If you’ve been on the internet at all in the past year, you’re probably at least somewhat aware of the #metoo movement. If not, I’ll clarify a bit: It’s a powerful, and much-needed wave of women speaking up finally, about sexual misconduct they have been the victim of for ages. It’s been quite a big deal, especially in the entertainment industry because it’s resulted in not only calling out powerful/wealthy men who’ve gotten away with being predators for ages, but it’s also empowered the everyday woman to speak up about experiences they had learned to keep quiet about, and accepted as normal behavior by the men in their lives. From a boss or colleague at work to a close friend or even a Tinder date; almost every woman has experienced some form of sexual harassment or abuse. So now that they are seeing such “untouchable” names as Weinstein and Spacey losing their entire careers over behavior they’ve gotten away with for far too long, it’s pushing these women to raise their voice about the men in their lives who’ve hurt them. And the goal of all this is to change the record. Change how men perceive certain actions and be better, and to punish those who have damaged lives for their own selfish needs.
That said, a recent article posted by feminist site Babe(seriously, that’s their site name, ugh) aimed to throw another popular entertainment figure under the bus. This time it’s popular middle eastern actor/comedian Aziz Ansari. He got his big start on a TV show and has gone on to publish best selling novels, perform hit stand up specials and produce his own show on Netflix. His name coming up in this wave of allegations was disappointing to say the least because he has been a very outspoken advocate for the fair treatment of women. His book was about the troubles of modern dating, and his show often covers topics concerning unfairness women experience in various ways. So for him to be one of the very predators he stands against, was a shock! It meant any one of our beloved knights in shining armor could be a sexual deviant in disguise! But alas… it may not be so black and white.
The article was titled “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It turned into the worst night of my life“, so naturally, myself and plenty others read on. We wanted to see what horrible thing this celebrity did to some innocent woman. The long story is told by an anonymous woman, who went on a date with Azis in 2017, after having a fangirl moment with him at the Emmy’s. Long story short; they got to dinner, he rushes through it as he’s in a hurry to get her back to his nice New York apt. Once there, he puts the moves on heavy. The article goes into painful detail about an evening of back n forth between the two of them, who according to her description of events and words used, were very much on different pages. Their sexual activities were off and on, all over his apt. From the kitchen to the bedroom, to the couch, etc. At one point she finally verbally conveys to him that this is moving too fast, and she wants to just chill and not rush into anything. He agrees, and they take a seat. According to her recount of events, he then asked for oral sex and she obliged. She eventually stopped doing that, more banter occurred, and she left in an Uber he called for her and proceeded to cry in it the whole ride home. The next day he texted her, thanking her for a fun night, to which she replied that it was one-sided fun and she was not happy with how things went down. He was confused.
And so are we, the reader. Because by the end of the long article you realize this wasn’t so much a story of an innocent woman who suffered at the hands of yet another celebrity predator, but instead more so the story of a woman who went on a bad date. A woman who was probably very disappointed that Azis didn’t turn out to be the charming, funny sweetheart he is on screen. This doesn’t exactly align with the purpose of the #metoo or #timesup movement. But it still got a lot of feminists and Azis fans worked up, nonetheless. There are talks of this potentially ruining his career, or at least tarnishing it for a while. A lot of people are denouncing him, but fortunately, a lot of people are also defending him. Because while Azis definitely was aggressive, and pushy, and selfish… he did still respond to her push back and hesitation. Albeit briefly, before he tried again, but the fact remains; she had every opportunity to remove herself from the situation, or put a firm foot down at least and try to change the course of the night. She could have pushed him away when he started going down on her in the kitchen. She could have said “wtf dude, I just said I want to chill!” when he motioned for her to go down on him. But she continued to engage in these acts with him until finally it was just too awkward and she had to leave.
Now don’t get it twisted; this does not equate to victim blaming. “If you didn’t want to have sex you shouldn’t have gotten so drunk” and “If you don’t want to get harassed you shouldn’t show so much cleavage” are not the same as “If you didn’t want to fool around you shouldn’t have repeatedly agreed to fool around”. While a woman is NEVER to blame for a sexual act done against her will or during a time she is not fit to provide consent, there is a degree of responsibility when you are alone with a man, undressed, and agreeing to sexual acts here and there. It’s common sense, right? Azis didn’t portray common sense himself when he ignored or just missed all of her non-verbal cues. But he’s also not a mind reader, so there’s that. The purpose of this whole movement is to get men to stop being abusive, entitled, selfish, and all around just start being more intelligent about what’s right and wrong. It’s also to empower women to be better at communicating verbally what they want and don’t want. The purpose is not to publically shame a guy who is guilty of no more than being a typical horny douche bag celebrity who took a cute fan home. (Oh, and he’s probably watched a bit too much porn as he seems to think women want fingers shoved down their throat on the first date, but I digress) So to make this a national headline associated with #metoo is to discredit movement itself. The original article/story is ultimately almost useless in this particular discussion. His career may be damaged over what amounts to a bad date, so I feel bad for Azis. But also, he needs to slow his roll a bit next time.