Unlike last year, I didn’t go to Washington, D.C., for the March. I stayed in Philadelphia. Nearly 50 thousand people, including plenty of men, came out on a beautiful sunny day. For many the protest was about #MeToo. For some, it was about Trump, or the intersection of these two. We have a sexual predator in the White House, a man who personifies how powerful men can undermine women’s humanity.
So what of Aziz Ansari? Many keystrokes and much breath has been expended discussing this story. Sad to say, Ansari was the latest person to undermine a woman’s humanity. Although I do not believe his behavior amounted to sexual assault, I make no apologies for the pig. Even the poorly written piece slapped up by Babe shows that Ansari lost sight of the human being in front of him.
Some men believe they’re entitled to sex. Thankfully, they’re in the minority. But what about the men who believe they are entitled to push for sex. That’s what boys do, isn’t it? They try to get it any way they can. Until very recently, they did so with virtual impunity. Women and girls were conditioned to accept this as an inevitable part of life. FUCK THAT.
No, the #MeToo movement has not gone too far, although the backlash may be inevitable. Whatever you think of Ansari’s behavior, the discussion has been useful. If we ever want to throw off our social conditioning, we need to shine a light into this dark corner. We need to celebrate good men. Men who don’t want to force, coerce or even persuade a woman to have sex. Men who want to come together in lusty enthusiasm. We need to celebrate women who learn to ask for what they want.
As for the piggish and clueless men, we need to make it simple. If you have to push a woman, she’s not that into you. Is that so hard to get? She’s not playing some goddamn coy game.
We are not helpless. We are more than potential victims. If a man treats us poorly, we need to leave.
The #MeToo stories have been enlightening for many people. Haven't we all been through the fear? The humiliation? The shame of the double standard? Some women are beaten down until they think sex is all they're worth. The men who fuck them don't even see them. Just their own pleasure, their own power. The power of I-want-I-get.
The Babe piece muddied this reality because it was bad journalism. For a good take down read this Jezebel article. The writer for Babe made the woman--called “Grace” in the story--look like an ninny. For instance, the writer recounts how Grace didn’t get to choose the wine. They had white, whereas she preferred red. Oh the horror! Now I can understand Grace mentioning this in passing, but to include it in the story makes it clear the writer had no fucking idea what she was doing. We can't condemn Grace for this.
To effect cultural change, we need more thoughtful work. We need men who are willing to listen and to shout out their support for what women are trying to do. We need everyone to talk about how fantastic it is to have mutually respectful sex.
But who needs to do most of the work? Women do. I’m not saying it’s fair. It’s just the way it is. Not many people give up power voluntarily.
Which leads me to Grace. She needed to do some work. She should have walked out the damn door. This doesn’t mean I excuse Ansari, but Grace was so passive it made me cringe.
You can hope a man will pick up nonverbal cues. An attentive and considerate man will do that. Can you rely on it? HELL NO. If you deliver a verbal negative, and he backs off only to start pushing again a little later, GET OUT! There's no reason to stay. The man lost sight of you, if he ever had it.
I’ve read essays stating that women may be too frightened to say, “Back off, dude.” Such situations exist. That’s not what we are talking about here. Ansari never seemed on the cusp of forcible rape. Grace did not claim he was.
I’ve read essays saying maybe it’s not so simple to leave and get a cab in the middle of the night. It's scary to get in a car with a stranger.
Are you fucking kidding me? Then best you don’t go out at night.
We are not helpless. We are more than potential victims. If a man treats us poorly we need to leave.
Of course, we all know there’s another side to this issue. We also need to forgive ourselves if we get pushed into to sex we don’t want. We can learn from our bad experiences, find value in the scars. They let us learn about ourselves. Let us learn about other people. Help us throw off our conditioning.
We need to be forthright about what we want. I know the thought gives many people mad anxiety, but life's too short for bad sex.
If a man treats us like a pleasure tool, we need to walk out the goddamn door.