aziz ansari and “babe”

I ran seven miles this morning, the last of which was mostly uphill.  However, the hardest twelve minutes of my day were definitely stretching.  Stretching is seriously no joke.  I’ve been diligently spending 12 minutes three times a week, so basically 30 minutes a week, stretching.  It’s become increasingly obvious how incredibly inflexible I am, a product of the fact that I do almost nothing that requires flexibility.  Running, biking and swimming don’t, and spending a significant portion of my day sitting at a desk obviously doesn’t help.  Anyway, I’ll be repeating the sit and reach test in two weeks, so I guess we’ll see if I’ve made any progress.

In other news, I’m very curious what people think of the article in babe about a woman’s unpleasant encounter with Aziz Ansari.  I should start by saying I don’t know much about Ansari.  I’ve never seen him in any shows.  I only know he did Parks and Recreation because I googled him.  I’m not into comedians, and I really don’t care about him in particular.

My take is that he sounds boorish and inept.  It sounds like a bad date.  But this woman allowed him to take her clothes off.  To use the age-old phrase, what did she expect?  If I go home with a man and allow him to take my clothes off basically immediately, I expect that he’s going to want to have sex.  That doesn’t mean he has a right to sex by any means, but it’s a bit unfair to be surprised by him wanting it.  She also gave and received oral sex on multiple occasions during their “date.”  If I were in her situation, I would leave, and I would be upset, and I would not go out with him again.  That’s basically what she did.  (The worst night of her life, though?)  But was what he did assault?  In my opinion, absolutely not.  Was it sexual misconduct?  That’s a bit of a new term, likely invented to address this very article.  I don’t really even think it was necessarily misconduct.

As a feminist, I don’t think a woman should ever be forced into sexual acts that she doesn’t want to participate in.  That means men (or woman) should not use their greater physical strength or other types of power they might possess, such as a position at work, to induce a woman into sexual acts she’s not interested in.  However, I feel that adult women are capable of expressing what they want and don’t want, and I don’t find it flattering or helpful to suggest that a man should have to repeated ask a women, Do you want this?  How about this?  And this?  I’m 100% comfortable with “no means no.”  I don’t think we need “yes means yes.”

From the article:

“I just remember looking in the mirror and seeing him behind me. He was very much caught up in the moment and I obviously very much wasn’t,” Grace said. “After he bent me over is when I stood up and said no, I don’t think I’m ready to do this, I really don’t think I’m going to do this. And he said, ‘How about we just chill, but this time with our clothes on?’”

If you keep reading, they do get dressed, and then he starts hitting on her again.  And then she leaves.

This editorial in the NYTimes summarizes my feelings pretty well.

I’ve read many women who are infuriated by Ansari’s behavior and consider it unambiguously sexual assault.  That is not my perception at all, and I’m curious if I’m an outlier or what.