The mess of this Aziz Ansari article, claw and all, ignited a different kind of conversation around consent. One we, as a society, haven’t touched on enough. Yet.
That consensual sex isn’t the benchmark, it’s not the gold standard. Consent is the absolute minimum. Because, without consent, it isn’t sex. It’s rape. That just because there’s a yes, doesn’t mean that’s where the conversation ends. Sex has become something that happens to women, not for them. Our society has misinformed men. Porn, for example, focuses predominantly on the man’s pleasure and his enthusiasm, while women are spectators.
Men nor women should be settling for merely consensual sex – it should be something born of mutual respect, passion, fun, interest, and understanding. An understanding that the people involved must be equally as delighted. Not born from coercion. What joy is there, in partaking, if the woman isn’t also having a good time? We need to do better.
So, no, this isn’t the same discussion as Weinstein, but it’s still one we all need to be having. All women have had dates like “Grace”, and while this might not be rape, it is part of rape culture. This long-overdue conversation, hopefully, will educate men into realising that our ambivalence to sex or our politeness is born through centuries of oppression and conditioning. Not through some bullshit myth that “men just enjoy sex more”. That an “okay, I guess” isn’t good enough. We’ve internalised for so long, that it’s our duty to please men and be compliant, and this story has gotten us one step closer to saying enough is enough. To feel empowered enough to speak up.
Below, we’ve collated some of the most powerful conversations happening around this topic, from Twitter. Enjoy, and please let us know your thoughts…
It's clear that we need better more definitive language to have nuanced discussions about the spectrum of harm inflicted on the bodies and psyches of women during bad sexual encounters. We can build that language together, if we keep talking to each other about this.
— Ashley C. Ford (@iSmashFizzle) January 16, 2018
“Aziz Ansari isn’t a mind reader, gosh!” No, but he positioned himself as an uber feminist who is in touch with women’s needs, so shouldn’t he of all people be able to pick up on the many verbal & nonverbal cues of a woman clearly not into it?
— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) January 16, 2018
— Kirsten King (@KirstenKing_) January 16, 2018
hey, concern trolls: nobody is saying aziz ansari raped a woman, but there is an entire spectrum of behaviours between "totally consensual sexual behaviour" and "actual rape" and a lot of those behaviours are still bad and should be condemned and called out! the more you know!
— make my jay, pvnc. (@jaythenerdkid) January 16, 2018
defending aziz ansari with "she was giving off mixed signals!!!!" makes no sense to me. if a woman is giving ANY signal besides YES, DO NOT TRY TO HAVE SEX WITH HER
— farwz (@farwzz) January 16, 2018