Okay. I’ve had it.
To the people who are writing articles in The Atlantic and The New York Times and other publications about how “Grace” simply had a bad date with Aziz Ansari, and she should get over it, and it’s her own fault for letting herself get pushed around…
Here are just a few reasons why a woman in that situation might not get up and leave.
- Because she’s very young, and this is the first time she’s found herself in a situation where someone’s actual behavior diverges so dramatically from their shiny public persona, and that is confusing.
- Because she is just a person, and he is a freaking millionaire TV celebrity, and he has all the power of celebrity and personality, and that is confusing.
- Because everything is happening very fast, and it’s hard to stay on top of a situation when someone else is being a bully and has taken control, and that is confusing.
- Because it is very, very easy, when you’re trying to be kind to someone you just met and want to be liked by that person, to get confused about how to behave, especially when they are being an asshole but pretending everything is normal.
- Because assholes pretend that their assholish behavior is normal. They pretend, while they behave abominably, that they are being nice. And that clouds things for the person they’re doing this to. (All together now…) IT’S CONFUSING. In fact, it seems to me that the people writing these articles are stuck in the same cloud of confusion – literally defending Aziz Ansari for his terrible behavior while accusing Grace of not pushing back on his terrible behavior…..! Please. Please!!! Stop helping men like that normalize their behavior!!!
- Because maybe she hasn’t seen a lot of men who treat women with respect and concern, so, in the moment, she’s not clued in to just how unacceptable the scenario is.
- Because maybe, very simply, it’s hard to believe what’s happening.
- Because maybe she hasn’t been taught to defend herself; maybe she’s been taught to be the nice, kind girl, the one who pleases others, that so many women are taught to be. Shame on anyone for shaming her for the ways our society has failed her.
- Because maybe she has a protective instinct telling her that as long as she stays kind of nice and kind of compliant, then she might be able to get out of this situation without getting raped.
- Because maybe she has a protective instinct that knows that unless she keeps pretending to herself that she is sort of okay with this, then she is going to have to admit to herself that she is a victim. And there is no going back from how horrible that feels. Or – seriously, just use a little imagination! – how TERRIFYING it would feel to realize that not only is she a victim, but she is the victim of a famous, rich, powerful, universally beloved, famously liberal, even famously feminist person, and no one is going to believe her.
Those are just a few reasons. They weren’t hard for me to come up with. There are many others. Okay?
Also, shame on anyone who thinks that a conversation about interactions between sexually pushy men and “submissive” women shouldn’t be part of the #MeToo conversation. Isn’t this whole thing about the troubling ways in which we’re all socialized, and the manifestations of this at every level?