Everybody’s weighing in on Aziz Ansari with their opinions! So I’m going to weigh in on Aziz Ansari and say that MY OPINION is that everyone should stop fucking weighing in on Aziz Ansari with their fucking opinions.
IMHO, the rush to declare that Aziz Ansari is “cancelled” is the vilest impulse of callout culture and does absolutely nothing to address the larger issue, the overarching theme of 2018 which is that Consent and the concepts surrounding Consent need to be addressed. Seriously. If you read the babe piece and your only thought was “Damn, Aziz Ansari is a jerk!” then I regret to inform you that 2017 called, and you missed the point. What’s the use of printing gossip about this guy or that guy who leads up a beloved Netflix series and turns out to be a notorious sex pest if we don’t put this in its proper place in The Larger Picture? It’s not about Aziz Ansari — he may be a creep or may not be a creep (probably a creep, yah) but the POINT IS that there’s a shitload of guys out there who have done this and think nothing of it, may even think their repeated attempts to place their dates’ hands on their dicks is CHARMING and FLIRTY, and the point of outing this story is to show that IT IS NOT.
Similarly, there is a rush to opine about “Grace,” the anonymous woman who came forward with the story. Asshole columnists are tripping over themselves, foaming at the mouth to condemn her for being at fault. For…going to his apartment? For….going on a date with him in the first place? For…not clearly communicating her discomfort? The absolutely ridiculous unintended side-effect of the legion of allegations coming out against powerful men is that, instead of trying to wrk out constructive solutions, the general public have invested their time in creating a kind of Rape Rubric, a scoring system for victimization. “Okay, five points for being penetrated against your will, but you were unconscious from drinking so you lose 7 points, but you told the police the very next day, so you gain back five points for a total net 8 rape points which unfortunately falls below the minimum requirement of TEN POINTS for LEGITIMATE RAPE, so I’m afraid you weren’t ACTUALLY violated. SORRY!” If we spent as much time trying to figure out HOW TO STOP THIS SHIT FROM HAPPENING as we did trying to wrap our head around whether being forced to watch your boss jerk off in front of you is worse than being coerced into a shoulder massage by your bathrobe-clad potential employer, then maybe — maybe — maaaaaaaaaaybe it would STOP HAPPENING EVERY FUCKING DAY? Just a thought.
Now, look. There are some people out there who are trying to find something in this whole mess to latch on to. A teachable moment. Some of it really needs to be said. Jill Filipovic, for The Guardian:
Which sounds like a great idea! Until you consider all the women who are murdered for saying “no.” Hmm, maybe we shouldn’t blame women for being afraid to say no, if the likely consequence is immediate violent death? So you think her rebuffs of his advances were too subtle. What choice did she have?
And we aren’t getting any benefit from waffly, “both-sides” pieces that basically shame both parties for not “knowing better.” Him for not recognizing her discomfort, her for putting herself in that situation. He can learn to read human beings’ body language (a hand brusquely removed from your dick is a pretty clear signal) but what is she supposed to do? Never go on another date with a living human man ever again? Because there’s a chance this could always happen? In the eyes of the Caitlin Flanagans of the world, “Grace” was asking to be violated from the second she stepped into his apartment. “She should’ve known better!” Every man is a Shrodinger’s Rapist: to be trusted implicitly because #NotAllMen are “bad guys,” until the minute he hurts you, at which point you obviously should have known better!
So that’s my non-opinion about Aziz Ansari. Personally, I could care less if he’s a jerk. Hollywood is full of jerks. Tinder is full of jerks. Brooklyn is chock-a-block with jerks. Naming and shaming them doesn’t seem to be helping, neither does shaming their victims. And we’re wasting our valuable talents as clever, intelligent adults trying to force this situation through the Sexual Harassment Algorithm to see if it qualifies as assault. What we should be doing is taking it at face value and asking ourselves not whether it’s “really so bad,” but rather, HOW TO MAKE IT STOP.