Aziz Ansari, in his bestselling book ‘Modern Romance: An Investigation’, had written: “Beyond flakiness, as far as dating goes, I’ve observed many men who, while hopefully decent human beings in person, become sexually aggressive ‘douche monsters’ when hiding behind the texts on their phone.” Celebrated comedian and the star of widely acclaimed Master of None, he is now facing allegations of sexual misconduct.
A 23-year-old Brooklyn-based photographer, relating her account to babe.net, described her date with Ansari and said that while she was not willing to have sex, he persisted and made her uncomfortable. In response to the allegations, Ansari issued a statement, saying: “We went out to dinner, and afterwards we ended up engaging in sexual activity, which by all indications was completely consensual.”
Opinions are, however, divided. Some have defended Ansari, terming the incident ‘a date gone wrong’, some even said that the anonymous nature of the complaint has turned the #MeToo movement into a witch-hunt, while the others have voiced support for the woman concerned.
Here’s a look at the opinion pieces on the issue:
Bari Weiss writes for The New York Times: “That is what I learned from the “exposé” of Aziz Ansari published last weekend by the feminist website Babe — arguably the worst thing that has happened to the #MeToo movement since it began in October. It transforms what ought to be a movement for women’s empowerment into an emblem for female helplessness.”
Referring to the account, Caitlin Flanagan writes for The Atlantic: “Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember. They’re angry and temporarily powerful, and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.”
Jill Filipovic writes for The Guardian: Reading the story about Ansari, as well as the New Yorker’s viral ‘Cat Person’ short story about a twentysomething’s confusing and often unpleasant flirtation turned sexual encounter with a thirtysomething man, I was struck by how much I could relate, and how I’ve heard similar stories from nearly every woman I know. Girls are raised with a contradictory set of expectations: be kind and acquiescent, but also be the brakes on male sexual desire.
Tiffany Wright, while defending the woman, writes: “Calling Grace’s story an “awkward experience” with an “aggressively horny asshole” may be just as reductive as calling it an assault, a realization I came to after listening to the voices of other women who processed my thoughts and shared their own. It’s easy to talk about these things like they are black and white, but some of the most productive discussion comes from acknowledging the gray area.”
On consent and sexual culture, Josephine B. Yurcaba writes for Romper: “Grace’s recollection of the encounter alleges a number of other problematic moments. But the public won’t just accept Grace’s description of events as problematic and move to talking about changing a sexual culture that mistakes silence as consent. Instead, people are focusing only on whether what Grace described is actually sexual assault. But this focus is misguided, partially because even if the answer to that question, in a legal sense, is “no,” Grace says she feels violated, and the reasons why are worth discussing and fixing.”