Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Ansari Affair

 And I thought things were bad when I was young.

I had never heard of Mr. Ansari before stumbling upon this article in The Atlantic. The story of "Grace" and her encounter with the celebrity in his home is emblematic of the breakdown of rituals of dating and courtship in our society. This is due to the permissiveness of the sexual revolution and the current hook-up culture. In the Ansari case, each participant had a completely different set of expectations about what the first date would entail. Grace expected the evening to be one of romance with a young man who seemed from his writings to understand what women wanted. Like millions of women since the beginning of time she mistakenly thought that physical involvement with a man would place a seal of love upon the interaction.

 Ansari, on the other hand, thought that buying dinner and pouring a few glasses of wine for a young woman meant he had a right to her body, at least for the night. He saw no reason to be romantic or tender as even the most jaded seducers of the old regime once were in a making a conquest. Male and female relations have come to such a pathetic state that it makes the tawdry and sordid liaisons of the past look positively romantic. Where a roué would once have used moonlight, roses, gypsy music, and poetry to win his mistress, Ansari appeared to think it was an expression of ardor to jam his fingers down the poor girl's throat. 

As for Grace herself, she saw the degrading experience as being synonymous with rape. It cannot be categorized as such, because of her willing participation. However, it was unwise of her to place herself in the power of a man whom she really did not know at all. A lady must be prepared to leave if she is not being treated properly, if she made the mistake of being there in the first place. Too many young women appear to lack self-respect by allowing themselves to be treated with less courtesy than would be given to a sex worker.While Ansari did not violently force himself upon her, neither did he behave like a gentleman.  Sadly, the #MeToo movement reinforces the on-going narrative of women as victims. Instead of placing themselves in situations which enable victimization, women should be setting the standards of dignified conduct. According to The Atlantic:

Sexual mores in the West have changed so rapidly over the past 100 years that by the time you reach 50, intimate accounts of commonplace sexual events of the young seem like science fiction: You understand the vocabulary and the sentence structure, but all of the events take place in outer space. You’re just too old.

This was my experience reading the account of one young woman’s alleged sexual encounter with Aziz Ansari, published by the website Babe this weekend. The world in which it constituted an episode of sexual assault was so far from my own two experiences of near date rape (which took place, respectively, during the Carter and Reagan administrations, roughly between the kidnapping of the Iran hostages and the start of the Falklands War) that I just couldn’t pick up the tune. But, like the recent New Yorker story “Cat Person”—about a soulless and disappointing hookup between two people who mostly knew each other through texts—the account has proved deeply resonant and meaningful to a great number of young women, who have responded in large numbers on social media, saying that it is frighteningly and infuriatingly similar to crushing experiences of their own. It is therefore worth reading and, in its way, is an important contribution to the present conversation. (Read more.)
From Matt Walsh:
There is something to be learned from the story of "Grace," the anonymous woman who claims that she was assaulted by Aziz Ansari. She was not assaulted, as I've already argued. She willingly came back to his apartment on a first date, willingly took her clothes off, willingly performed sex acts on him, and did not attempt to leave until she’d spent many minutes making out with him, naked, in his kitchen and his living room. No rape occurred. What did occur was a cheap, awkward, degrading sexual encounter.

A year ago, a story like this would not have been news. It probably would not have been published at all. But the atmosphere today allows for a man’s career and life to be destroyed so long as any woman steps forward to accuse him of any sexual wrongdoing, real or imagined or embellished. The truth does not matter, nor do the individual details of each case. There is one pre-ordained narrative — "men are awful, predatory pigs" — and any accused man is pushed into that pit, where actual sex predators reside alongside men whose only crime was a lack of chivalry. It’s a dangerous situation, and we have yet to see the worst of it.

That said, the #MeToo crusaders do seem to have picked up on one important truth. They have gone in entirely the wrong direction with it, and learned all the wrong lessons from it, but they are right, at least, about this: there is something wrong with the way we approach sex in modern society, and it’s leaving a lot of people feeling hurt and abused.

But, beholden always to their narrative, they read a story like Grace’s and automatically interpret it as a struggle between an innocent woman and a depraved rapist of a man. When they hear that Grace felt violated after the fact, they declare that it must have been her “consent” that was violated. After all, the only thing either participant is required to respect is consent. It’s the only rule. The One Commandment. The only thing that can be violated. There are, in the modern mind, only two types of sex: consensual and rape. Whatever falls under the first umbrella must be good. So if a woman feels not-good the next morning, it must have been the not-good type, which means it must have been rape.
(Read more.)

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