Let’s Talk About Sex, Ansari, and White Women

Comments

1
When Richard Spencer agrees with you, you might want to rethink your position.
2
Thank you so much for this article. I find it a very helpful addition to the discussion around #metoo and Ansari in particular.
3
I highly recommend Forster's "A Passage to India". It's an outstanding novel about the Raj and cross-culture hazards. It was way ahead of the curve back in the day (1924).
5
Still the problem of imagining that "non-verbal" cues are bright and obvious. Combined with the way women are socialized to be deferential, what a woman perceives as politely trying to say no a lot of men experience it as "mixed messages."
Normalizing discussions about sex, like "what are you up for tonight?" with responses like "making out with our shirts off is awesome but nothing below the belt" or "I'm up for oral" and allowing that there may not be 100% reciprocity (e.g. "If you really want to give me oral I won't say no but I'm not ready to do oral for you) would be a nice dimension to add to discussions about Affirmative Consent.
7
"But largely missing from this moment of reckoning between the sexes is an analysis of race, a contention that led some women of color to sit out this year’s marches."

Which is why intersectionality always fails miserably. Grow the fuck up and work with imperfect allies, or Trump will coast to another four years. Guaranteed.
8
True story. My passenger can attest that this one time these two cops directed me to enter this driveway, which I did and kept going. They freaked out and banged on my hood and mirror. Because they really wanted me to drive up and then stop there. So they were doing what apparently was a go-stop signal? I think that's what they thought they were doing. In their minds their non-verbal cues were bright and obvious. They really didn't like hearing that I couldn't understand what they hell their gang sign looking hand waving was all about.

But you know. Cops have all the power in a situation like that so I guess it's all on me to get it right. It really isn't about whether we communicate orally or in writing or with hand signals or smoke signals. Police tell people to put their hands up and keep them down at the same time, and shoot them dead for non-compliance, and we have laws in place that say the police are allowed to do that. Society makes arbitrary decrees as to when the burden is on you to get the message or suffer, and when it's not on you.

Now some women are talking about taking some of that power for themselves and laying down some of those rules in a way that protects women. All of a sudden a few man babies are acting like they've never heard of such a thing.
9
"...toxic masculinity..." Didn't see this coming...NOT.

What is with all of these writing braying on about victimhood. Take control of your life or STFU.
10
@7

"Intersectionality" isn't defined well enough to "succeed" or "fail."

Yes, it is useful and important to investigate the ways in which various injustices and imbalances in society affect, undermine, or reinforce each other.

No, throwing the word "intersectionality" around does not morally oblige anyone to agree with the entirety of your personal political outlook, nor to mention an issue you care about when discussing another issue, not even when the two are related.

It gets kind of exhausting to be accused of complicity in the oppression of Palestinians just because you didn't mention the Israeli occupation in your blog post about access to birth control...
12
@11, Welcome to the new Stranger!

13
"This doesn’t excuse the obtuse entitlement that characterized his alleged behavior with “Grace” that night." Really? It sounds like some mixed messages were sent, but how is trying to figure out if your actually going to pull the trigger and hook up on a date constitute entitlement? If he had red wine would she have fucked him? I know that's crass but the fact that wine choice was an issue in the story makes this a seem like a tabloid hit piece. Grace could have left, said no, etc etc shit got weird but zero assault took place. You could flip the script and say that Grace was being an entitled white girl that thought she could hook up with a hollywood star and everything would be like in the movies. Instead it turned out to be an awkward date that resulted in some regrettable foreplay. Grow the fuck up people and speak what you mean. When I read this and your reaction to it all I can think of is that this brings down the Metoo movement and reads like if its trending on twitter as a writer I better add fuel to the fire.
14
Speaking from experience as a woman, I always found that when I was sure I didn't want to engage in sexual activity saying "No" in a forceful tone of voice worked well. Most men of any race or ethnicity are not total jerks or sociopaths and they get the message the first time. A few might be stubborn or obtuse, so repeating it can sometimes be necessary.

Men in all cultures aren't as good as women at reading body language, facial expressions, or interpreting highly ambiguous messages. These don't work. Men need to get a clear and to-the-point message so neither party is confused about what's really going on.
15
@11,

Jesus... it wasn't even an offensive bj comment either.

I mean, for everyone who goes on and on about how she (Grace) was giving so many non-verbal cues, well, two blowjobs seems like very big non-verbal cues that she was ok with it.

/odds on this comment getting removed?
16
Okay, let’s talk about it. The dynamics you outline sound correct enough to me.

Is that supposed to be some kind of mitigating factor, or what? Does it make it more okay than if a white man does the same thing? Less okay? Just something to keep in mind in the service of better understanding each other?

I’m not sure what the author thinks based on the article.
17
one of these things, sadly, is the objectification and domination of women’s bodies.


Note - Bhandaru speaking of a fictional character's pursuit of a long-term romantic relationship with a fictional woman. Which like, can you even have a conversation in public if this is what relationships mean to you? "All Sex Is Rape" was a tired argument 40 years ago, but here we see it's paternal twin, "All relationships are exploitative".
18
@16

The author is saying that the events in question should not be discussed as a case of sexual assault, but rather as a sexual assault interpreted through a rather specific set of racial politics.

It's not a particularly convincing argument, but it isn't unclear, either.
19
As a white woman who dates outside of my own racial background I've been following this story a lot. I disagree with the way Grace publicly named Ansari and don't consider what happened to her to be sexual assault. However, I completely understand why she is mad, because it sounds like he was too aggressive (unfortunately, like many women, I've been there also). But as a woman, I feel like the power dynamics go beyond racial boundaries.

I've had metoo moments and run of the mill bad dates. Not the same thing at all. The man who sexually assaulted me after I repeatedly said no to him was a Hispanic acquaintance. I had to move back home to be safe and was beyond traumatized. My roommates took his side, not mine.

Similar to Grace I tend to date men in positions of power and sometimes outside my race, but like her, my career is not as advanced as the men I typically date. What I've found is that it's very complicated due to differences in culture, family and racial background, communication style, social status and wealth.

It's very hard to sort out, but the times when I felt as if a line was crossed weren't necessarily what I would define as assault. My response to men who were too aggressive was to dump them and not look back. I didn't post anything public or ruin their careers..the worst I did was to talk to an employee to get her side of the story, but did not go further than that. What I did was to walk away from what I felt was a toxic relationship.

I can't speak to the perspective of a non-white male, I can only relate what my experience has been as a white female who dates in a diverse multicultural metropolitan area. As much as I try to be appropriate and culturally sensitive, it's not always that simple. Certainly, the racial dynamics did create further confusion.

That said, I still feel Grace was wrong to go public. It does seem like she's taking a grey area of misunderstanding between two adults and attempting to define it as black and white. Wanna know what is assault? Being pinned to a couch by your roommate's creepy friend after repeatedly saying no and having to fight him off is assault. That's what happened to me. What happened to Grace, I don't know. Only feeling like she should have dumped hum rather than treating him like a criminal and going public.
20
This editorial is a confusing mess of buzzwords. If Grace wasn't white would it really be any different?
21
Oh my god the world has gone mad. I hope all men decide to keep it in their pants til the end of time and we can finish off the human race once and for all.
22
"e.g. If you really want to give me oral I won't say no but I'm not ready to do oral for you"

HAHAHA.

Which would be followed by:

"Hey. Where are you going? Did you hear me? You can go down on ME?! Wait. How about you go down on me and I make you tea after... what? HELLO? ...OMG. He left?"
23
@5 said:
Still the problem of imagining that "non-verbal" cues are bright and obvious. Combined with the way women are socialized to be deferential, what a woman perceives as politely trying to say no a lot of men experience it as "mixed messages."


Women's socialized diffidence is definitely part of the problem, but it's disingenous to claim that women's fuzzy answers are confusing men and causign this problem. Social science has shown ( Kitzinger, C., & Frith, H. (1999). "Jus…) that while men routinely use and comprehend soft negatives on every other topic, they statistically, reproducibly, suddenly can't understand soft negatives in a sexual context.

That isn't honest. That isn't a coincidence. Yes, we should try to teach women and girls to be forthright about their (lack of consent) but we should also teach men to stop playing dumb and pushing women's boundaries.

This isn't even getting into the fact that women's deference and soft negatives are de-escalatory, and women may soft-pedal their real feelings, as well as do minor sex acts, to smooth things over with a man because it can get ugly fast if they simply say no.
24
@23. Ok, yea, that makes sense to me. A man should be able to read signals and if there is any confusion he could easily ask a few questions. For example: Are you having fun? Do you want to take this to the bedroom? Do you want to keep going? What do you want me to do? Instead, most guys focus on trying to push their luck as far as they can in case they don't get another chance. Plus, some guys with money and power feel entitled, especially to lower ranking women. They see girls like Grace as conquests and not relationship material. Or there are the creeps that think buying her dinner/drinks means they deserve something in return.
25
@24

I'd add a bit to that: when a man does ask direct questions relating to affirmative consent and does not receive direct answers, he should end his effort to initiate sex, and go on to other things and/or other people.

A woman who avoids direct expression of sexual interest might have psychological problems, might be frightened, might be waiting for a man to "be a man" and initiate sex unilaterally, might be impaired due to alcohol or other drugs, or might otherwise be unprepared or unwilling to express affirmative consent.

When a man is not getting direct answers to direct questions, then there is no way for him to know what a woman is experiencing. The only thing he should ever do in this situation is stop trying to initiate sex.
26
Race is a legitimate angle on the issue.
Brings to mind Susan Brownmiller’s Against Our Will: Men, Women and Rape https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Against_Ou…
where at some point she is urging women to call it a rape even if the attacker is a man of color. And that was 1975.

I spent most of my teen years and 20’s outside the US and recall a somewhat universal assumption that US women are easy. Most US women who traveled and/or appeared naked on screen back then were white.

robotslave @ 25
I also wish women would feel empowered and take calculated tactful risks as they initiate and negotiate any kind of relationship and beyond.
This happens when social context allowing equality in many other aspects of life.
27
Worth noting is the absence of Ansari's response to the allegations. Seems pretty relevant, given the basis of this piece. (Maybe it's assumed that one has already done reading on the subject elsewhere. I have not.)

Also, that Newsweek story is just mind-boggling. "We feel under-represented in this whole thing, and our movement has been co-opted by white folks. So rather than take to the streets with people in solidarity, we're staying home!" ...What?!
28
What is up with the racial thing? Does it matter if the guy is brown? Does it matter if the accuser is white? (we do not know what race she is, and it shouldn't matter) Was there some kind of agenda here or just someone looking to be butthurt about anything and everything? I think if this story is true, Ansari can kiss his career goodbye, but it also seems as if there are people trying to mold this into their own narrative to further their own butthurtedness.
29
This article is frustrating. Lots of contradictory points are raised or hinted at, but the author successfully hides her opinion. C- as a term paper.
30
Something to add that goes beyond gender, race, fame, social status or sexual identity. In this fast-paced world we live in with social media, tinder, and casual dating, there is nothing wrong with going slow. If a man doesn't know his date well enough to read her signals or at a bare minimum communicate clearly with her and care for her needs in the moment, he doesn't know her well enough to have sex with her. The same goes for women of course, but as females we always get this lecture of personal responsibility by society while men get a free pass to be sexually indiscriminate or irresponsible. Maybe for a change men could step it up a little to say that communication and consent are not just a female problem, because sex is not a solo act. But as a woman, I don't expect a man to read my mind, only that he is mindful enough to notice if I am trying to say something and that he actually even cares how I feel about the way he is treating me. It's a two way street.
31
@ 30
You stated "Something to add that goes beyond gender, race, fame, social status or sexual identity" only to discuss nothing but the "classic non communicative" het m/f dynamic.
32
@31 yes, I realized after I posted. As a het female I'm very intimately familiar with that dynamic of an overeager, pushy male who wants to score. I can't help but see things through the lens of my own experiences, but I meant to be objective. What I wanted to say is it doesn't matter who the aggressor is- whether he/she is black, white, straight, gay, or bi, etc. It matters that consent is obvious to each person and it would help to take things slow enough to actually communicate effectively.
33
Yah. Whatever.
34
Please let me be the one to bring you your #MeToo moment }:>
35
"In fact, Ansari has built his comedy around his pursuit of white women. It’s one of the reasons white people—especially men—relate to him. He aspires to the same things they aspire to, and one of these things, sadly, is the objectification and domination of white women’s bodies." Seriously? Where do you come up with this utter nonsense? What an unbelievably unfounded and offensive generalization. This is all drivel.
36
@35 Agree. I don't think the Bhandaru knows Ansari's body of comedy work at all - or is so fixated on interracial sex as to be blind to all else.
37
Purrls @14: Actually, this has scientifically been proven to be bullshit. Men are equally capable of understanding social norms and nonverbal cues, which is why, outside of male-female relationships, men easily pass as "charming," "easygoing," "nice to be around," "a cool dude," "friendly," "nice," and a zillion other things that all translate to "understanding social norms and able to not make people uncomfortable." It's only when they want something from women that the "oh, hur dur, I'm so dumb, I can't figure out how to tell what you want," comes out. It's not that they can't tell reluctance or discomfort, it's that they see it as a barrier to be pushed through, when it comes to trying to get things from women.

See also: men who pretend that they can't load a dishwasher, prepare a meal, or do the laundry, and intentionally mess it up so that they don't have to do it.
38
Here this makes it simpler: take any accusation with a grain of salt unless charges have been filed. Then wait for the legal system to render a verdict.