Who Grinds to Seinfeld?
Over the past 2 weeks my social media has been bombarded with posts from women and men that think the Aziz Ansari story:
1. Delegitimises the #metoo movement.
2. Infantalises women.
3. Is a 'witch hunt' or as I prefer to think of it 'A Knight's Templar hunt.'
4. Is just a bad date and nothing more.
5. A woman who needs to take responsibility for her actions.
6. Is an example of how women need to stand up, be strong, and simply say no.
I did promise myself to stop conversing with trolls, but I thought, 'Hey, you hate copying the resume you've just uploaded into answer boxes so why not procrastinate a bit.' Plus people feel like they can just take their man opinions and spray haphazardly onto my social media. I am not here for this phallocentric heteronormative gas-lighting. Gentlemen, 2018 is the year of consent, so I won't accept your useless jizz juice of words being sprayed onto my intellectual property.
So I responded, my response was basically the same, every time, multiple times. My responses were repeated, duplicated, processed, packaged and shipped in hopes that the meaning of my words would be delivered. All while hoping someone would at least acknowledge how awful it would be to have someone try and grind on you while watching Seinfeld. Yet, I digress.
One of the fundamentally incorrect notions which I found myself combating were the allegations of rape. The definition of rape has not changed, and I refuse to believe that most persons can't distinguish between penetrative rape and someone ignoring and doing the opposite of what they said was ok in a sexual situation.
To repeat myself, no-one is saying that 'a bad date = rape' (bad dates are when someone does not close their mouth when they chew, when someone smells bad, if someone makes racist remarks about you or another group of people, or literally says nothing the whole date, not assault. However, I guess the disparaging definitions of a 'bad date' really gets to the heart of the matter).
People are saying that if someone wants you to stop, and you say you will, and then don't. That's shitty. It's a shitty thing to do to someone. It is shitty to violate someone's personal autonomy and violate the boundaries of consensual actions. Since actually explaining what boundaries are in a theoretical sense seems to be a difficult task, here is a basic example.
Two people agree to make out. They're both happily sapping spit, hot air, and bacteria.
Then one person grabs the others nipple.
The person with the sore nipple cringes and says, 'I don't like that. I only want to make out with you.'
Nipple grabber goes, 'Yeah sure won't happen again, you're right pinching is awkward when kissing.'
The pair goes back to swapping spit and hopefully not getting it on each others faces.
Then the nipple grabber decides to grab the other person's genitalia, and says, 'Oh come on, you know you want it.'
The person who has already stated they just want to make out has now been violated. There was no agreement for finger foreplay and offensive nipple grabbing. They were happily making out and now they want to go home.
Is what just happened rape? In the legal sense, no.
Did the nipple grabber violate sore nipples boundaries? Yes.
Was that a shitty thing to do to someone? Yes.
Why did that shitty thing happen? Because it is socially acceptable to treat someone like that.
Why is it socially acceptable to do that? Simple answer, because of rape culture.
What does rape culture mean? It means there is a pervasive sense of entitlement to other people's bodies, coupled with the ability to use power over them in order to access their bodies. All while the person who was violated is forced into maintaining silence, because the violation which they experienced will be attributed to their own wrongdoing.
Should we allow this to continue? No.
How can we do better? Talk about what consent means for both parties. Agree that what is happening between two people should always be done with enthusiastic consent.Agree to stop violating people's boundaries.
Simple enough? I would hope so.
This is one example out of many of #EverydaySexism, #Maybehedidnthityou, #balancetonporc, and countless other instances that document the many nuanced shades of the ways that rape culture works in our society. The more I kept talking to people the more I realized that they were not responding to the situation, they were responding to their own trauma. People seemed not to be reacting to the words which were written on the page, they seemed to be filtering the author's words through their own warped lenses.
Some of the common arguments which were used in the defense of Aziz Ansari are as follows:
1. This happened to me and I am fine. Ergo, why are you complaining ( if this did happen to you, maybe you should seek counseling)?
2. They were both to blame, he should not lose his job (it's complicated because it was outside of the workplace, no one is saying he can't make money from Parks and Rec re-runs) .
3. People are jumping to conclusions, there always needs to be due process. If he was not charged with anything, nothing wrong happened (how I wish things were oh so simple).
4. Women still need to take responsibility for their bodies ( placing the bulk or responsibility is condescending to men because they are fully capable human beings who can control themselves).
The important points which were made in the Babe article and by womenists and feminists across the internet, which was repeatedly missed, is you can't address truly damning sexual assault unless we address the fears women face when they interact with men in a situation which might become intimate. The fact that women have often felt coerced into sexual activities or afraid that a man would act out violently if they refused, or the fact women have to think twice about what someone might do if they no longer felt comfortable during a sexual encounter, gets down to the fundamental issues of how women still feel men have power over their bodies and how men still often use their power to manipulate women into situations where they have to leave.
Women should not have to fear intimacy with men or fear where interactions with men are going however, a lot do. If we are truly going to address rape culture and what it means to really address the issues behind the #metoo movement we need to talk about the fear of unwanted and forced advances in the most intimate of moments.