ansari, Or Anyone Else, Doesn't Have To Be A Mind Reader To See Non-Verbal Cues And Stop

Aziz Ansari, Or Anyone Else, Doesn't Have To Be A Mind Reader To See Non-Verbal Cues And Stop

Earlier this week, Babe.net released a story of a woman going on a date with Aziz Ansari which “turned into the worst night of [her] life”. The article rehashes a young photographer meeting the comedian and author of Modern Romance at the 2017 Emmy Awards Party and then later going on a date with said comedian which turned into a night of alleged sexual assault.

I have to say the words “alleged” so we don’t get sued with a libel suit. However, if you read the piece where Ansari is described to behave in manners such as: “Halfway into the encounter, he led her from the couch to a different part of his apartment. He said he had to show her something. Then he brought her to a large mirror, bent her over and asked her again, “Where do you want me to fuck you? Do you want me to fuck you right here?” He rammed his penis against her ass while he said it, pantomiming intercourse”, it’s hard to see it as anything else as the victim expressed the need to “chill” to Ansari and that this was going too fast.

Unlike Lena Dunham, or Bari Weiss who wrote an op-ed for The New York Times stating this story was the worse thing to happen to the #metoo movement as this is “female helplessness”, I don’t plan on thinking this photographer – or any other woman is making any claims of sexual violence for the fun of it, or doesn’t ‘understand’ what rape is.

However, what’s happened in the past 48 hours is a large group of people – and women – are coming to Ansari’s aid. Stating shit like:

“Well, if she was uncomfortable, why didn’t she leave?” or “Why is she anonymous but he’s not” and “She just wanted to be with someone famous”. Even a classic: “If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you” in where men clearly are unable to master any control over their buddy and therefore unaccountable for their actions. Someone even direct messaged me on Instagram stating, “If he released this story, it would be revenge porn”. Thank god, all those people have XXY Magazine to set them right.

Just as I stated on my Instagram story last night: This is not revenge porn at all. Revenge porn is when you release a photo or of that effect without the other persons permission. It is explained in the piece about anonymity – he’s a public figure – she is not – she would get rip to shreds by his followers and her privacy would then affect everything from where she lives to works – as it does for many women who remain quiet.

Frankly, those who are coming to shield the man who wears a #TimesUp badge because gets accolades for being “woke” and an example of how to be an ally to feminism, and even go on to say “he’s not a mind reader“: you’ve all missed the point. The point isn’t that she didn’t leave (as many PEOPLE, not just women don’t in uncomfortable situations), the point isn’t that she wasn’t raped but the fact that he knew she was uncomfortable and kept pressing. There is nuance in rape culture. It may have been consent but in those situations it is always blatant when someone doesn’t want to. Just because someone doesn’t utter the words no out loud (and she did tell him to chill out) doesn’t mean it’s not a no.

The fact that she was attracted to him and he was famous thus meaning she must be a gold digger is a reductive argument – when you meet someone charming who happens to be in the limelight but is also known for making sets about essentially being kind to women, naturally you don’t expect to be violated and for your non-verbal cues to be ignored. He uses feminism and female power as a way to level up his career and then behaves like this.

The problem is this man is being compared to the accused rapists during #metoo. The problem is that we don’t see rape or even evil as on a spectrum. You’re either good or bad or rape itself is only rape when it is non-consensual penetration. Rape culture thrives off men behaving however they wish to before being found guilty for rape. From cat-calling to not being able to move away from a person to someone moving things at a pace in which you do not feel comfortable, as Babe.net retold it: ” “Where do you want me to fuck you?” while she was still seated on the counter top. She says she found the question tough to answer because she says she didn’t want to fuck him at all.

“I wasn’t really even thinking of that, I didn’t want to be engaged in that with him. But he kept asking, so I said, ‘Next time.’ And he goes, ‘Oh, you mean second date?’ and I go, ‘Oh, yeah, sure,’ and he goes, ‘Well, if I poured you another glass of wine now, would it count as our second date?’” He then poured her a glass and handed it to her. She excused herself to the bathroom soon after.” “

But the most apparent issue is that we STILL are asking questions about her actions and not his and people still defend it. You know when someone doesn’t want it – everyone knows – the problem is men have been taught by society to go and get everything they want- by the pussy no less – and everything is theirs to own. Women are there to be silent prizes.

The problem is that we are defending the wrong side of injustices that happen everyday. Whether it’s diminishing someone’s experience because it does not ‘certify as rape’ to direct messaging me on Instagram stating you don’t see why it’s news or a big deal. Wake up. It’s a big deal.

P.S For the women (of colour) who are claiming this is a way for a “good” man from the PoC community to be brought down by whiteness. You are digging yourself a hole which is irrelevant. Let’s not claim things for the sake of keeping people of colour represented on the big screen. This is not the kind of representation we need.

Written by Tahmina Begum,

Editor-in-Chief

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