The Conversation I Wish We Had After Aziz Ansari
02.12.18

One night in September 2017, a woman we know as “Grace” went on a date with actor and writer Aziz Ansari. The evening has been rehashed and disputed many times over since it took place; now, in the quiet that follows, what can we say we’ve learned? What we know for certain is that if Ansari weren’t famous, if Babe.net hadn’t gone after Grace’s story, and if we weren’t living through the public reckoning that is the #MeToo movement, this simply would have been another bad date in the litany of bad dates women have endured for years, with Grace’s pleasure disregarded and consent assumed due to the fact that she agreed to the date and let him pay.

“Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab,” wrote Caitlin Flanagan for The Atlantic, whose “hot take” — though it’s one I fundamentally disagree with — illustrates an opinion shared by many, which is that #MeToo has now crossed the threshold into hysteria, with women equating Ansari’s aggressive sexual overtures with the repeated, systemic, and career-destroying sexual assaults perpetrated by people like Harvey Weinstein. The argument was a red herring that pulled many into a semantic argument. As Samantha Bee put it: “We know the difference between a rapist, a workplace harasser and an Aziz Ansari, but that doesn’t mean we have to be happy about any of them.”

So the conversation following Babe.net’s story, which could have centered on the nuances of consent, became a debate about what does and doesn’t constitute a sexual crime. But there are other parts of this worth digging into, like the intricacies of gender power dynamics, the unbalanced ways we teach and talk about pleasure and consent, the experiences — from confusing to dehumanizing to traumatizing — we’ve tucked away as a result of our sexually illiterate culture, and our collective language that defines “bad sex” for men as “sex in which my orgasm did not arrive at the proper time or with the most pleasing velocity.” “Bad sex” for women, meanwhile, is defined as sex that ranges from an indifferent partner to one who systematically hacks away at their defenses until they’re too exhausted to do anything but submit.

The #MeToo movement was founded by Tarana Burke to empower and give voice to the survivors of sexual crimes. Thankfully, and unsurprisingly, it has incited a broader cultural conversation. That conversation has launched an overdue reckoning, one that means coming to grips not only with the terrifying pervasiveness of sexual assault, but also the kind of sex we have to steel ourselves through — the kind we’d never call assault but would also rather forget — and all the toxic mechanisms that make that kind of sex universal. In addition to discussing the legal trespassing of our bodies, we are also now addressing the emotional trespassing — what Rebecca Traister defined as “a vast expanse of bad sex — joyless, exploitative encounters that reflect a persistently sexist culture and can be hard to acknowledge without sounding prudish,” sex that leaves young women “wondering why they feel so fucked by fucking.”

But as the counterproductive noise following Grace’s story has proven, now is the moment we need to ask: what is the best way to talk about bad sex?

Don’t Call it a “Gray Area”

Our need to create some sort of “continuum of trauma” is understandable — giving a thing a name is one of the ways we try to understand our world — but our fumbling attempts to “grade” sexual assault could actually be contributing to the problem.

“I think it is incredibly important to keep the idea of what we’re talking about broad,” says Gina Scaramella, executive director of the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC). “Calling [Ansari’s reported behavior] a ‘gray area’ minimizes it, rather than calling it what it is: manipulative, coercive and aggressive.”

Our tendency to play down sexually coercive behavior contributes to a culture in which survivors end up shouldering the blame. “So many of the people who call our hotline feel the need to apologize,” Scaramella says, “to say that what they experienced wasn’t that bad. Survivors feel like they didn’t do enough, weren’t smart enough, that because what they went through wasn’t ‘rape’ as they understand it, they should have been able to fight back. This language just serves the status quo, and it is a mask for problematic behavior that needs to get addressed if we want to develop a better understanding of sexual dynamics.”

Consent Is Complicated

That said, when it comes to consent specifically, acknowledging supposed “gray areas” — or, better put, the spectrum across which unwanted sexual behavior exists — might help the law catch up. Sexual assault laws vary from state to state. The most progressive, like the “Yes Means Yes” law in California, look for “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity,” while in Mississippi, a claim of sexual battery requires proof that the perpetrator was intending to rape; indeed “rape” itself is still defined as the intent to “forcibly ravish any female of previously chaste character.” Jeannie Suk Gersen, the John H. Watson Jr. professor of law at Harvard Law School, says consent is becoming more of a touchstone in legal assessments: “The idea that someone needs to be physically forced has been de-emphasized when considering whether [an encounter] was an assault,” she says.

Using consent (as opposed to force) as the litmus test is certainly a more nuanced way of looking at sexual assault; it isn’t, however, necessarily more straightforward.

“What the courts are grappling with now is how we define consent,” says Gersen. “Some of those definitions are veering toward the idea that someone has to say or indicate ‘no,’ and others veer more toward a positive agreement, which could be verbal or nonverbal. Some statutes for college campuses require verbal consent given at every stage, but even that is difficult to resolve. Does one kiss count? The second kiss? Touching an arm?”

Subjectivity complicates matters further: What is coercive to one party may have seemed consensual to the other. “The internal feeling of coercion may not actually mean that the other person is trying to coerce,” says Gersen, “especially in cases where there is an imbalance of power. The law recognizes that two people can have very different subjective experiences, so the debate becomes whose subjectivity to recognize.” And while this is blisteringly difficult to negotiate, it is necessary — anyone who cares about due process understands that intention has to matter in a court of law. “If you hit someone with your car,” says Gersen, “it matters to our legal system if you intended to kill or if you were just being negligent. And it should.”

But the legal system is not currently designed to empower victims of sexual assault, nor is it entirely reliable. According to RAINN, six out of 100 rape cases will result in jail time. “It’s a false narrative, this idea that if it was ‘real’ rape, serious and forcible, then it will be punished,” says Scaramella. “Even if you have physical evidence and the victim is the ‘perfect’ victim and the offender is the ‘perfect’ offender, these cases rarely result in a conviction.”

The More Conversation, the Better

What the pundits and critics who rail against the excesses of the #MeToo movement don’t seem to realize is that when it comes to issues of sexual consent, any conversation is good conversation. BARCC has reported a 34% increase in hotline volume, an indication that more individuals are comfortable coming forward. “Our job is to say [all claims of assault] are worthy,” says Scaramella. “It’s all part of the same risk areas, areas of social change and social norms that need to get addressed, advancements around equality that need to get talked about.”

Gersen agrees. “What we’ve got now is the perfect storm of controversy on a really, really important social issue that we need to get more savvy about. The tools are there for us to put something together that reflects our social conscience about what is proper and fair — it’s just a matter of us working it out. It’s going to be a painful process, but it is a process.”

The Value of Talking About Bad Sex

When I think about “bad sex,” I think about the five years I spent single in New York, the men I met and went home with. I think about the moments I realized that our expectations of the night had diverged and that the effort required to extract myself seemed exhausting, risking violence at worst, annoyance at best. Allowing the act to take place would be easier, making whatever noises and contortions would get him off fastest. It’s a strange kind of detachment, unsettling and sad, to look up at a man and realize he has no idea you’re there. It was sex that looked nothing like what I wanted, but I didn’t know how to ask for what I did want or how to say no. It is not an experience I would wish on anyone, and yet it was what I came to think of as ordinary.

Sure, sexual violence may not be eliminated by a more nuanced and open conversation around consent, power and pleasure, but that doesn’t mean the conversation isn’t critically important. There’s no reason to wait for more Graces to tell their stories or more famous men to fall. This conversation is long overdue. As Emma Gray wrote in The Huffington Post, “[Bad sex] is a kind of sex that is not only worth talking about, but necessary to talk about. Behavior need not fall under the legal definition of sexual assault or rape to be wrong or violating or upsetting. And when nearly every woman I’ve spoken to about the Aziz Ansari story follows up our conversation with a similar story of her own, it’s worth thinking about why that is.”

Collages by Louisiana Mei Gelpi. Photos by Fairfax Media via Getty Images

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  • Adrianna

    I think back to the text screenshots, where Aziz seemed genuinely surprised by Grace’s perspective and trauma. I’ve had similar nights, and similar experiences where the guy had no idea that he was crossing a line. Once, I was physically restrained by the arms while I kneed him in the groin. The guy thought we were doing what we were supposed to do – women are hard to get, and men have to “break them down.”

    One thing I’ve learned through my early twenties (Grace’s age) is that people really can’t read my mind or infer solely on nonverbal cues – in the workplace, in one night stands, in relationships. I constantly asked myself, ‘Why didn’t they just know to do/not do that?’ We’re angry when someone doesn’t just know to do something (‘Why didn’t she call a cab’,’why isn’t he having feminist sex?’), but we don’t talk about any of this.

    • Kattigans

      Once, I was physically restrained by the arms while I repeatedly kneed him in the groin. He thought we were doing what we were supposed to do – women are hard to get, and men have to “break them down” until they stop saying no. –> This sounds like assault and that is extremely sad and problematic.

      • Adrianna

        It was. We were 17, 11 years ago. I didn’t really know what to do, I didn’t want to deal with it, so I ghosted him after four years of friendship. Everyone called me a bitch.

  • Amanda

    “It’s a strange kind of detachment, unsettling and sad, to look up at a man and realize he has no idea you’re there” This is my favorite line from this piece; it resonates with me so intensely in the saddest way.

    • EmKay

      I has such a pang in my chest when I read that line. It is so real, and so familiar.

  • ytho

    This implies that women are supposed to be treated like children and have someone else decide for them. An adult woman, in a similar situation, should be able to simply say “I’m gonna go home” when she feels uncomfortable and leave, and not rely on others to understand her non-verbal clues. #imgonnagohome

    • ladybirda

      Where in the story does she suggest that someone else should decide for her? Your comment also ignores the way that women are socialized to be pleasing/inoffensive to men, coupled with sexual inexperience, leads many young women to find themselves in situations where the best course of action is not as obvious as it might seem. 2nd wave feminists can call BS all they want, but it’s time for men to start altering their behavior and learn to pay attention to the needs and boundaries of others. True equality means that men need to start doing some of the emotional labor in relationships.

      • ytho

        She doesn’t suggest it but its implicit. I don’t know about men’s emotional labor but that whole Aziz story is ridiculous. They are sending flirty texts for a
        week, are going out on a date, she goes home with him – oh no, he wants
        sex, who could have expected that! But fine – if she had left at
        that point and complained he was crass – fair enough. She doesn’t though
        – she gives him a blowjob twice (a slightly mixed non-verbal message), lets him go down on her and afterwards complains that he didn’t pick
        up on her non-verbal communication.

        • D

          My thoughts exactly, ytho. I’m concerned that an entire generation is waiting to be victimized instead of embracing and asserting the agency that comes with equality. If the end goal/expectation is for partners to read our minds, we will fail.

          • Teresa Gentry

            Just one thing. He wasn’t a partner. He was little more than a stranger, a possible hook up in a hook up culture. I don’t believe partnerships or relationships follow in a hook up culture. Deals maybe.

          • Carolina

            I also need to mention something that I had not really thought of before reflecting on this whole debate, which is that she did give many verbal and non-verbal cues and we all understand these. And no, they may not have been as clear as saying “stop that” but we are all fully aware in the English language that saying “I think I may have plans that day; wish I could” when someone asks you to dinner is a no.

            A: Uh if you’d care to come and visit a little while this

            morning I’ll give you a cup of coffee.

            B: hehh Well that’s awfully sweet of you, I don’t think I can

            make it this morning. .hh uhm I’m running an ad in the

            paper and-and uh I have to stay near the phone.

            (Atkinson and Drew, 1979: 58).

            It is just built in to how we speak to one another and to accept it in some situations, but then to say you find yourself completely unable to discern what someone really means in others is disingenuous.

            https://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/mythcommunication-its-not-that-they-dont-understand-they-just-dont-like-the-answer/

        • Teresa Gentry

          Twice! Yikes!!

      • Roxana Tutunariu

        It’s time for men to start altering their behavior about lots of stuff; it’s time women altered their behavior; it’s time we stop being racists and it’s time life started being fair. Well….tough luck, it’s not. Since when are we considering women to be snowflakes again?

        Grace is an adult; she should have been able to actually decide what she wanted, say it loudly, and walk away. I’m sure that in a tense day to day situation she would have stood up for herself. If not…..she is probably solving all the tasks of the boss, coworkers, mailman and water guy.

        I’m not saying what he did is nice, but going to his home and then saying “I’m not sure this is a good idea” is not “get the hell off me. I’m going home now”. It’s ok to talk openly about this; he and other men SHOULD get feedback that the behavior crossed a line, so that hopefully they don’t repeat it. But I really think this was not a life changing, career ruining event. I think this experience should be a LEARNING experience for both, on how to be adults.

      • Jim S

        This is a load of bs, that women are socialized to give non-verbal cues rather than say no. First of all Abby Nierman did say no to intercourse, clearly and verbally, and Aziz called her an Uber. If she was not socialized or afraid to say no to intercourse, how is it credible that she was sociized or afraid to say no to foreplay? This is the greatest BS of all arguments that defend Abby.

        • ladybirda

          You’ve been up and down this page on everyone’s comments but I’m only going to respond to your comment on mine. I’m not defending “Grace” specifically at all, I think the way the Babe article was handled was sloppy, and I don’t think Aziz’s actions constitute assault. But I think that to insist that there aren’t many layers of power dynamics in a given sexual hookups is disingenuous at best. When you have a large age/experience difference, coupled with one person being famous/powerful, and a culture in which men are socialized to be sexually and physically dominant and women to be submissive and pleasing, well you’ve got a potentially toxic cocktail. Of course she could have just left, and eventually she did. He also could have freakin noticed that she didn’t like being fish hooked. Men should care if the person they are sexually engaged with is comfortable and enjoying themselves. Maybe you think that’s unrealistic, but I think that’s human.

          • Jim S

            All of us have been up and down this thread, not just I.
            With regards to the lower dynamic, she sought him, and she did so specifically because of his celebrity (i.e. power). She wanted this power dynamic, she didn’t pluck average Joe from the street. She new he was older, and that didn’t play a role. He did not use force on her, that didn’t play a role. I keep hearing this nonsense of how we are socialized. How, when all guys are different and girls are different, there is such a spectrum of behaviours each couple has a unique dynamic. Do you know how many women are not submissive and pleasing. Your are infantilizing women much more so than the real norm.

            Yes, he could have noticed but didn’t. Yes, she could have been explicit but didn’t. When both made errors on what they should have done, this happens. They should help each other avoid errors rather than expect the other to have sole responsibility to avoid error. Just talk to each other, that’s all it takes. And if both fail to talk to each other, they both own it. It’s that simple.

          • ladybirda

            Man, at this point I have to say I think you are being deliberately obtuse. People have tried to explain to you, with nuance, a spectrum of human experience and you want to hand-wave it away as nonsense. No one is arguing that Aziz was solely to blame here, obviously she bears responsibility for her actions and her failure to communicate clearly. What people, myself included, are arguing is that there are many reasons why she may have chosen not to do so, many of which are a result of a toxic dating culture that predates either of the individuals involved. Women aren’t being infantilized, if anything, we are expecting men to grow up and no longer be able to hide behind this façade of being lovable yet ignorant buffoons who can’t even be bothered to read other people’s body language (because it doesn’t impact their safety to be able to, I might add). It’s a form of misogyny that burdens women with performing all of the emotional labor. It’s laziness.

          • Jim S

            You keep pivoting. First you say it’s both their faults (my position), but then you go to great lengths to say how it’s the man’s fault. Make up your bloody mind.

            We should expect both the man and woman to behave like an adult, period. If either of the behaved like adults, this wouldn’t have happened.

            You are basically saying the onus on consent falls on the man’s ability to read body language. And you think the success rate of that should be 100% on first dates when every woman will project consent in her own unique way. If this is the way you think, this is the problem.

          • ladybirda

            Nope. You’re putting words in my mouth to create a straw man to argue with, which is kind of ironically fitting. You argued that we are treating women like children with no voices, which implies that the burden should be solely on her to speak up, which in my opinion is treating men like small children who have yet to learn empathy or how to read body language. In this particular instance, I think both actors could have done better. But in a broader, cultural sense, I am saying that I can see no downside to men ramping up their efforts to be present to the humans they are seeking to penetrate. But please, do educate me about how toxic masculinity is a myth, man who must have the last word with every woman on this thread. Later, Jim.

          • Jim S

            This is the strongest argument you have made so far. Yes we have to read body language better. Yes. I agree with you. But it is not foolproof and subject to an honest mistake. Surely you must know this. But we need you to be our safety net in case we miss. I never said men don’t need to change, we should do better…we must do better. I recognize this. Bit per your own admission above, both characters could have done better, implying she could have done better as well. All I am saying is there is room for improving on both sides, not just the men’s.

            So no, the burden is not on the women alone to speak up. It is a shared burden. If we say the burden is only on one and not the other, this is a societal failure.

        • Haley Nahman

          This comment has been moderated.

          • Jim S

            For what, using Grace’s real name? It has been in the public domain for more than a month and she is not protected by shield laws. She inserted the story into the piblic domain. While babe is obligated tonprotect their source, the public is under no such obligation. Then also delete any comment that has Aziz’s name in it to if we can’t use any names.

      • Kattigans

        I can wholly agree with your comment, but I don’t think the Babe story did a good job at representing that. If that was their end goal, I think it would have been better to have kept her and him anonymous. I do think there’s a place for this experience in conversation. How women feel like we owe men something sexually, how elusive consent can feel, how strange it is we sometimes lose our confident voices in sexual situations, how complex sex is emotionally even when we go in with different expectations … all of those issues deserve a platform in the feminist discussion. I can relate. And it’s problematic, but I’m just not sure this story is the one that I think does that conversation justice. Or does a good job at articulating those experiences given Grace’s own behavior and choices.

        • Kattigans

          Might I also add, the dating world can be just as confusing for men. Not giving any man a hard pass on their actions or lack thereof but I have guy friends who’ve been told by girls that they lost interest because my guy friend wasn’t aggressive enough. Its confusing when society pressures men into proving their manhood by having sex and being the “aggressors” and then when they don’t act that way or even when they do (and not of course by being violent and violating) they are punished. This is why of course its just really a hard, and not a one side issue, to talk about.

          • Frenchmochi

            Just wanted to say it’s a pleasure to read your thoughtful and nuanced comments, on this subject but also on other MR articles.

            And on this particular point you’re raising, I feel these days masculinity is almost always represented as “toxic”, which may be fucking up the minds of certain young men. Masculinity is qualified of “toxic”, but then if a man isn’t considered to display enough “masculine” qualities such as success or strength then he’s “not a real man”. And men are decried as inherently violent, coarse and misogynistic by radical feminists but somehow 50 Shades of Grey has turned into one of the hugest best-sellers of our time. All this could be discussed in a whole other article, but do you get what I mean?

            Anyways, luckily the influence of the media on real life is not as strong as we think, and over here in France my straight guy friends, who have never needed to be schooled by articles about rape culture to behave like civilized people, are pretty chill about all this.

            It’s nice reading you, and I hope to find your voice on other posts!

          • Teresa Gentry

            I get what you mean.

          • Kattigans

            Thank you, I really appreciate that. We live in a really confusing time. Buzzfeed posted a piece objectifying men’s genitals at the Olympics but in the same swoop they’ll post a piece about Metoo. The media can seem like its on our “side” (reinforcing what we believe or want to believe – like with Time’s Metoo cover) but we have to remember to use our own brains and critical thinking. The media will go where the story is sometimes to our benefit but we cannot just be sheeple. And, I completely agree with the dichotomy of masculinity and the expectations put on boys and men. If I had a son, I would be scared for him too. Not because men need excuses made for their behavior but because I think we tend to over generalize the male experience. I feel like 3rd wave feminism has moved into such a radical sphere that it completely ignores very real issues that affect men and forgets that we are all victims of patriarchy, sexism and misogyny. Harvey Weinstein may be a sick individual and there are predators out there but to choose to see these men as nothing more than monsters and not recognize that this behavior (some of its perhaps mental disorder) is learned. Just like racism. These are socially constructed ideas and we all can fall victim to them. Not excusing anyone’s real crimes or saying this makes it okay, but fear does not create lasting peace.

            And yes, I completely get what you mean. We live in the world of tinder. You can swipe right on sex. This creates pressure, confusion, and a breakdown in the dating world. Women have been encouraged to embrace our sexuality but somewhere between slutwalks and talking about rape and assault we’ve not taught young women about how to assert themselves in the dating world and how to set boundaries from the get go. and its no one’s fault, but I hope, if anything, this Aziz story opens up that conversation for men and women – I know its done that for people I’ve talked to about it. I completely agree that these intersections of culture, social pressures, hyper sexual online world and media, and feminism should be discussed. Its very confusing.

          • Teresa Gentry

            Thanks for the lit referral.

        • Teresa Gentry

          Well said. I am sure that this story is not representative, nor doing a good job articulating anything but the ugly side of celebrity infatuation in a hook up culture.

        • ladybirda

          I agree that the Babe article was incredibly sloppy, and the choice to target Aziz struck me as unfair because he seemed genuinely concerned when “Grace” informed him about her feelings the following day. But I think it’s unleashed a needed conversation about communication and consent, especially in these days of swiping right. Kids in the Netherlands start sex/relationship education in Kindergarten, and they learn how to articulate their own feelings as well as respect others’ boundaries. We need something like that in the States, although in the current political climate and the Puritanical history of the US it’s unlikely.

          • Kattigans

            Couldn’t agree more! We’re on the same page 🙂

      • Teresa Gentry

        And women need to start dealing honestly with their sexual drives, desires, motives and/or lack thereof instead of giving fellatio to and accepting cunnilingus from a celebrity as the story of sexual assault. Carry a weapon if you sense or fear the possibility of nonconsensual intercourse. In fact, get busy teaching girls how and when to fight, physically. This women are socialized to…argument has no wings. Black people are socialized to defer to whites, to accept second class citizenship for centuries, generations. Even the Bible claims we are cursed, inferior! Are we, do we, have we? Likewise, have women succumbed completely to this socialization? I think not, I know not. Pass the mike!

        • ladybirda

          Carry a weapon? The problem with the “teach girls to fight” argument is that it puts the onus on women to not get attacked, or defend themselves from attack, rather than putting any burden on men to respect others’ bodily autonomy or humanity. And to be clear, I don’t think what Aziz did qualifies as assault. I do think it’s opened up a potentially helpful conversation about then need for clear communication in sex. And what the hell does pass the mike even mean? I’m not white, if that’s what you’re assuming.

          • Teresa Gentry

            Nope. I am going to defend myself come what may. Try me in court, not going to be assaulted, come what may!

    • Adrianna

      When I first read this, I immediately asked ‘why didn’t she just leave?’ Oh right, because she’s 22. I’m 29, and I have long since lost any sort of feeling of FOMO or guilt about leaving a social event or meeting I didn’t enjoy. It’s also easy to see a list of what happened that night and forget that Grace didn’t anticipate all of it. I got the vibe that Grace wasn’t sober and/or didn’t have all her facilities, which wasn’t made clear.

      It first became clear that this woman is inexperienced with people (I don’t mean that in a homeschooled in Montana way, I mean that most of us only see the world through our own perspective at that age) when she was baffled and offended at the dinner – ‘how could he not know that I want to pick my own wine and finish drinking?’ She didn’t say anything, and it was the first time she was submissive. Why?

      They go back to the apartment, and he repeatedly advances. Why? Honestly probably because she wasn’t clear through ‘nonverbal’ cues and put his dick in her mouth a couple of times. I’m not victim blaming, I’m pointing out that Aziz would not want to assume that this woman felt coerced. My own boyfriend of six years has had times where he thinks he’ll change my mind about having sex that morning or night if he’s repeatedly cute or sexy enough. Aziz thought he was being seductive. There’s so many tropes in entertainment where women submit if the man is aggressive enough. She continued to be submissive, and fumes in her head without saying anything. Why?

      I think the main point people are upset about is that so much about a women’s dating experience with men is having to be a gatekeeper and manage sexual advances. We’re taught that men are more sexual and, that women need to know how to handle them.

      I would argue this coincides with what we tell women about dating – ‘don’t text him first, that’s too aggressive. He’s supposed to pursue you.’

      • Kattigans

        To your last point- I totally agree. I’ve always had a hard time staying within the accepted bounds for how women are “supposed” to behave in dating. Just meaning that I do what I want. If I want to talk to a guy then I do and if I want to pursue someone then I do. I try not to be overly aggressive. Coming from that place, I find it really interesting when I’ve talked to friends of mine (especially those with more conservative upbringings) and the agony I see them in for feeling like they can’t express what they want or feel in dating. (My advice for them has always been “express what you want and know that this boy is just a human being too”) And in my opinion, it doesn’t have to be that way or it shouldn’t. But its also a hard line because women in dating do get a bad wrap – you have the fear of being seen as crazy or overly emotional. It’s really hard. The entire dialogue of how we talk about these things with our children will have to change. To change the idea of dating around the idea of “cause and effect” but more about mutual respect, communication, and both parties being active participants. But I also think human nature likes intrigue and mystery. We’re curious about what we can’t fully have which I guess partially comes with the thrill in the beginning of dating but at the same time there has to be a balance.

        • Adrianna

          It’s funny that you say “active participant” because I’ve literally used that phrase to describe my courtship with my boyfriend. Sure, I met him because he went up to me at a party, but I told him we should go out. (And I told him I wanted to see him again at the end of the dates.) He later told me he was grateful he didn’t have to guess if I was interested. Coincidently, or not so coincidently, I would go as far to say that sex was always the healthiest and easiest part of our relationship.

          I’m in NYC, so I interact with women who identify as liberal feminists. I’ve had girl friends admonish me for asking a guy out, that I’ll “scare him.” I’m sure I scared a couple, but they clearly weren’t for me. We still view heterosexual dating as set of decisions to make sure the man “respects” you.

          • Kattigans

            We still view heterosexual dating as set of decisions to make sure the man “respects” you. –> TOTALLY TRUE. And I hit on my bf, I thought he was cute and didn’t care if I looked silly. I was also drunk so maybe that helped and it all worked out. We even slept together the first night we met and with where I was in life, I didn’t have any expectations and I was okay with things being a one night stand. It was my choice and my security in the decision that also made me feel like an active participant and not like I was objectified in any way even if that’s what the outcome might have become (just two ppl hooking up and not really talking again). That’s why I also see Grace’s story as another example of a misalignment in expectations from what both parties wanted out of the date and a sexual interaction.

            3 years later and I’m still with my bf. And we were both pretty forthcoming with how we felt. I was a little shocked he wanted to keep seeing me after we slept together, but he says that he was glad to find out early on if we were sexually compatible. I’ve had bad sexual experiences, they’ve been awkward, they’ve been unfulfilling but I also think that does happen when you’re in your twenties and trying to figure it out. None of those guys were great lovers but they also were in their twenties too with little experience and probably not very many women telling them what they wanted so they could learn. It’s a pattern and we all have to drop the expectations that sex the first time with someone, unless you just have instant chemistry or are experienced, will be totally full of fireworks and they’ll just know to do everything we like and want. Not to dismiss the bad sexual experiences women do have where you feel like you don’t even exist and are just a vessel for someone else’s fantasy or needs – that’s important to discuss too.

    • Teresa Gentry

      True. Add second guessing to that buyers remorse attitude and that brings us closers to the truth. Why did she not? Important to know. What was her relationship goal? Hookup? Job? Notoriety? Curiosity about the other ethnicity? None at all just going with the flow? Who is teaching girls and boys about sex? It isn’t always pretty, does not always end happily and takes skill and practice and chutzpah to ‘master.’ Persons going with the flow will end up downstream.

  • stinevincent

    This piece expresses so much that I was feeling about Ansari but had merely been circling my brain, undefined. Thank you. It’s so important to be able to say, “X was coercive” or “manipulative,” even if it wasn’t legal assault. Something’s legal status neither excuses nor erases hurtful behavior.

    • Roxana Tutunariu

      Boo hoo. People in your life, “friends”, colleagues or bosses will never be coercive and/or manipulative. Let’s have a #metoo movement for these too

      You have to deal with all manipulators in your life, because you’re an adult.

      • EmKay

        Uhh…what? “People in your life” will never be coercive? Maybe yours aren’t, but that certainly doesn’t apply to everyone, or even the majority of people. There was nothing in her comment that suggested she wasn’t “dealing” with her manipulators.

        • Manipulation is a part of life. Advertisements are emotional coercion. Politicians emotionally coerce us to vote for them. Heck, even our dogs emotionally coerce us by constantly begging for food until we give in. We are coerced day in and day out for every day until we die. Spouses emotionally manipulate us, parents do it, and so do your friends. And so do you.

          We just have to deal with this ourselves, and not bring the law into it. We emotionally coerce others and are coerced in return. That’s life. It’s not anyone else’s problem but ours.

          • EmKay

            Yes, I was disputing her very confusing comment that “people in your live” “will never be coercive.” Key word: Never. Aziz’s date did not bring the law into it. She spoke about it because, free speech. To tie it back to the original commenter, “Something’s legal status neither excuses nor erases hurtful behavior.”

          • Then one should be prepared to permanently live life in a state of despair and hurt. Because we will be manipulated. Day in and day out. Anything else is wishful thinking. Now we have a choice. To resign ourselves to be miserable and depressed everyday. Or to accept emotional manipulation as a part of normal human behavior and take responsibility for our own actions and choices despite such attempts and manipulation, and stop whining about what we cannot change. We might as well lament over going to the loo.

            Which, in your opinion, is the better option?

          • EmKay

            You’re talking about an entirely different thing. Yes we will be “emotionally manipulated.” No, we don’t have to be coerced into doing things with our bodies that we don’t want to. The fact that you think that is normal human behavior is disturbing and telling. To answer your question, neither option, because i believe we can change this behavior. Just look at how spousal abuse was accepted a decade ago, and now it’s illegal and socially unacceptable. Social beliefs and behaviors can be changed.

          • For me, “coercion” in a negative sense has to imply a physical component. Either threat of physical violence (implicit or explicit), or actual violence. That’s why spousal abuse was a problem. And sexual harassment, rape etc.

            Without the physical component, coercion simply becomes emotional manipulation, doesn’t it? Or are you saying there is a difference between emotional coercion and emotional manipulation?

            And as I mentioned, emotional manipulation is morally neutral. It’s neither good, nor bad. Just like going to the loo.

          • EmKay

            I am talking about the VERY SPECIFIC topic at hand which is being sexual coercion. Yes, of course it involves a physical component, because women have no idea when an encounter with men will result in violence. We are threatened every day of our lives, so it is often easier and less scary to give in to sexual advances rather than turn men down and face their wrath. Aziz may not have laid a hand on her, but given the statistics of men on women violence, it is not outrageous that she may have been wary of it.

          • In all of Grace’s account, I have never once received the impression that she was even remotely concerned about physical violence. She even sort of abused him in the end saying “You men are all alike” or something to that effect. It’s not a behavior you would expect if she was afraid of physical abuse. Given that she was so open about her entire stream of consciousness during the episode, one would imagine that she would surely have mentioned the fear of physical violence if it had crossed her mind even as a passing thought.

            What makes you feel that in this particular case of Aziz, there were thoughts of physical violence swirling around in her head?

            As a side note, what if every woman was Supergirl? Would you still have a problem if Supergirl was “emotionally manipulated” into have sex? Because then there’s no question about the physical component being there.

          • EmKay

            The point is that women are conditioned into giving men what they want. That’s it. Your initial comment talks about manipulation as a part of life. No one is disputing that. We’re talking about doing sexual things SPECIFICALLY when you don’t want to. If you haven’t experienced that yourself, than I can’t describe the feelings that go along with it, and I won’t try. Women aren’t supergirl, so that’s a pretty inane argument.

          • I didn’t say that women were Supergirl. I merely postulated a hypothetical scenario meant to tease out how you felt when there was no physical threat present. If it makes the example any less abstract, imagine that the girl was some kind of combat hardened marine, or something else that you can imagine. The point is – do you have a problem with emotional manipulation when there is no physical threat present?

            If women are conditioned into giving men what they want, I’m sorry to say is is their problem. I see no moral issue with men taking advantage of women’s emotional weakness, anymore than I see no moral issue with corporate advertisements taking advantage of their customer’s insecurities. Or religion feeding on people’s guilt, loneliness and fear of isolation.

            Taking advantage of other people’s emotional weakness is a fact of life. I’m sure you’ve done too! You pet does it to you. This is not a problem.

          • EmKay

            Cool. So, centuries of women being conditioned and belittled by men is their fault. Murder is fine too if people don’t know how to defend themselves. I’m glad you’re taking the philosophical approach to this, I can see how intelligent you are. I’m sure it will get you far in life.

          • I didn’t say it’s their fault. I said it’s their problem. There is a difference, and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt in assuming that you didn’t deliberately try to conflate the two.

            Murder as we all know, has a physical component. Both you and I (I’m sure) agree that as soon as there is a physical component, the entire incident becomes unambiguously wrong – and even comes under the ambit of the law. So that’s a complete strawman argument, especially since we’ve already discussed it.

            Women being conditioned, is their cross to bear. And no woman alive today was alive “centuries ago”, so this conditioning is not cumulative – merely ongoing. The story of modern life is the story of breaking one’s conditioning. Every atheist has done it. Most adults do it. Expecting women to break their conditioning (not centuries mind you), is not some herculean task of back breaking labor.

            It’s what we expect all functioning adults to do.

          • EmKay

            Please don’t belittle me. I understand the difference between the two. Let’s go with your logic that it’s ONLY emotional manipulation as opposed to physical threat (which, let’s be honest, most men can pose a physical threat when they want to). You’re saying: if women can be manipulated, than men can take advantage of that, and should not feel guilty about it. Then, women can use their voice to call men out, because we can, and we should. There is no moral law saying we shouldn’t. Living solely by what is logically right is a sad, inhumane way to live and I hope any current or future women in your life is aware of this belief of yours.

          • Oh, but there is a moral law against publicly shaming men like Ansari. The moral law of disproportionate consequences and double standards. Do you “call out” everyone who manipulates you? Do we write diatribes against schoolteachers for “emotionally manipulating” students to do their homework? Do we excoriate parents for “emotionally manipulating” their kids to do the housework? Do we rail against corporations for “emotionally manipulating” consumers to purchase their products? What about religion for “emotionally coercing” its clients?

            No, no, and no. Even in the personal sphere, people don’t go around proclaiming to the world that their boyfriend/girlfriend dumped them, and that said bf/gf should be ashamed. In short, all this falls under the realm of “private morality”, and talking about it in public is shameful, because that’s what “private” means.

            Let’s admit this. We are all…every single one of us…horrible people. Despite our public facade, in our innermost thoughts and impulses, each of us morally despicable. I challenge anyone to come forward (man or woman) and say “I have NEVER done anything I’m not ashamed of.”. Let’s see who casts the first stone. I don’t know you. Yet I can guarantee that you’re ashamed – terribly ashamed – of something you’ve done in your life.

            In light of that, the last thing we need is for the world to know what monsters walk about in broad daylight. Such monsters that would make poor Ansari’s misdeeds look positively saintly! We do NOT want to hear about every case of private morality gone wrong. We HAVE to protect ourselves from knowing the depths of depravity that all of us hide in our hearts and minds.

            The only thing we SHOULD talk about it, public morality. And that’s where the law comes in. And that’s where physical coercion comes in. At least that’s the only thing we can all agree on.

            Otherwise, leave private morality where it belongs – in the private sphere.

          • EmKay

            First, I am not “terribly ashamed” of a thing. I have made mistakes but never, to my knowledge, damaged someone to the point where they will think of me every time they are uncomfortable in a sexual situation, which is likely what aziz has done. Second, I WOULD like to know if there is a “monster” in, say, a workplace I’m considering. I am assuming, based on your language, that you’ve never been sexually assaulted. Otherwise you wouldn’t treat it so callously.

          • EmKay

            My point: Sexual coercion is NOT THE SAME as all manipulation. It is not the same as encouraging students to do homework, or marketing a product, or consumerism. You can keep equating them in your twisted logic, but its just not. And its something we CAN and SHOULD try to prevent by talking about it.

          • Jim S

            Remember, sexual coercion, by definition, is through force or threat. Begging is not coercion. Creepy is not coercion. Please do not use the term improperly, because you can imply a crime was committed when it wasn’t.

          • Roxana Tutunariu

            I agree that not all women are super-women, or functional, responsible adults for that matter. But in my opinion we should work on changing this situation. Not on bringing down one of the arguably “good” guys.

            Make him know he hurt you, tell your story so that men and women may learn from it. But don’t try to ruin someone’s life/career over a possible misunderstanding. You really don’t feel that his actions and her response are disproportionate ?

          • EmKay

            She told her story to one “news” outlet that pursued and questioned her. It’s not like she launched some multi-channel campaign against him. I agree that his life needn’t be ruined over this, but “good” is debatable. You simply see him as good because that’s the character he portrays. He is an actor. You have no idea what kind of person he is.

          • stinevincent

            Coercion is not merely physical, in law or in reality. Please educate yourself on the subject. Marital rape is no longer legal in this country, even without physical force. Welcome to the 20th Century, it’s already over.

          • Coercion has to have at least the threat of physical violence. And how does marital rape come into this suddenly? In fact, what does marriage have to do with this?

          • Jim S

            Coercion, by definition, is force or threats. Without these two elements, it’s called begging. Begging is not coercion.

      • Adrianna

        Bye troll

        • Teresa Gentry

          He has an opinion. Challenge it. Don’t dismiss it. His opinion is a common one even among the ” hers.” Try getting more non white, working class women involved in the conversation. The people all over media at the present moment are NOT representative, but all of us are not speaking throughout the various platforms or given the mike! What am I saying? Simple: pass the mike. Would that Americans would engage race, class privilege, the sex industries, and the double whammy of race and sex or the triangular trading among race, class and sex — the collective we might actually surge forward rather than inch forward. Am I not a woman?

          • Adrianna

            Relax

      • stinevincent

        This is the saddest argument for permitting hurt and pain I have ever heard. “Things hurt sometimes, so let’s never ever do anything to acknowledge, mitigate, or god forbid prevent any hurt.” It really makes me most concerned that you think whoever is hurting you is justified.

        • Roxana Tutunariu

          I don’t say that we should do nothing. Actually quite the opposite. By all means, you’re an adult; do everything in your power to mitigate or prevent your hurt. What I’m saying is do something BEFORE. don’t complain after. If you need guidance dealing with a situation, very well. Look for it. We are not perfect. But don’t ruin somebody’s life because you didn’t feel comfortable.

          I simply believe her reaction was disproportionate to his actions.

          Maybe some other girl would have appreciated a man who knows how to “take charge”. And I’m not being ironic here…

          • stinevincent

            Her “reaction”? You mean sending him a text message, and later talking about her feelings? So she should just keep mum? How in the world does a message of “stay silent about your feelings” help someone learn how to better express them in critical moments??

          • Jim S

            She texted him. He seemed genuinely surprised and apologized to her. If that wasn’t enough, she could have told him that. And nobody asked her to stay silent, she could have told her story while having the decency of keeping his name anonymous as she kept her name anonymous.

          • RoxanaT

            So the first place you go to talk about your feelings when you’re hurt is to a magazine?

          • Sandy

            What if we just call it “girl” “locker room talk?” It seems to be okay for men to not just “locker room talk” but also to insult, degrade, and even outright harm women with their words. Women are supposed to be quiet about the verbal (and other) harms men cause them (“the ‘me too’ movement has gone too far!”). How about we flip it and call this women “just being women” (“boys will be boys!”) or “just what estrogen does” (“what do you expect, men have testosterone!”) or “girl locker room talk” that men just need to shut up and learn to deal with?

          • Jim S

            Men’s locker room talk is never intended to go public and damage a woman’s reputation or cause public shaming. Nobody would have an issue, if say, Grace talked among her friends. Complaining to the press for acts you consented to is not fair play.

          • Sandy

            Men’s locker room talk *is* public and it *does* damage reputations and cause public shaming, often quite intentionally so.

            There is nothing private about speaking to multiple other people who weren’t involved in a sex act about the sex act. A “locker room” is a fairly public place. Not that locker room talk only happens in locker rooms anyway. It happens anywhere: on the street, in class, at a bar, in a bus — plenty of totally public places. There is nothing non-public about discussing the intimate details of a previously-private act.

            Secondly, most “men’s locker room” is intended to make the man seem bigger/greater/stronger while depicting the woman as used/tricked/manipulated. Her body is judged and evaluated, as as her sexual behaviors. She is called names. And the information — which is often little more than misinformation (lies to further the braggadocio) then spreads from the “locker room” to the rest of her workplace, school, or social circle.

            In fact, given the motivation driving “men’s locker room talk,” “women’s locker room talk” really is a substantially lesser harm. While men generally gossip about sex to make themselves feel better at the expense of women, women gossip about sex to warn each other of potentially emotionally harmful situations.

          • Jim S

            Yes, men’s locker room talk (and we know it is not usually in locker room talks) occur in public places, and I am sure it spreads bad gossip, but are not intended to find the stories in the media. Yes it is bad behaviour that is not appropriate. But women are just as bad at gossiping and can be just as ruthless, if not more). Don’t buy this “they only gossip to protect themselves”, they will often demean a guys stamina, sexual shortcomings and even penis size, and if it goes public, is equally if not more devastating. To call it lesser harm when females do it is either ignorance on your part, or you don’t think men can be hurt by cruelty too. Both genders partake in the bad behaviour. Both genders should be vocal about stopping this practice.

            But you equated metoo and Grace to the equivalent to men’s locker room talk. What Grace did is far beyond locker room talk, it was intended to destroy a man’s life to the whole world. Equating the two is completely unfounded.

            If a man were to do to a woman what Grace did to Aziz (not talking telling a few friends at a bar but telling the whole world), it would be revenge porn.

            I have no objection to women, or Grace, telling their friends to stay away from a creepy guy. But putting it out there for the world to see is beyond cruelty.

          • Sandy

            I was not saying they are literally the same. I was saying that this is the women’s version of what men have been doing for decades, and that in the same way that we make excuses for what men do, why not make excuses for women?

            Second, I don’t know if we have any empirical evidence about what women gossip about. As a woman myself, I know that my friends actually by and large do NOT disparage men’s sexual prowess behind their backs. On the other hand, my male friends have said some really horrific — sometimes truly disturbing things — about women to me. I hope to never know what they say when I’m not around and it’s just the boys.

            Third, you really don’t know anything about Grace’s motives. From my perspective, her intent was to help young women feel less alienated and to further a conversation about ending coercive sexual behavior. Your interpretation was that she intended to harm someone. Neither of us knows the truth. But you certainly can’t assume evil intent where you don’t know there was any.

            Finally — again — revenge porn is a CRIMINAL LAW defined by STATE LAW. No, if a man did this it would NOT be revenge porn — AT ALL. To be charged and convicted of a CRIME, the state has to prove very specific things. Revenge porn necessarily includes the sharing of a photo/video. That just simply did not happen here.

          • Jim S

            So for revenge porn it has to be a crime, but for being creepy like Aziz (not a crime) it is fair game. Not sure how you can consolidate this inconsistency.

            I will also bring you up to speed about Grace’s (Abby Nierman) motives. Don’t believe for a second it was to start a larger conversation, hell she could have done that by keeping her name anonymous. There is evidence (I can show you) that her friends tweeted and retweeted in November asking about when the Aziz takedown was scheduled so the can clear their calendars. On the day the article came out, they replied to the November tweet saying “ah, just on schedule”. This demonstrates that they were excited and giddy about the takedown aspects of this. It also shows that Grace lied about the metoo pin at the Golden Globes being the trigger for the article. This was not about a conversation. And if despite this evidence that she had immature motives, you feel she had a more noble motive, why name him. He apologized to her and she didn’t reply that this was insufficient to her. Let’s be serious here.

          • Jim S

            Also want to add, with respect to locker room talk, i dont know about your circle of friends, but I have female colleagues at work and other female relatives, and I have seen them be just as disparaging as men. I have seen men do it mildly and viciously. It is wrong when either do it. I have no doubt this is a culture issue that affects both genders, it just never seems awful when we are doing it. Somehow, I am thinking that you are downplaying the worst you and your friends have ever said about anyone. None of us think we are being bad people when we do it, but we all have. This is bad enough as it is. Sharing it with the media goes beyond the pale.

          • Sandy

            It is entirely anecdotal but that has been my experience. When my girlfriends have talked to me about sex, they have tended to be surprisingly nice about it. “No he didn’t give me an orgasm, but he’s really hot.” “No I didn’t have an orgasm but he has a huge penis.” When guys have spoken to me about sex, they have often been shockingly cruel — I’ve honestly had experiences where I was traumatized by what I heard. For example, one guy at work told me the story of his friend ripping off his girlfriend’s clothes, throwing her into the street, and locking out of her house. My coworker laughed throughout the story and said the “whore” “deserved it.” Another male coworker laughed the whole time as he listened to the story with me.

            So, yes, it’s anecdotal. But it’s my experience. I guess yours has been different?

          • Jim S

            I am glad you have a decent group of friends. Look, you’ve seen mean girls, it’s not just in the movies. The cruelty goes both ways and I have seen it all. I was a bit of a nerd growing up so I didn’t have much to talk about in the locker rooms until I was more mature, but I saw it on both sides. It is usually the teenagers that are brutal.

          • Jim S

            I also don’t see this woman’s locker room talk condemning Cristina Garcia (4 new allegations today).

            Also, if a man goes on twitter about how a girl sucked in bed, that would be revenge porn, no?

          • Sandy

            What do you mean? Grace was supposed to condemn Cristina Garcia in an article that was written before the news about Cristina Garcia came out? Or are you saying that in order for women to have this conversation on MR, we need to also condemn Cristina Garcia in the same thread? Nobody thinks it’s okay to make people uncomfortable via sexual behavior. But the conversation you and I are having is not about Ms. Garcia nor about Mr. Ansari – it’s about your attempt to find various reasons to tell women to stop talking about this. Your comment on Ms. Garcia really is just another attempt to stop women’s speech by finding fault with it. Either we didn’t say it in the right way, or in the right place, or we didn’t cover all the issues. No matter what, when women share stories about shitty things dudes did to them, you seem to have some complaint that you use to argue that the words shouldn’t have been spoken.

            And no, posting on twitter about sex is not revenge porn *at all.* Revenge porn is a criminal statute, defined by state law. In virtually all states where it is a crime (and it’s not a crime in all states), it involves 1) posting a photo or video on the internet 2) against the will of the person in the photo or video in such a way that 3) the person in the photo or video was harmed.

            No, speaking about sex is not a crime when you post to twitter, gossip in a locker room, or write an article. But, as we have been saying, there is a vast difference between a crime, where the state takes away a person’s freedom and holds her/him in a cell, and a bad behavior, where people will later need to vent to others about the harm they experienced.

          • Jim S

            I think we have some confusion here, mostly on my part. A lot of the comments here have veered into broader metoo issues. My point about Garcia (nothing to do with Grace) is that we are very selective in piling in on men (i.e. Aziz) while virtually ignoring women who do the same thing or worse.

            Here is my position, see if you agree.

            Absolutely women should talk openly about crimes committed against them (rape, assault, harrasment). No men but the fringes object.

            Absolutely women should talk openly about non-crimes or awkward situations that made them feel uncomfortable; however, in these cases, they should keep the name of the man anonymous. We have to recognize these ackward grey areas are generally miscommunications of consent and both parties likely exhibited poor judgement. It is not fair to destroy a man’s life (like Grace did to Aziz) in these situations. It’s one thing if a rumor became viral and it got exposed that way, but not intentional takedowns like Aziz/Grace.

            Do you agree?

            And by the way, I don’t think the allegations against her should be used to ruin her life after the food that she is done. I am pointing out a lack of moral equivalency among metoo feminists.

          • Sandy

            I think that the anonymity thing is definitely something worth thinking about. I see your point that these stories seem to be very harmful to people’s careers. And I also see how the use of names leads to a place where the only stories that matter are those where the “bad” guy is famous/rich — meaning that the women in lower socioeconomic classes get ignored.

            On the other hand, if the public turns against someone because of their behavior, that means that the behavior is really bad. When Lindsay Lohan did cocaine, the public generally forgave her and continued to see her movies. But when Chris Brown punched Rihanna, the public decided that we would rather live our days without his pretty voice. If sexual misconduct makes the public shun someone, that probably means it is shun-worthy behavior. Furthermore, being a celebrity or politician isn’t a right — it’s a sign that the public likes you. If the public doesn’t like you, goodbye celebrity.

            Lastly, it has been really hard for women to be taken seriously on these issues until big names were thrown out. I (and many other women) have been trying to talk about these issues for years and have been consistently ignored and told to basically shut up. It’s only now that it became a celebrity/media/pop culture issue that we have started to be listened to. Women resorted to throwing out names not really because we wanted to but because until we hyped it up to volume 11, nobody was listening!

          • Jim S

            Here is the whole hypocracy among metoo supporters is unbearable. You say public turns on you, means your behaviour is really bad. What Copperfield did was worse than Aziz. What Jeremy Piven did was worse than Aziz. What Cristina Garcia did was worse than Aziz. And all these stories are being ignored. Is it because Aziz is Indian? Or is it because every millenial sees their ex boyfriend in him and taking out their past on to him? This is fundamentally unfair reaction by all of you to pick on the guy and ignore worse offenses.

            I am glad you agree though that protecting his anonymity would have been fair.

            You had people to go after, and you ignored big ones for the sake of Aziz who at worst committed the sexual equivalent of jaywalking. People were already listening before the Aziz case came up.

            Why don’t you just admit, for Aziz to be demonized the way he was the movement went to far. And now there is a backlash.

          • Jim S

            Another point, legally revenge porn is graphic, bit metoo is not about the legal anymore is it, it is about the moral otherwise Aziz wouldn’t have been shamed. Verbal revenge porn is just as damaging to the victim as a graphic one, you should know this.

          • Sandy

            There is a huge difference in the amount of damage that comes from the state taking away your freedom and placing you behind bars vs. people thinking you are a schmuck. That is why we have due process for crimes but not for gossip. The state taking away your freedom is the strongest power in this country.

          • Jim S

            A public shaming can destroy your livelihood and destroy your mental health. That you think a public holiday shaming is inconsequential shows the complete lack of empathy and irresponsibly of many elements of the metoo movement. Rose McGowans former manager just committed suicide a few days ago due to public shaming. Are you this evil?

    • Jim S

      Coercive means threats or force was used. Aziz did neither. Everyone is misusing the English language to drive a narrative. It was a sloppy attempt at seduction, nothing more.

      If it was hurtful behaviour while you bit your tongue, that is not just on him, that is on you too. And it doesn’t excuse your behaviour of you did bite your tongue but then blabbed to the press after buyer’s remorse.

      • stinevincent

        Did you read the piece? Because WHOOSH your entire point was neatly responded to already. It’s a red herring, and it does not mean that someone should never be free to speak up about their feelings. Responses like this only contribute to the reasons someone like “Grace” would hesitate to speak up. You obviously wouldn’t care how she felt in the moment.

        • Jim S

          I did, but was not convinced. By all means, Abby Nierman was free to speak out, but she didn’t have to expose his name. If she felt she should protect her anonymity she should have had some class and protected his as well. If she did this there would be less backlash and less would be hesitant to speak up. By all means speak, but for the non-crime of sloppy seduction, don’t destroy the lives of those who you want to help change if you are doing it in good faith rather than revenge porn.

          I do care how she felt, but we must acknowledge some of it was her own doing. I don’t buy the premise that she was condition or afraid to say no. She was not afraid to say no to intercourse, why should we believe that she was afraid to say no to foreplay? This argument is simply not credible. More likely she was conflicted during the foreplay, balancing not liking the guy with wanting to salvage a relationship with a celeb, and went ape when she realized there was not going to be a second date. This position of this article may hold true for many couples, but not valid for Abby’s account. She was an equal partner of responsibility in this mishap. If we justify her inability to explicitly communicate her unease, then we are not fairly sharing responsibility of open two way communication between a couple. Relationships and sex is a team sport, both have to share responsibility and accountability. I agree with a lot of the article, but besides that, I find it completely unacceptable that nobody seems to care that Aziz was a victim too.

          • Teresa Gentry

            I care. There are no winners in the war between men and women. The sexual battleground is real. People lie and dissemble about sexual encounters ALL the time. We live in a prudish ( because it was founded by Puritans who expressed and forced by decree their most heinous sexual desires on their slaves) and pornographic culture which grows exponentially as we natter on about buyers remorse. Go figure. Witness the popularity of this shades of gray nonsense among certain classes of women, who have no real knowledge of or desire for BDSM! Women die in that world, not marry or get rich. Anyway, keep talking and pass the mike.

          • stinevincent

            The point of “exposing” his name was not to rain terror on his head, neither has that been the result. It’s not useful to the conversation to wring hands over “consequences” that are anti-factual. The point of using his name is that he is a public figure and using it garners attention for the story. As this story has expressed quite well, the difficulty that women have expressing their boundaries is something that we need to understand as a culture.

            If you don’t understand why she struggled to express herself in the moment, then you’re missing a large aspect of the story. And I mean the bigger story, that same conversation that this manrepeller piece has attempted to focus on. Have you never heard women speak in meetings? Have you never seen those videos on women’s vocal tics? Things like “I think that . . . ” and “I wonder if . . . ” plus up-speaking, being cut off, or plain having their ideas brought up minutes later by a man and then paid attention to. These aren’t individual quirks, they are socialized behaviors common to many women. Women plain aren’t respected the same way or for the same things that men earn respect. Our grandmothers couldn’t express sexual interest, and their “no’s” were treated as meaningless because of that, per “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and countless other examples. Marital rape was legal in the US until 1994. These things, behaviors, and attitudes don’t go away overnight. “Grace’s” struggle is a common one, and as a society we need to figure out how to further empower her and other women like her. That doesn’t happen by villifying her, doxxing her, or pretending like Aziz is suffering some calamitous “consequences.”

          • Jim S

            Are you kidding me, she didn’t expose his name to rain terror on his head? There are tweets from her friends in November planning to clear their schedule to celebrate the takedown. She did this to cause maximum shame to him. How does it change her ”healing” if she kept his name anonymous, and then told him about the article so he was aware. It is BS that you actually believe what you wrote.

            And there are consequences to him. His reputation will never be the same even if he keeps his job. His mental health will be damaged. The fact that you think a public shaming is no big deal shows how cruel you are and that you lack any human empathy. If you need to destroy a celebrity in order to have a conversation, basically human sacrifice, that is evil. You think it has expressed well because we are talking about it. Bit how are we talking about it. Everyone is livid about this, on either side. That does not lead to meaningful change.

            I am shocked how you infantilize women. I know women who are excellent at speaking at meetings and men who are afraid to speak up. It depends on the character, not the gender.

            You cannot use the excuse of how women are socialized. Fact, Abby said no to intercourse. Therefore, she did not fear this, nor was she prevented from doing this because of societal norms. Why then are we to believe that she was afraid to say no to foreplay due to fear or societal norms. Your argument is just not credible.

            And yes she should be doxxed. She didn’t take this through the law, she chose to litigate this in public and dox Aziz for clearly a non crime, she must then have to have her credibility tested. The real metoo hero’s came forward openly, that is why the movement was successful. If people know they can get away with smearing their exes while protected from the same via anonymity, this is blatantly unfair and an abuse of metoo.
            She could have chosen to educate Aziz, instead she chose to vilify him, and therefore her own vilification is fair game.

          • Haley Nahman

            This comment has been moderated.

          • Jim S

            Looks like you are reporting my posts to get my comments deleted. No matter. How can you possibly believe she had no intent of raining terror on his head. That is exactly what she intended to do and it has already been proven. She chose to litigate this in the public sphere, and therefore it is only fair that her name is identified so that her credibility can be tested.

            I know women at work who dominate meetings while some men are nervous. It depends on the person, not the gender. Stop making excuses.

            Of course I don’t understand why she struggled to express herself in the moment. She expressed herself clearly and said no to intercourse. So then why should we think she struggled to express herself during foreplay. Your rationale for this case (may be true for other cases) is simply not credible.

            Just say it is both their faults, he shouldn’t be demonized, and we should improve the behaviours of both men and women to change the culture. If you can agree to this, we are aligned. If not, if you want all the onus and risk to fall on the man, and it is dependent on reading body language, then please don’t date anyone or tell him your expectations before you are in an intimate situation.

          • RoxanaT

            So if someone at your work place suddenly decided to make you the poster child for some debatable pseudo-acceptable negative behaviour ( yelling, gossiping, showing up drunk in some safety related field ) you would be totally fine with your face being connected to this, all over the company? even if maybe it happened to you once?

            Come on girls do we want equality, or somebody coming on a white horse to save us from the big bed men? What if this was a guy being manipulated by a woman in a social or work related situation. Would you feel sorry for the guy or the girl after the revenge? How about the exact same situation if it were 2 women or 2 men? Whose side would you take? Who’s the bigger manipulator of the two?

            She was not even sure if he was actually aware of her discomfort in the heat of the moment. But she was definitely sure her reaction was going to hurt his career. You don’t see a problem with this?

          • stinevincent

            I can’t respond to your workplace example because I have no idea how it is relevant to the issue or to the conversation. The piece has attempted to take Aziz Ansari out of the conversation and instead focus on the behavior and habits at issue. I have done the same, and yet your chief concern here seems to be “what about poor Aziz Ansari?” Why are YOU trying to bring him back up when the rest of us are fine leaving him aside as a person?

            Manipulation is manipulation. It is wrong. It’s not the worst thing one human can do to another, but that doesn’t make it okay. Likewise revenge, no matter how hard it gets you to “get back” at someone who wrongs you.

            Since I’ve already mentioned this to apparently deaf ears, I’ll ask it explicitly, how in the world has this hurt his career? What is he suffering from right now? Are colleagues leaving his show? Is Netflix cancelling it? Has anyone who’s called him out even said they don’t consider him a friend any longer? Does it make you feel better about villifying her to imagine these horrible consequences to him? What happens when you reconcile the actual consequences with the conversation and the issues at hand?

          • tabimasen

            Just a tip, “come on girls” really exposed you as the male troll you are. Impersonating a woman does not make your argument more convincing.

          • Jim S

            Replying to this because you deleted another message I was replying to.

            Aziz not being demonized? You must be joking. 100+ opeds saying he assaulter her, a precursor to Weinstein and part of rape culture. Many on twitter calling him a rapist.

            Grace deserved to be doxxed as a matter of fairness. You can’t smear someone without leaving an opportunity for your credibility to be tested, which cannot be done if we don’t know who she is.
            She decided to smear him in public yet protect herself from the same vitriol. This is unjust and plain cowardly.
            I have empathy if Grace felt uncomfortable that night (that is the extent of the damage to her), but I have zero empathy for any backlash she received for doxxing Aziz, that is of her own doing.

            And I stand by my point, if you fear violence such that you are afraid to say no or withdraw consent, and want to rely on a man to read your body language, then you should not date. Or tell the sucker what he is up against before you are alone with him so he knows he is playing Russian Roulette while trying to read your non verbal cues.

      • Greenborough

        I agree. It’s also not fair to publicly grade your dates. The only reason Grace’s story was published is bc Aziz is famous. Not bc he did anything wrong.

        No one will date a person who publicly grades and reports on their dates and sex life.

  • Greenborough

    This woman Grace didn’t enjoy pre-dinner drinks with Aziz, didn’t enjoy dinner either with him but decided going home with him was when the date might get good for her. That’s stupid thinking.

    Young women today seem more timid and scared than ever. Feminism has been around for a while now. Something is wrong with how women are being raised if she can’t verbally tell a man to stop when she’s uncomfortable.

    Grace’s whole story centers on her passive nature. Aziz asked for what he wanted. Aren’t we teaching women to ask for what they want too in bed? That includes speaking up about what doesn’t work for you.

    Here’s some common sense. If you don’t enjoy drinks with a date, and you don’t enjoy dinner, you probably won’t enjoy sex either.

    • rose

      I think you’re right about women not being raised to ask what they want, but I really don’t think the one-sided approach: women need to be taught more of X and Y. Need to know their worth, their place, their needs. How about we educate BOTH boys and girls, women and men, to assert what they want (because fyi, I don’t think Ansari really wanted the sex he could have gotten had his date been up for it, but that’s a whole other point) and also for one fucking time focus on teaching men to care about the women in their lives. Try to read their mind. I know I’m tired of trying to read theirs.

      • Christen

        Spot on rose!!! Both sides have work to do.

  • Laura A.

    Three years ago, my now ex boyfriend was a different kind of man.

    We were in his bedroom, at his parents house, no one else was there. We had sexual intercourse before but that day after the first one he was above my body, a 25 years old man, 5’6…

    Ain’t small but I remember clearly told him no, I DON’T WANT TO like 5 times before, while and after he forced penetration….

    Something was broken that day, I lost respect and confidence about everything!

    I broke up with him, is the first time I write this down or say this to anyone…

    I don’t know if I should have screamed?
    It really was necessary to make him stop?
    He really hurt me not only about my self steem but physically, he was so agressive.

    Yes, we as woman are raised and trained to not be a threaten to man, but they are not raised to listen to us.

    Everytime after that day I could feel like he was there having sex alone, like I was a kind of sex doll, like I was there for his pleasure.

    We shouldn’t minimize our experiences by “victimization” but by standing loyal to ourselves and learn to fight with teeth and claws our dignitiy and take it back from them.

    #MeToo

    PD English is my second language

    • Denise G

      Your telling of your story here for the first time is the reason the #MeToo movement is so important and necessary. We hear you, we feel you and we are with you. We are stronger together and it is important that we share these stories as each new experience told illustrates to a new generation how these situations can occur and how our inability to “handle” it unfolds. Maybe they will then visualize these situations for themselves and know before it happens how they will deal with it. I, like you, was totally unprepared for my situation and “allowed” it to happen but have moved beyond it and know that I would never let it happen again. I hope you feel some relief from the pain you’ve been carrying with you all of these years.
      PS Your English is great!!

    • Jim S

      I am sorry for what happened. What you described was a clear rape. You were explicit that you did not consent, and he used force. The metoo movement was to help women come forward with stories like yours.
      I just don’t think real stories like yours should be mixed in with stories like Aziz/Grace where there was no force and the consent was unclear, but credible the man had reason to believe he had consent.

      I do encourage you to raise your experience with law enforcement. Godspeed.

  • Mademoiselle Catastrophe

    If there is something I agree with with the writer is than conversation is indeed needed. But I am so afraid we have become deaf to each others’ arguments of victimization versus implicit violence. Sometimes I think there is a kind of barrier between people, men and women alike, when it comes to discuss this topic, because it’s very hard to look beyond our own personal experiences and cultural environments. To be totally honest, this talk mixing consent and bad sex sounds very foreign to me, and I find it, maybe hypocritical but I’m not even sure of the word, that one can consider a progressive solution to ‘contractualise’ sexual relations (which is what happens when you pin everything down to explaining consent). It reminds me of this (to lighten things up a bit), but then again I have a weird sense of humor:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxFU_fIUawM

    • Gene Day

      Love it! Oddly enough I tend to picture something like that when conversation about content comes up, how does one go about that conversation without ending up like this?

  • Jim S

    Yes, great conversation to be had, if we didn’t have to scalp Aziz in order to have it. If this discussion was intended to raise learning and improvement, his name would be anonymous. But becaise the discussion was started through Abby Nierman’s clear intend to destroy him, the conversation is tainted. If you want this to be a changing moment, then there are ways to have a civil conversation. But if you try to invoke change through weaponizing a sloppy attempt at seduction via public shaming, I am not interested in working with people of that mindset. The way this was handled actually prevents this needed conversation from happening in a respectful manner. The way this has unfolded only decreased trust in the metoo movement, because it showed the true intent was to destroy first, seek change second. This was not a Weinstein or a crime, yet we treated Aziz as if he fell 8n this category.

    • EmKay

      I agree that he certainly doesn’t fall into that category, but women have been telling these stories for years, and guess what? No one paid attention until a celebrity was involved. If she hadn’t named him, we wouldn’t be talking about it.

      • Jim S

        So, you need human sacrifice to talk about this. This is the Emily Linden’s approach. It wasn’t just that he was named, it was the viciousness of how he was attacked. It was that Abby Nierman was treated as totally blameless. I see ZERO empathy from the metoo feminists on how he was treated. This is something you talk to your partner about and if he doesn’t buy in, you would dump him, not ruin his life.

        Why isn’t metoo also talking about Cristina Garcia, a leader of metoo who committed a more serious offense and has wider ranging implications. Shows that metoo is a one sided mysoginist mob. You will not drive change by playing dirty.

        • EmKay

          Dude, what is this need you have to find every article about this, comment on it and name this girl? Did she personally reject you? I disagree this was “vicious”–that’s a little dramatic. Try going into the mentions of any woman who has called out a famous man. The death and rape threats they face are what’s vicious.

          Of course I feel empathy for him–many do. It’s unfortunate he had to be one of the faces of this. Everyone agrees that it was not assault, he will face no legal ramifications, his career will eventually be fine. It’s the culture he was raised in that makes him feel he will get what he wants if he keeps asking, and makes women feel its easier to just give men what they want. That’s what we all want to change by having a conversation about it.

          • Jim S

            I haven’t gone into every article, a few. And I haven’t stopped because the unfair attacks on Aziz have not stopped. My motive is not what you think. I knew someone who was publically shamed, didn’t deserve it, and killed himself. You all think he will be okay because he didn’t lose a job, bit dont consider what a public shaming will do to ones mental health.

            And why should her name be protected (not under court order, only babe is required to protect their source)? She did’t have the decency to protect his name, focussed on revenge with the intent of imparting permanent reputational damage. And it was nowhere near a crime. So she should be exposed to deter future frivolous scalpings.

            The culture you describe, where you just go with the flow to not hurt the guys feelings, that is on you too. When went initiate sex how well do they understand non-verbal cues? It’s a team sport, and both have to speak to each other explicitly. I undestunde we want a conversation, we both have to be a part of it. But if the conversation is started by a malicious act like this, it does not start on the right foot.

          • EmKay

            Some of the points you make are fair, so let’s talk about this.

            Is it wrong for someone to be wrongfully accused? Yes. But far and away the majority of people who are affected by sexual abuse and shaming are women, and it, too leads to loss of life, unfortunately. So should they not speak of it at all? Keep it to themselves until the shame and unidentifiable sadness consumes them? By acknowledging women’s experiences and believing them, women feel more comfortable speaking out.

            You also don’t seem to be aware of the abuse and shaming women receive, even now, when they expose themselves like this. The legions of men who come out of the woodwork to claim they know where they live, that they will rape them, murder them, destroy them. It is still not easy, and there is not a single reason I can think of to make something like this up. Rarely do women receive any settlements or get any justice for what happened to them. The results do not justify the abuse they receive as a result of speaking out.

            The author herself acknowledged that its wrong to conflate this story with stories of rape and physical abuse. But it is still necessary to have a conversation about it. I agree it is wrong to expect men to read non-verbal cues. But there is another force at work here–those that have conditioned men to expect sex and cause them to ignore signs, even unintentionally, that a woman is uninterested. Many of us have faced threats and violence when we have turned men down, so its easier to give in, rather than defend ourselves. Re-read the part of the article when the author discusses this–she is much more eloquent than I am.

          • Jim S

            Let’s talk then. I’m for a fair discussion.

            Starting at the bottom, the author is correct that it should not have been conflated with Weinstein. But it was. And besides this author, I have not seen any reasonable push by metoo supporters to deconflate the two. Until that happens, it looks like metoo weaponzized this revenge porn to get gain, using intimidation rather than to start an open and honest converstion in good faith. The way these conversations are started is important.

            You have conflicting statements. It is wrong for men to be expected to read non verbal cues, but we are conditioned to ignore signs. Well which one is it. Maybe we are not ignoring them, but a woman occassionay doesn’t project the signs. I understand a woman may be afraid to say no. But I was pointing out that Abby clearly demonstrated that she did not have this fear, so to use this event as the basis of this article is flawed. Use Cat woman instead.

            There is risk in everything everyone does. In some elements risks are greater for males, for sexual assault, the risk is greater for females. We can not take these risks and stay home, but if we take these risks, you cannot bite you lip and then blame the guy. If you take this risk, you have to be able to say no. If you say no and he forces you, then you call the police and have him throne in jail. If you don’t say no and actively participate in foreplay, that has to be on you too, not just him.

            I bet to ask, what happens with a virgin bride on her wedding night, nervous as hell? She cannot project enthusiastic consent. And she will probably not enjoy the physical aspects of it. So if they consumate the marriage, is the groom guilty of sexual assault for not having enthusiastic consent. Bill Maher is right, we are moving into a police state in the bedroom if we try tomdelete this. Sex requires trust and risk. If you don’t have trust and don’t want risk, you should not be dating the guy.

            On to your other points, I never said that Abby should have kept it to herself (she told everyone she knew personally on Twitter in October and her close friends right after). She could even tell the press, but then have the decency to protect his identity. She told him, and he gave an honest apology that looks very much like they miscommunicated. So what did she want out of this besides destroy him? By speaking to the press about this nonsense, she lowers the credibility of every letitimate claim that comes after.

            I am aware women receive shaming, bit that is what happens when you do some shaming yourself. If you go to the police for a crime, you will be protected. Even if there is no conviction, the charge will be picked up by the press. But if instead you take your case to twitter and shame someone, then you have put yourself in that situation. Yes, some of them will be harassed by trolls, but the men they accused will face even more death threats. You think Aziz never faced any threats on social media?

            By taking your fight to the press and social media instead of the legal system, you have to assume the risk. You can remove the risk by talking about it and not naming the person. The only reason to name someone is either click bait or to humiliate them. For a non crime that is simply unacceptable.

            Also, we know from Brian Banks, Liam Allan, and the Duke Lacrosse team, that accusations can be sometimes be false. Should they be collatoral damage, a human sacrifice for the good of the movement? Only a very cruel person would think so.

          • Frenchmochi

            Good point on mental health. I’m so sorry about that person you know who killed himself; it really can go that far.
            It’s like people don’t realize the consequences of things. Maybe because it all happens on the Internet, and that makes us devoid of empathy.
            Thinking “even despite all this he will still be able to keep working” totally dismisses the effects on his person, which will likely be huge and last his whole life. He has acted like a dick but he has in no ways deserved all this.
            And even though a person is eventually cleared of all charges, the traces of slander are indelible.

          • EmKay

            So, the effects on her don’t matter? And women’s options are: sexual abuse or face physical violence, just as long as they don’t hurt men’s feelings. Am I getting that correct?

          • Jim S

            The effects do matter. But if she takes zero responsibility to communicate, then the effects on her are partly of her making. A women can’t use the excuse that they were assaulted because they tacitly consented to avoid hurting the man’s feelings. She shouldn’t worry about the man’s feelings, she should worry about her feelings. And she should be explicit about her feelings. If a woman never says no to unwanted sex because she is afraid it may lead to violence, then this woman is not mature enough to date. Yes a man should do his best to read his partners cues. Yes a woman should do her best to ensure are cues are clear.

          • EmKay

            You’re still not understanding that women HAVE to worry about men’s feelings because we experience VIOLENCE and blackmail as a result of them. Just because you don’t react to feelings with violence, doesn’t mean all men don’t either. Being afraid of being KILLED doesn’t make someone immature!!!!!! I don’t know how else to say it. Given women’s collective experience, that fear is completely reasonable and self-preserving.

          • Jim S

            That may be true, but not in this case and we know this for fact. She did say no to intercourse, so she did not have this fear, and then he called her an Uber. If you are so afraid of what could happen if you say no to sex you don’t want, why would you go for the encounter in the first place? Basically what you are saying is that the crime is the same if you say no and he forces youyou you say yes but don’t really mean it. That is utter BS. You have agency, if you don’t, you should not be dating. By taking zero responsibility for yourself. Again, if you are worried about such a risk, how is that the guys fault such that he has to now take a risk, if he reads you wrong while you bit your tongue he could get his life destroyed.

          • kay

            “If a woman never says no to unwanted sex because she is afraid it may lead to violence, then this woman is not mature enough to date”

            jim i believe you are a good person, so i will tell you, this is just incorrect. sexual rejection routinely results in violence. all the time. it is a sign of experience that women are afraid of violence, lived, learned experience. i think it’s hard for good men to believe this, i think because they want to believe the world is a safe place, or because they can’t imagine doing this, or because they want to believe it’s possible for women to avoid this. this is a case of things that should be better, but are not yet better. we really should have the world that you think exists, but we don’t yet.

          • Jim S

            Thank you for discussing this honorable. Two things:
            1) What you say may be true in many cases, but it is demonstrably not accurate with this case. She said no to intercourse, and therefore fear wasn’t a factor. So why would she be afraid to say no to foreplay? This position is simply not credible.
            2)if you are worried that saying no could lead to violence, then why would you date someone unless you did not feel this risk at all. But for the argument, you assume this risk, is it fair to dump all this risk on the man’s ability to read your body language. Every women projects cues differently. A virgin bride on her wedding night would project fear yet she will still consumate the marriage. There is to much margin for error if we take this approach. How about having this discussion with your partner before being in a room alone with him. The risk has to be shared, and the communication had to be open. I think it is unfair that the onus is on a man to rely on body language, because if you were afraid, you might still say yes if he asked you instead of reading your cues. With sex comes risk, from misunderstandings to STD’s.

          • kay

            1) so many women have said that they understand that she could have been afraid to leave, and several have explained that to you specifically. that you still find all of us not credible means for whatever reason you are dismissing all of us. why?
            2) yeah why do we date anyone? a lot of men once they finally realize what dating is like for women have this same question. for you, with sex comes risk, from misunderstandings to STDs, and for women, add to that list physical violence and rape. we want our list of risks to be the same as your list, and it isn’t. you are totally on the right page, you just aren’t accepting that this is real. it is a crushing reality, i get that. but if we can face it, so can you.

            what i hear from you is that you are afraid men can’t read women’s signals, and you want women to help with this confusion. i’m very very glad you are sensitive to the need to understand what your partner really truly wants- communication around sex is fraught with awful baggage that’s an anvil around all of our necks, men and women. as people, men can read body language and nonverbal cues and they do understand “soft no’s”, but part of the problem is that they treat sex as a different situation from the rest of life. beyond this, when they *are* verbally told no, they don’t listen, they negotiate and intimidate, and sometimes, they attack. if other men are, like you, worried they are going to miss something, they are not powerless to resolve this confusion. they can ask way before things get physical, they can ask every step of they way, they can stick to the answers they are given, and they can use their nonverbal communication skills to judge when to end a situation. if a man gets the sense that a woman is projecting fear but still saying yes, *he* can (and should) say no. you can see how this would protect him too.

          • Jim S

            1) I agree that in other cases this might be an issue. It was clearly not an issue with “Grace”. Nobody has been able to explain why she was not afraid to explicitly say no to intercourse but was afraid to do so for foreplay. This makes zero sense. If she also bit her lip and had intercourse with him, then you could use this argument, but this is not what happened. You are all trying to defend her with this argument, but she demonstrated her ability to use her agency, bit she used it selectively. This belies belief.
            2) on this you have a respectable position.i agree that violence is a real possibility, but we have to admit that fear of violence for Grace doesn’t add up. So I am asking while we have this discussion for the greater society, I am looking for acknowledgement that for Grace this is not a reasonable fear because she took actions demonstrating that she took actions that she wouldn’t have taken if she was fearful. I am also looking for acknowledgement that the public shaming of Aziz on her part was unwarranted.

            Okay, being Aziz and Grace, let’s talk about the rest of us. For the most part I agree with you. Where you say men ignore explicit verbal cues and intimidate, I agree with you, men who do that need to be coached and change there behaviors. Just keep in mind that some women do like to tease, and in these cases we should not go along any further and stop. So women, flirting is great, bit don’t intentionally tease a guy. This is what I am getting at, there is room for improvement on both sides.
            On to non-verbal cues. I have been married for 10 years, and still my wife complains that I missed her non-verbal cue (an icy state) for me to do the dishes. Yes we are not powerless to ask if we missed something, nor are women powerless to tell us if we missed something. Why are we playing games with non-verbal cues? Ask every step of the way? First kiss? Second kiss? Hand on breast? Do you expect a married couple to do this, affirmative consent for every step? Or is this only for first dates?

            On you last sentence, you right, not if there is any doubt, we should say no. In fact it is happening. Did you read about #mentorher and what drove this. Men are terrified that they could miss something or be misread that it is leading to gender segregation in the workplace. Is this what you want?

            Maybe women can initiate sex half the time and not wait for the male even if she wants to do it and is eager about it? Maybe this will rebalance things a little. What you are describing as happening is too much risk on the female. I agree. What you are advocating is that ALL risk should fall on the male and he is screwed if he makes an honest mistake. What I am advocating for is a method for the risk to be shared.

          • Jim S

            Just to add to this, this whole issue will spill out beyond the bedroom. Men are starting to adopt the Pence rule in other aspects of life because of all the risks being directed solely at them and metoo’s demands for presumption of guilt. This is reflected in real backlash through #mentorher.

            This will be a natural outcome of putting all risks solely on the male for all interactions, which now depend on interpreting body language. There will be talk of consent waivers and affirmative consent for every touch, which as Deneuve described, will take Eros out of love making. Men will be less likely to initiate sex because of this fear, which will either put a larger onus on women to initiate, or there will be less sex.

            Is this what everyone wants?

          • Frenchmochi

            Just because I wrote about the effects on Ansari’s life doesnt’t mean I automatically said the effects on “Grace” didn’t matter. It’s like you’re not understanding on purpose.

          • EmKay

            I understand, and I sympathize with Ansari. But ultimately, he did something wrong and she did not. I think most reasonable people recognize the consequences of accusations, even ones made anonymously and on the internet. But society has to change, and it has to start somewhere. I also don’t believe he deserves to be dragged through the mud, but I think claiming we’re all “devoid of empathy” is a stretch.

          • Jim S

            It was only him who did something wrong and she did nothing wrong? This is insanity. Again, where is your outrage towards Cristina Garcia? You may have empty, but recognize most of the metoo mob did not, and they piled on. You can change society without destroying people. I actually don’t think you have any empathy.

          • Jim S

            Thank you. Rose McGowan’s former agent just committed suicide after being shamed for not doing more to help Rose. Does anybody even care that this mother lost her life?

          • Jim S

            Besides twitter, I have replied on very few articles. My motives are not what you may think. I knew a man who was publically shamed, didn’t deserve it, and took his life. People think that if one doesn’t lose their job that public humiliation is harmless, but have no idea what it does to ones mental health, it can scar it permanently.
            And why shouldn’t I name this girl. No crime was committed and she is not under shield laws (only babe is required to protect their source). She named Aziz with the sole purpose of publically shaming him, so with that being her intent, isn’t it just that she be subject to the same scrutiny. Maybe being named will deter frivolous revenge porn, shouldn’t deter speaking of real events.

            As for the conversation, I am for it, but it is tainted when it is started in this fashion until a lot of you speak up and ask that Aziz not be demonized. In such a conversation, it has to be how can we improve together, not only how men can improve while women have zero accountability for bad sex. If you bite your lip to not offend a man, dlyou cannot blame men for that exclusively, that is on you to. 9f we recognize this is a team sport, then it will be a worthwhile conversation.

        • Haley Nahman

          This comment’s been moderated.

    • Frenchmochi

      I also feel that the article’s first intent was to destroy. It felt like a bunch of petty people trying to find the best way to take down a famous, successful person, rather than enlightened individuals trying to educate the public.

      • Jim S

        There is actually proof of this. Her friends tweeted in November to clear their schedules for the takedown. Then on the day it happened, they replied to that weet “ah, on schedule”. It was a malicious attack, and based on the evidence, it had nothing to do with the times up pin he wore at golden globes, that was a last minute addition to the article.

        • Kattigans

          That is sickening.

          • Jim S

            Look for a tweet from @laurenhov on January 14. Look what it is reply to (a tweet from November). Note that almost all the girls that like the original tweet from November all follow Abby Nierman (locked account so the couldn’t have just started following her).

          • Kattigans

            I found some stuff on google that shows screenshots of some tweets she posted of her mentioning Aziz early on while #metoo was just getting started. Then found another post from a women who says she knows one of the girls best friends and heard the story before it was in babe and that the two don’t match up…this is really concerning and disturbing.

          • Jim S

            I know of the tweet you mentioned. It shows she was angry. But the tweet I reference show is was a preplanned and coordinated attack and that she lied about the times up pin being the driver. Do you know how the two stories don’t match up? Do you know the handle of the tweeter that told you that?

          • Kattigans

            It wasn’t a tweet but a comment on a website called the dirty. Comment says: Interesting. I was told the “Real” story according to one of her friends on the 14th. I took it with a grain of salt. Now, all of the info that is just NOW coming out.. There’s no way she could have known that without having some sort of connection to her. She knew where she lived . She specifically told me she was dating someone else while she was on the date with Aziz, and the only thing she complained about Aziz was he didn’t let her select the wine. She said, that she is an opportunist and would not have spun this story had he not won the Golden Globe. This is all alleged.

          • Kattigans

            I have no clue what’s or real or not and for me it doesn’t diminish from my thoughts about the story but if this was premeditated well then that’s just completely sick. And just gives people who already were backlashing against the story the ability to say “see this is a witch hunt”

          • Jim S

            I am confused, just checked your twitter (seeing if you replied to the story you were referencing above), and you beat up on Bari Weiss for her article. Did you have a change of heart?

          • Kattigans

            Why does it feel like you’re going after me by bringing up my twitter account? And yes, I think Bari Weiss’s story was trash and extremely condescending. Her story doesn’t represent how I feel. I think there is an important dialogue to be had rather than taking the “easy” route to shirk this off as “oh its a bad date, stop crying” which is what she does. She cherrypicks the Babe story and misrepresents details to fit with her argument and that only creates further confusion. This story is being made into a “who’s right and who’s wrong” whereas I think both parties are wrong. That being said, doesn’t diminish how Grace may have felt and how this could be a good moment for Aziz and other men who’ve acted similarly to examine their behavior. Same for women. No one is perfect here and no was right in this story.

          • Jim S

            It just seemed inconsistent with the thread, but I see now where you are coming from. Grace would completely have my empathy if she kept his name anonymous. I agree it was both their fault. If she wanted Aziz just to learn, what she should have done is publish with his name protected, then texted him the link and tell him that he was the subject of the article. That would have made him shit his pants going forward and examine his behavior going forward. Only she wasn’t interested in that, she was interested in ruining him. Caitlin Flanagan is 100% correct on this point, it was revenge porn.

            From his text to her, it reads like he really didn’t see her as uncomfortable and seemed remorseful and really seemed to take her feelings to heart. One can be made to learn from making what seems to be an honest mistake without having to be destroyed. If we drive change through the destruction of people for a societal issue it will sow further mistrust between men and women. We don’t need that right now. If women tell men, you are awful and you must change, we will dig in our heels. If you say, lets change together, we will say we are happy to help. This won’t work if we destroy men who were well intentioned but sloppy.

          • Kattigans

            That aligns with what I wrote in my own comment on this article. It was reckless journalism and if you dig into Babe.net’s history and backstory of existence then it damages the story’s credibility even more. I ignored Caitlin Flanagan’s piece so no comment but have read soundbites taken from it.

          • Jim S

            Aside from the reckless babe article, do you not think the rest of the media and metoo piled on unfairly. Babe may have started it in bad faith, but the movements reaction to it was to me even more unforgivable. If the all said, let’s not demonize Aziz, we continue to support him and his career, but let’s all learn from this, it would have been okay. But the pile on of the media op-eds and twitter feminists in demonizing Aziz was even worse than what babe did. Metoo abused their new power, and in my opinion, many, myself included, have lost faith in the movement over this one incident of abuse of power. I am not alone.

          • Kattigans

            I think we are living in very dangerous times with information, media, content and messaging. I think feminism and the idea of feminism has yo-yo’d to such a hardcore realm now that even as a woman, and I consider myself a feminist, its like I feel like I can’t even voice my own criticism about people’s behavior if they just so happen to be a woman. This expectation that “lets always believe a victim” I think comes from good faith because for decades women have not been believed but in a matter of months its spiraled out of control because we now have a judge, jury, and jail in the court of public opinion and the effects are a disaster as evidenced by the Aziz story. PC culture is becoming extreme, and now everyone who’s anyone can say “well I’m a victim because I say so”. We are weaponizing empathy without realizing the damage. I can’t comment on the media piling on because I know of many outlets that did not buy into the Babe story. I think the story caused a very polarizing reaction which was interesting. I read some really good tweets and comments on a few NYT opinion pieces – including those on Bari’s. And I do think this sparked an interesting topic. I live in California in one of the most liberal cities in the US and even here the conversation exploded with many liberal women I know being outraged that this story was even being labeled as assault. I don’t think its fair to lump this into Metoo, and I’m not sure what power, Metoo abused. I think that there were people who were trying to lump this story into those exposed by metoo but I also think metoo was originally started as a way to express “that yes I’ve been harassed/assaulted/raped” too without having to share a story. The Weinstein scandal, in my understanding, just picked up on that hashtag and co-opted it or was it the other way around? I think Metoo is good. I think this babe piece could have been good or least lead us into a new necessary conversation (and in so many ways it did). I hope the world becomes a better place bc of this dialogue. I also hope that extremism curbs – part of me says that’s not happening. But I do believe you can’t build a movement on fear. Everyone is part of the system and is a victim of it (the patriarchy, sexism, misogyny). These are learned behaviors and thoughts – just like racism. In order to dismantle a system it has to be understood that some people are not strong enough to overcome it and need our help, and that those who are strong enough to speak out about it need our help. Allies on all fronts is what’s necessary, not a trial for anyone who’s ever failed victim to it (unless obviously they’ve committed a crime).

          • Kattigans

            Excuse all the typos btw. Long day at work.

          • Jim S

            It has lost some power. It still has a large blowhorn, but less are listening to what metoo has to say because of its excesses.

          • Kattigans

            I can respect that and can see that as true..I’m curious to see how the rest of 2018 shapes up in response to what broke at the end of last year.

          • Jim S

            You have laid out an excellent and fair position. Some food for thought (not to give you a hard time, I see this as a learning debate and you make an excellent individual to learn from). To put this on context, I am from Canada.

            You make an excellent point that you cannot build a movement on fear. I believe this is how Trump came to power in your country, a silent backlash on the excesses of political correctness. He had a lot of silent supporters because dissent against political correctness was punished swiftly and absolutely ( think the backlash against Weiss and Roiphe). Seems few have learned the lesson of driving dissenting opinions underground. This event is doing the same, most of metoo’s detractors are doing so silently because they are afraid of being shamed (remember what they did to Matt Damon), so you have no idea what your support is nor how to bring dissenters onboard.

            A second point you made: “I think metoo is good”. One correction, “I think metoo was good”. It was good until it was highjacked by the extremists and weaponize for non criminal behaviour. For every 1 article against babe, there were 10 in support (I followed very carefully). It is no longer Ashley Judd’s or Rose McGoean’s show. It is now dominated by the Jessica Valenti’s, Emily Linden’s, and other full time Twitter extremists of this world. While they piled on Aziz, they completely ignored Cristina Garcia. She was a metoo leader, a much more prominent role than Aziz’s times up pin (she was part of Times people of the year for her role in metoo). She groped two men that she had power over (Aziz had no power over Abby). She clearly did not have any reasonable indication of consent (while questionable, there is a case to be made that Aziz had reason to believe he had consent). And men being sexually assaulted too by women of power opens a much more important dimension to metoo than a sloppy attempt at seduction. Moral equivalency demands that we are more outraged at Garcia than we were with Aziz. But it hasn’t happened. The op-eds have been silent. The metoo highjackers have been silent. Why? Proves that metoo have lost their moral authority given their ignoring of the Garcia case. Proves that they are more interested in scalping men than they are with moral and social justice. This shows a backlash is needed to correct metoo’s direction. It will need brave women like yourself ( no pressure) to fight back against these excesses to save the movement from implosion.

            Please note that what I write to you in good faith. I highly respect your intelligence and thoughtfulness and I write to you with respect, even though I challenge you. You are an honorable advocate of needed change, thank you.

          • Kattigans

            I can respect debate and challenges as long as they’re respectful and rational. The other day I commented on an article on MR about Kylie Jenner having her baby and releasing a vid about the baby and how this baby vid coupled with her birth announcement showed her maturity. I wrote a challenging comment to this piece and claimed I didn’t think she was mature and felt she’d had the baby to fill a void (just based off how she’s presented her that’s where I’d come to my conclusions – true or not just is an opinion.) and OMG the amount of women who jumped on me for “judging another woman” was ruthless. But I had far more supporters. But my point being, I felt like I couldn’t even express a differing opinion (not like I called her a whore or a trashy mother) about the topic and person being written about bc she is a woman. And the arguments against me were so nonsensical. It drives me bonkers. Its like critical thinking is dead and hysteria is the new norm.

            TBH I try to stay off the media (except sometimes visit the NYT) just because there too many bombs exploding every day in the news that its hard to keep up. I don’t know too much about Garcia to comment. I’ll have to look up the story. But completely agree that Linden’s tweets were insane. I hope though that extremist like that are pushed out by others who challenge them like how Jake Tapper (who I respect). I don’t look at extremist as the norm as I’ve read some really reasonable responses that share my perspective about metoo and Babe. I like the article by Anna Silman on The Cut. As she says, we’re in a wild west of trying to determine what punishment fits what crime. And part of what will help is responsible journalism and reporting. But for me, despite the dire consequences that do need cleaning up, if we’re going to cont. on this path – I think for the first time ever, people are talking about some very hard, messy subjects that taint every aspect of our culture. People are actually taking these stories seriously, even if Grace’s story, is problematic in and off itself. 5 years ago, this wouldn’t have happened. When I was in college, conversations like this weren’t happening. I was out of school once the large pushed for sexual assault education and care started happening on campuses and when Brock Taylor’s story broke. I’ve been sexually assaulted and it wasn’t until 2 years after it happened, after reading the victim impact statement from Brock Taylor’s case, did I even realize what had happened to me and that it had a name. No one talked about these things and no one knew what they were. Rape was always presented as something very scary and like “you will know if you were raped” or you’ll be drugged and then be raped. Examining the types of power that operate in sexual situations for men and women is very important and I’m glad that these conversations are happening. I hope that we can move into a new conversation and I think Metoo has helped push us there. The conversations about power, consent, verbalizing what you want and don’t want, bad sex, why bad sex happens, and talk about the social pressure put on women to please men and what consequences that can have -for both me and women. Women internalize a need to please (I know I’ve experienced it before) and having internalized that message and then acquiescing can lead to something that makes them feel rotten inside.

            But I do respect your points about moral equivalence and would hope that the message of sexually assault is never okay no matter who commits it will stand firm. Extremists will exist in any group, and do think women who are not in support of extreme feminism owe it to ourselves to speak up against it.

            **excuse all typos – don’t have the wear to go back and edit**

          • Jim S

            Oh please read up on the Garcia case. I am shocked at how it is being downplayed and not picked up by the major media.

            I am sad to hear of your experiences, from our conversation I see you are someone who should be admired and cherished, and if the person who hurt you was someone you trusted, he destroyed a chance for a relationship with a special girl.

            I am glad you have found relief in metoo. Please be part of the chorus that will help reign in its excesses. Be warned that because of the Aziz scandal, men quietly stopped listening (google #mentorher and why this is needed) because they saw it evolve from a movement against monsters to a weapon against all men (they won’t admit it openly but most are saying it privately). So while metoo starts all these new conversations, it does nothing if metoo only speaks to itself, and falls on the ears of deaf men because we are now covering our ears. When metoo (for non crimes) replaces its scalpel with a warm heart, we may just rejoin the conversation, and this is necessary for meaningful change. Metoo should show goodwill with its masses asking for the redemption of Aziz despite his mistakes, because men are angry about this one and have no reason to trust metoo until we see this goodwill.

            Godspeed

          • Kattigans

            It happened a long time ago when I was 21. I’ve luckily healed and moved forward. I’ve had similar conversations with my dad about metoo (and my mom) so I do understand. I have a really loving boyfriend and we’ve had conversations too. Luckily, there are good men and women in my life that I’ve learned from in this entire debacle.

          • Jim S

            Happy that you moved past your experience and your boyfriend is a lucky man. Make sure you tell him when he does not treat you right 🙂

            I have a loving wife of 10+ years and a 9 year old daughter. Of course I care about about this, of course iiwant my daughter to be safe. I just think that it has to be done right. I will ensure I teach my daughter to be open and explicit, and only do things once a level of trust has been built up. This tinder culture is dangerous.

          • Kattigans

            Thanks! And yes, he knows he’s lucky as am I. I’m glad to see concern for your daughter and wife. This is so important and I wish more men were openly open minded like you’re displaying. The tinder world is so dangerous! I’ve stayed away from dating apps, but have had some funny experiences when I’ve used then. I prefer to meet people in person and in most instances that requires some vulnerability.

          • Haley Nahman

            Your comment has been moderated.

          • Kay

            When you say Aziz was sloppy at seduction, what do you mean? What is good seduction?

          • Jim S

            It was clumsy, unattractive, and creepy. But definately not coercion, definately not assault, and most definitely does not warrant the destruction of his life.

          • Jim S

            It was clumsy, unattractive, and creepy. It was definately not coercion, definately not assault, and most definately did not warrant his life’s destruction.

            Good seduction depends on the couple. Some think vanilla, some think 50 shades of grey, you won’t know till you get to know each other, so on a first date, both sides have to be open and explicit or miscommunications can happen, as it happened here.

          • Kay

            what you wrote about good seduction sounds like the definition of consensual sex. To you, do you see a difference between seduction and sex? I’m asking bc it’s interesting that you chose the description “sloppy seduction” for Aziz, not “sloppy consensual sex” or “sloppy sex”, and I think you are on to something.

          • Jim S

            Seduction could be flirting, it could be letting, it could be foreplay. Was the foreplay (they didn’t have sex) consentual, by all indication it was, but she is saying that she was giving cues that she didn’t want to even though she implied consent with her actions. I think she intended sex but either she got turned of with Aziz’s style of foreplay or she realized there would be no second date, that he only saw her as a hookup.

          • Jim S

            That can’t be real because we know from the tweet I mentioned that this would have happened whether he won the Golden Globe or not. The timing was already set.

          • Haley Nahman

            This comment’s been removed. Removing comments is not something we like to do, or often, however we will not hesitate to do so if the situation warrants it. Man Repeller is a place to share different perspectives and thoughtful dialogue. Thanks for your continued support of that mission.

    • Haley Nahman

      This comment has been removed. Removing comments is not something we like to do, or often, however we will not hesitate to do so if the situation warrants it. Man Repeller is a place to share different perspectives and thoughtful dialogue. Thank you for your continued support of that mission.

      • Frenchmochi

        Hi, is it possible to know why you are removing those comments? The conversation is interesting!

        • Haley Nahman

          See our featured comment above, thank you!

  • Jessica

    This still remains my favourite video around consent:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQbei5JGiT8

    It’s cheeky but very straightforward, and good place to start a conversation with young people.

  • Leelo

    Maybe instead of just trying to change men so much we should also think about changing women. I just can’t get past the fact that she didn’t SAY she doesn’t want to have sex. Maybe if more women weren’t afraid of an awkward situation and learned how to verbally say “NO, I don’t want this” it would be a lot easier. For both sides.

    We were brought up to be inoffensive and polite but I think that it’s on us now to try and change that. It’s gonna be a long way if we just keep saying that men should read signals and always ask. I mean sure, they could (and should). But isn’t it just easier if we make sure they understand us? That we just say no? End of story?
    OF COURSE, this doesn’t apply to all situations. But I’m pretty sure that Grace’s story would’ve ended (differently) if she said no.

    • Jim S

      I agree. To me, this whole event was caused by a failure in 2 way communication, the responsibility lied with both of them. That one was destroyed through public humiliation via metoo who protected Abby Nierman shows that this was was not handled fairly, and if metoo is not seen as wielding its power responsibility, its support will implode.

      • Haley Nahman

        Hi – this comment has been removed. Removing comments is not something we like to do, or often, however we will not hesitate to do so if the situation warrants it. Man Repeller is a place to share different perspectives and thoughtful dialogue. Thanks for your continued support of that mission.

  • Betul

    I am glad to see quite a few comments that say this Aziz story is ridiculous and reject “Grace”‘s claim that she was sexually harassed by him. I read the original “Grace” interview and I couldn’t believe she was given a platform to tell her story under the protection of anonymity while the guy was exposed so unfairly. I want to add my two cents with a few short points that come to my mind:

    1. If women go on at this rate and blame men for the bad decisions they have made, we will have a generation of men walking on eggshells not knowing whether to approach/flirt with/make a move on women.

    2. The tendency I see in some members of the young generation of always blaming someone else for the regrettable decisions they have made needs to stop. Stop playing the victim and deal with the consequences of your actions!

    3. Yes, there are people who use their power to get what they want from you and some of us will fall victim to them in different ways and later we will say to ourselves “Why did I do this? Why did I let them use me or make me to things I did not want to do?”. This usual happens in much subtler ways but come on, if the guy is putting you on the kitchen counter and going down on you that is not very subtle, is it?

    4. I will sound old-fashioned and will probably be accused of victim blaming but, people, don’t put yourselves in a vulnerable situation. In an ideal world, everyone will be honorable and good and all that but we don’t live in an ideal world and it is our responsibility to be careful and protect ourselves. Obviously, this does not apply to the Aziz Ansari case as I do not believe a crime was committed but I wanted to make my point anyway.

    5. Providing anonymity to the accusing side and not to the accused, at least until their guilt is proven is not fair. This allows anyone to come out and sling mud without any consequences. Kudos to Aziz for not exposing the identity of this woman.

    6. I actually do not know much about Aziz Ansari and this was pretty much the first I have heard him but just because he wanted to have sex with a woman who was making obvious attempts to attract his attention does not necessarily make him a hypocrite because he previously supported feminism. Do we expect men to be celibate out of respect for women’s rights?

    • Kattigans

      Bravo – I wrote a comment of my own but you hit on so many points I’ve thought about after this debacle and after having had several discussions with both men and women. I think Aziz Ansari was a jerk for how he treated this woman but IMO that’s between her and him. People can be one way in their private life and another in their public. His way of going about having sex with her was gross to me but maybe that’s what he’s into? Anyways, not the point but yes to 1-6. This is a distraction and came across like a smear campaign. This was clearly a misalignment of expectations, not a young man on the hunt to abuse and use someone.

    • Jim S

      I am not Aziz, I will openly expose her as Abby Nierman. There has to be a deterrent against smearing with frivolous charges without consequence.

      • Haley Nahman

        This comment has been removed. Removing comments is not something we like to do, or do often, however we will not hesitate to do so if the situation warrants it. Man Repeller is a place to share different perspectives and thoughtful dialogue. Thanks for your continued support of that mission.

    • beckly

      1. Good. The men who might ‘walk on eggshells’ will be the men who don’t want to learn to communicate more respectfully. The men who do want to learn will get ALL the sex. Win win.
      2. This article not is about blaming but unpacking language and action for better understanding.
      3. We will never know exactly what happened in this particular case but it is the ensuing conversation that is useful, not the details.
      4. I think you mean women here, not people. So, victim blaming. Not buying that sorry.
      5. It’s not a court. It’s the internet. He’s powerful. She’s not.
      6. You are very worried about men not getting sex from women – see 1. I’m very happy with the idea that any man that doesn’t respect women’s rights should be celibate. See Samantha Bee/ziplock bag.

      • Betul

        “I think you mean women here, not people. So, victim blaming. Not buying that sorry.”

        1. I said “people” not “women”. Don’t twist my words and put words I didn’t use into my mouth.

        2. Don’t apologize. It undermines the statement of your opinion.

        “You are very worried about men not getting sex from women”

        Really?

  • Emily

    I really appreciate this article and perspective. I’ve been in situations where I continued into sexual situations/encounters that weren’t what I would have done if our culture raised women to think — do I truly want this, with this person, right now — and to act based on our answers to those questions. Even when I started dating my boyfriend, I would also sometimes say yes to sex even if I wasn’t feeling it, because of some internal pressure, or idea that that’s what it meant to date someone and to be a good girlfriend. It took him saying to me, I want you to always be into it, and WANT to do it, for me to realize that was a healthy approach to sex with a partner. I think in this moment it would be valuable for us to readdress how we teach and talk about good sex (ENTHUSIASTIC consent, y’all!).

    I also think there’s another thought missing, which is that we may all have culpability, even unknowingly. Even in my own past as a straight woman i can think of an example in which someone expressed discomfort about me being too touchy with them, although I was just acting the same with them that I did with all my friends. I learned then that even in non-sexual situations, people have different boundaries, and you can cross them without knowing or intending to. if this current moment made me revisit that experience – I’m sure many men and women are feeling the same. I’d like to hear more of that conversation. I read somewhere that the real change from this moment will come from people being more aware of their individual actions. in order to do that we need to allow people to think/talk about their experiences.

  • Caroline Christianson

    The art here throughout this piece is absolutely phenomenal

  • Emily Michaelis

    after Aziz, my best friend and I talked about all of this, several times. I was soo disappointed we seemed to be the only ones wanting to have this conversation. Thank you, Meghan.

  • mia |-/

    I’ve been trying to put words to this since I had a similar experience the day before the Ansari story broke. I couldn’t articulate how it was bad, to say the least, and even though I consented intially, it’s a misogynst system that allows hookup culture to continue working in men’s favor because we don’t unpack this language enough. Thank you for writing this, Meghan.

    • Jim S

      Wait, you consented initially and a misogynist system was at fault. Did you withdraw your consent after giving it? Hook-up culture is not men’s faults, as far as I can tell, women join Tinder of their own free will. Stop blaming everyone else. We all have a responsibility, men and women alike, and we have to talk to each other.

      • mia |-/

        If you read Meghan’s article, her point is that women feel uncomfortable or unable to say stop when in the heat of a moment only the other person is enjoying. It’s not always safe to just change your mind. I didn’t blame him, I blame the system that teaches him it’s fine to not care about my enjoyment of a sexual experience. My point is that just because a bad sexual experience wasn’t assault doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be examined. Sex isn’t black and white.

        • Jim S

          So then why did metoo have to destroy him? It was as much her fault as his. In certain circumstances it may not be safe to change your mind, I get that, but it was not the case here. She clearly was not scared to say no to intercourse. When she said a clear no, he called her a Uber. Do you believe it is credible that she would not be afraid to say no to intercourse but be afraid to say no to foreplay? Do you honestly believe her feeling of safety drove her behavior in this case?

          If a woman is uncomfortable to say stop in the heat of the moment because the other person is enjoying it and you don’t want to hurt his feelings, I am sorry, that is on you.

          Take a virgin bride on her wedding night, she cannot possibly project enthusiasm or enthusiastic consent. She doesn’t know what is needed for her personal enjoyment. She will project a nervous women unsure of what is supposed to happen. And the first time she probably wont even enjoy it. So if they consummate the marriage, is the groom guilty of whatever metoo are all accusing Aziz of?

          You blame the system but you are part of that system, this is a team sport. If you can’t say no then you should not be dating. If your bf does not care about your enjoyment of a sexual experience, isn’t telling him the best solution? If he doesn’t listen you dump him, not destroy him. It’s a first date, you won’t know each others preferences, you have to communicate explicitly or there could be a miscommunication in good faith. So yes, it should be examined, but in privacy privacy between the man and the women about their relationship, not in the press for the sole purpose of destroying a man guilty only of a sloppy seduction attempt.

  • Kattigans

    I can respect Meghan’s POV, but Grace did send mixed signals. I think he was a dick in many respects but if she didn’t want to be there then she could have left. She could have voiced her expectations early on like by saying “hey I want to get to know you and am not comfortable having sex when I first meet someone”. For all we know, because of what she told Babe, no she didn’t do that. I hate having to question her but the story IMO shows blame on both sides.

    I’ve talked to a lot of men and women about this story and all of them agreed (of course with some variations of opinion) that what happened here is 1) a product of hook up culture, 2) the dating landscape can be just as confusing for men as it is women (I’ve had guy friends who were told by girls that they lost interest because my guy friend wasn’t aggressive enough!), 3) what happened between the two of them was clearly a misalignment in expectations.

    I’m very much a feminist but I also think that women have to take responsibility for the decisions we make. She chose to undress herself, she chose to have oral sex, and she chose to stay. I’m not looking to chastise her and say “oh this is all your fault” but the onus is not entirely on Aziz Ansari. Do I think we have some work to do on talking about how men and women can respect one another’s boundaries? Absolutely. Do I think women need to learn to feel okay and warranted in speaking up for our own wants and needs? Yes! Some of this docile behavior and unworthiness felt by women when it comes to sex and pleasure is ingrained from social rearing. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t have agency at the end of the day.

    He for sure is an asshole and his behavior should be examined as well (as it already has). The entire situation is extremely unfortunate but I don’t think it was very fair of her to expose him and this story the way she did while keeping herself anonymous. He does not deserve to have his career completely decimated over this, especially because this is not a woman he works with and there is no crime. I understand that there is a spectrum of pain but she partook and then now plays the victim card? I just don’t really buy it.

    • Kattigans

      Might I also add, to loosely quote Dave Chappelle: With fear you will not reach a lasting peace.

  • Maia

    At first, I was a little surprised to see this nearly a month after the initial story was published, but after reading, I just wanted to say thank you, Man Repeller, for featuring this really good piece by Meghan Nesmith and making sure this story isn’t just a flash in the pan generated by celebrity obsession, but instead a marker on the path of a continuing conversation and push for change.

    PS. This comment section doesn’t feel much like the Man Repeller space I’ve grown to know and love 🙁

  • kay

    the thing that really stood out to me in grace’s story, which is also the thing that so many posters here and elsewhere have criticized, is her ongoing surprise and disbelief that aziz didn’t understand what she wanted, and i think this reveals something that a lot of women experience at around grace’s age- that men’s (especially older men’s) sexual expectations and aggression are very very different from young women’s. at grace’s age, she probably had very little first-hand in-person experience with it. at that age i just could not believe that older men really expected and wanted sex this way. like, i just really couldn’t believe it. it was so far from my own understanding of sex and from my previous experience with boyfriends who cared about me. i actually laughed at a couple men i dated because i was like, you can’t really be serious that you think we are going to do that right now. and the shock that older men were talking to me like i was going to be interested in sex with a stranger (which is still baffling but no longer shocking). for the posters who are saying she just should have left, sure, a more experienced woman might have handled it better. but this was obviously *obviously* (given the way she recounted the story) so far from her experience and sexual imagination that it sounds like she just couldn’t believe he was really doing it, that he really wanted what he actually wanted. it is such a demoralizing and dehumanizing experience to realize that men like and want sex without intimacy and collaboration, even without desire on the woman’s side- for me it took several depressing experiences before i accepted this was a real and true thing about men. you hear about this as a teenager, but until you experience it first hand it’s hard to imagine or prepare for being dehumanized in that way. grace is not unusual for being surprised, and she’s not wrong to want better from men- especially older men dealing with younger women- dan savage’s campsite rule comes to mind, aziz. i have accepted that men’s sexuality is different from mine, but i do not accept that they can’t handle their sexuality considerately. men can do better, and many do.
    ps. this is not to say that women have no sex drive or aggression, or that no women like sex with strangers.

  • Yvonne Poole

    So glad now that I stopped having sex at all!

  • Jeanie

    There’s another point that no one talks about. Sometime a person might try to overlook an inappropriate action, because they are attracted to the other person. Call it wishful thinking. It’s not till later that you might realize you were lying to yourself in the moment, that what that person was doing was fine when it wasn’t. But then is it too late to call them out on it?

  • Monique

    Once I brought up how Aziz had let me down because of his bedside manor and overly aggressive sexual mannerisms and a boy I was speaking to at the time decided to mansplain to me how Aziz was innocent and Grace was ‘full of shit’ and ended it with saying that Aziz didn’t let him down at all. That should have been a red flag but later on when we were intimate the first thing I thought when I left his apartment was – now I get why you relate to Aziz so much.

  • Joey

    So happy you included thoughts from Jeannie Suk! Her article “The Sex Bureaucracy” in the California Law Review is a must-read and incredibly relevant.

  • Anthony Trevino

    Before ANY attempt at communication, a contract should be provided by a mediator. This way both parties agree on all the technicalities up front. This way no one gets hurt in any shape or form. It will save both parties alot of grief.

  • Mareike Borkowski

    “I think about the moments I realized that our expectations of the night
    had diverged and that the effort required to extract myself seemed
    exhausting, risking violence at worst, annoyance at best. Allowing the
    act to take place would be easier, making whatever noises and
    contortions would get him off fastest. It’s a strange kind of
    detachment, unsettling and sad, to look up at a man and realize he has
    no idea you’re there.”

    This resonates with me so much. I’ve found myself in so many situations like that and every time I kinda think: How did I end up here? Although the right thought would probably be: Why can’t he see that I’m not really into this? With some men I felt like I was a faceless pair of tits and a vagina. I’m also always baffled by when they think they can just do anything to you without asking first (spaking, choking etc.) just because you consented to sleeping with them. Or that they’re entitled to a second round just because I said yes before. Had to almost shout at one guy to let go of me because he thought I was just being playful in the morning. I thought I had made it pretty clear when I said: “No stop that, I’m too hungover” but he kept me from getting up until I shoved at him. All of this has made me really wary about taking guys home these days and that makes me sad because I enjoy sex.

    • RoxanaT

      I’m so sorry you had similar experiences, and I think you should definitely talk to somebody about it, to figure out at the very least, why it keeps repeating.

      The guys you describe seem to be morons in the best case and future serious abusers in the worst case. But for your own sake, please try to figure out why you are not leaving the encounters earlier.

      And by all means tell them they were making you uncomfortable, tell younger girls to stay away from guys like that. But I also appreciate you not naming them here.

  • I have so many thoughts about this, but I do agree with a lot of what Meghan has so beautiful written. Consent is such a difficult and confusing thing that brings up all the trouble we have of communicating about sex. How could two people have such drastically different experiences in the same night? The more opinion pieces I’ve read about this story, the more I recognize that it was a messy encounter, where both sides could have done a better job communicating their wants. Aziz definitely should have paid attention to her requests and stopped pursuing her, but Grace should have also been more clear about her needs. I kept asking myself why she stayed even when she was unhappy, I kept coming back to the idea that she wanted something from him. Either a connection, a chance at a relationship, or a romantic evening, I felt like she didn’t leave because she was anticipating some advantage to being there. I absolutely think Aziz, like a lot of men, need to recognize when they’re too sexually aggressive to notice whether their partner is enjoying themselves, but Grace should have also had the confidence and wherewithal to leave when she wasn’t interested in having relations. This story reminded me so much of Cat Person, and that whole discussion about a girl needing the approval of a man in a relationship, regardless of whether it’s satisfying for them or not.

    Eva | http://www.shessobright.com

    • Jim S

      This is the best post of the whole thread. It is fair and balanced. Bravo.

  • Jules Harding

    Thank you for this important message!!!

  • Haley Nahman

    Removing comments is not something we like to do, or do often, however we will not hesitate to do so if the situation warrants it. We fully support thoughtful discourse and the sharing of varied viewpoints, and cherish that Man Repeller is a place where that happens, but this platform is not one for outing private citizens who wish to remain anonymous. Thanks for your continued support of that mission.

    • You seem to have removed many comments of mine where I refer to the girl only as “Grace”, which is the name she chose to use in the publication. How is that classified as “outing of private citizens”?

  • Annie

    I think it’s important to discuss both bad sex and sexual assault in a way that is honest and honors womens’ experiences, but it is also important to remember that because of the subtlety of both coercion and non-verbal consent, bad sex is not necessarily something we should single out men for. Should we discuss our experiences? Most definitely. Should we compare our experiences to the trauma of someone who experiences a rape of any kind, or the perpetrator who commits that crime? I don’t think so. There’s a difference between being aware of the problem and treating the problem as if it is the equal of a different epidemic, and I think it’s important that we separate these two dialogues so that both can garner individual places in our greater public discussions…

    • Jim S

      Also important, we should condemn the demonization of Aziz in all this. If this does not occur, then many of us will feel like any changes are forced through threat of public shaming.

  • EmilyWilson

    WOW. This is not just an article full of excellent, thought-provoking points, it’s also spectacularly good writing. I really like how you used the Ansari case as a springboard to reflect on a whole host of mechanisms (power, gender, media, etc.) that are producing the present cultural moment. It’s easy to get so caught up in the details of a case like that (i.e., how guilty was he? what should she have done?) that we miss the bigger picture: that the assault and harassment cases that we’re witnessing now are the product of a certain set of historical, political, and social dynamics. Thanks for inviting us to consider the big picture and kudos for such a clear, thoughtful piece.

    • Jim S

      Obviously the one mechanism the article failed to address is agency and that this is a dual responsibility for both men and women. I would like to have read that demonizing Aziz was wrong and both were at fault.

  • Jim S

    Haley Nahman, celebrities are also private citizens, and I am sure Aziz would wish to remain anonymous in this story as well, but it was okay for him to be outed by Abby Nierman and okay for you to continue to out him. If your argument is that his name is already in the public domain, well so is hers. Please explain the double standard?

    • H

      Oh my god I can’t believe you need it explained to you. You must be a man: the ‘double standard’ is that he is a public figure who has profited in every sense from a career specialising in authenticity, aspirational equality and social-liberal political momentum. She is a young girl with delusions of romance who believed his private persona would be congruent with his public one.
      While we are on the note of ‘double standards’ how about the one on the internet where people with the least valuable things to contribute are the most vitriolic, or the one where those in power leap to condemn a vulnerable person rather than taking a moment to reflect on what it says about their contribution to society? I would tell you what an idiot you sound like, but you are the kind of person who cannot hear people when they speak.

      • Jim S

        So you are demonstrating that my messages are not being deleted for the reasons described, and that you are not an impartial moderator (if you are Haley (if not, apologies to Haley).
        Yes his personal was different than in real, as are most celebrities. That does not warrant global humiliation.

        Young girl with delusions of romance? You must be joking. This is the same girl who hit on Aziz while on a date with someone else. The same girl who complained about the wine being white. She is no innocent lamb and went after him for his celebrity, not his persona. She had already orchestrated the takedown before he wore the times up pin, which means she is also a liar. Sure Aziz was a cad, but to say her behaviour was not flawed is outrageous.

        Your second diatribe is equally flawed. No one was more vitriolic than the people demonizing Aziz. Meanwhile, not one of them condemned Cristina Garcia whose actions are worse than Aziz, whose has profited from feminism more than Aziz, who had a greater age difference than what Aziz had with “Grace”, and who actually had power over them. And at least Ansari had some indication of consent, Garcia clearly did not. So if we want to talk double standard, where are your tears for Garcia’s ‘survivors”.

        Indo condemn her and she is not vulnerable. She decided to take this to the public sphere, she could have told her story while keeping his name out. However, her goal was not to start a conversation, it was to impart the most brutal revenge as she could in the way the article was written. She could have made the contribution to society without, destroying a man, if she wanted to. Look how effective Cat woman was. Donwe have to create a villain to have a conversation, if so, that is warped thinking, because it encourages us to create villains for a cause. Call me an idiot all you want, but if you want to have this debate, you will have to do it on merit, not name calling.

  • H

    I think the assumption of these eternal power dynamics can be explained very simply: you wouldn’t expect someone to give you their money if they say they don’t want to, or to spend time with you at a picnic if they keep saying they want to leave. You would modify your behaviour at the least. But libido surges and this man loses his ears. Maybe she would have wanted to sleep with him if he had been a little less self absorbed, aggressive and unsophisticated- Misguided fantasies imbue reality all the time. This is an example of many men’s self-righteous sense that what they want in the moment overrides all else. This is why the discussion is pertinent to MeToo: not to illuminate the issue of consent, but to illustrate the jaded dynamics of power. He treated her existence as an accessory to his.

    I am a feminist (what is the word for a man believing in his species for the common good of all beings?) and an absurd optimist, but in my own life I have found the only solution to minimise the tirade of inevitable misogyny is to cultivate financial autonomy in my outer life and a rich spiritual inner life: no one can fuck with you there haha and no one has a clue what is going on inside your citadel unless you extend an invitation. I actually love men but our granddaughters will be having this same conversation in 100 years. It is for this reason Elena Ferrante says it is a battle to be fought afresh each generation.

    • Jim S

      Seriously, what power did he have over her? You are making things up to suit your narrative. She acted in a manner that projected consent to foreplay and states for the article that she projected non verbal cues. How well did she project this? Mumbling wasn’t it?

      So how does you financial autonomy remove the issue described here? You are more willing to say no to an act you didn’t want.

      I agree that Aziz probably would have gotten sex of he was more of a gentlemen, probably role played 50 shades of grey with another girl. So he was lousy at being a lover (not something to be condemned for), and she bit her lip and went along with it. And then has the audacity to tell the press about not only her supposed discomfort, but his sexual moves?

      If he treated her as an accessory, she was using him for his fame. The same girl who pursued him while on a date with another man. Wanna be social climber who went ape when she realized he was not interested in a relationship. He was not a good man that night, all of us have days we are not proud of, does not mean what she did to him with the article was cruel and not justified.

  • Jim S

    While i criticize many posts here, I admit that this article tries to be balanced. I do take exception to a few refernces that equate this to assault, it clearly was not. Obviously the one mechanism the article failed to address is agency and that this is a dual responsibility for both men and women. I would also like to have read that demonizing Aziz was wrong and both were at fault.

    If sex was painful for a woman and she only tells a man later, it will make a man feel like a rapist when he thought in good faith both were enjoying it. Most reasonable men would rather know the discomfort first. So while it is a traumatizing experience for women, it is also traumatizing for men if they find out after the fact. There has to be strong two way communication from both partners for this problem to go away. The article seems to advocate that men have to change their behaviour, but i think this is narrow minded, we have to work together on this and both be willing to do things differently. Blaming one gender only will only draw suspicion from that gender. This is a team sport, we have to play as a team. And the best teams are the ones with the best communication. Please, don’t ask us to depend solely on our interpretation of non-verbal cues, we can err in good faith. Please talk to us if we are seeing things differently than you. The last thing we want is to leave you feeling traumatized. Yes there may be abusers out there, please don’t let them spoil it for us. A relationship can never mature without trust and communication.

  • sally

    Thank you for writing this piece. This is exactly the conversation we should be having. I needed to hear it written out so clearly. thank you.

  • Tara Jayne

    I reviewed the comments section of this article yesterday and we pretty terrified by the lack of compassion shown by many of the commenters.

    I don’t know why her actions have made people SO angry. Do you always do the “right” thing in every situation? Do you always make the logical choice? And if you don’t do the right thing, and make the logical choice, does that mean that you have no right to be upset? If that’s the case then no one would ever be justified in being upset about anything at all because none of us are perfect, we all make mistakes, and our actions can be interpreted and re-interpreted over and over and over again until it’s no longer at all clear what happened to anyone, even the person “it” happened to.

    It’s still NOT okay and strange that this kind of thing happens all the time, it’s weird that we don’t talk about it, it’s weird that some women are okay with having terrible sexual experiences because perhaps everyone else makes them feel like it could have been much worse, or that it was somehow their fault, and it’s weird that some men are okay with having sexual experiences that in no way cater to or even involve their partner. It’s also strange, that because we don’t talk about this stuff, that we don’t know what to do or how to behave.

    If you’re in a situation where you’ve gotten naked, or you’ve engaged in foreplay, but then decide you don’t want to have sex, how do you get yourself out of that situation? What is it that you’re supposed to say, and how are you supposed to say it? And why don’t men (and INSANELY some women) understand that this could result in actual violence, that you actually could be harmed for not consenting at that point and that that happens to people all the time? And what if you’re not worried about being harmed, what if you’re just worried about embarrassing the person? Can’t we talk about that too? Is that okay, or are we just “children” who can’t speak their minds if we’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings, or making a situation ‘too awkward’? Because if that’s the case than I AM both a child and an educated, well-employed, 30 year old female.

    • Jim S

      We are not angry at her for changing her mind about intercourse after biting her lip while consenting to foreplay. We are not angry at her about being upset at either herself or Aziz. We are not saying it’s okay that this happens all the time.

      We are angry that she went to the press with the sole purpose of destroying his career and publicly shaming him while she also complicit in the miscommunication between them.

      You are correct that in some cases women have a fear of violence. However, but what is clear from Grace’s account is that she had no fear of violence, otherwise she would have allowed intercourse under this fear. Do you expect us to believe she was afraid to say no foreplay, and suddenly her fear disappeared and she said no to intercourse. I am sorry, this is just not credible. It is more likely that she was conflicted about what she wanted and had regrets later. Aziz should have picked up on this but that alone does not make him a pariah for everyone to demonize.

      You other comment baffles me, that you go along and bite your lip because you don’t want to embarass the guy. You embarass him more if you tell him after the fact that you didn’t want to. I am sorry, bit if you imply consent because you don’t want to hurt the guys feelings, that is on you, and quite frankly, evil on your part.