Monday, January 15, 2018

The latest alleged sexual misconduct

I had never heard of Aziz Ansari before this morning so I don't have any opinions about the man. He has described himself as "a feminist" in the past and that is usually a bad sign. In any case, he has been accused of "sexual misconduct" by a woman who went on a date with him and ended up having sex she didn't want to have.

These two successive paragraphs from the story really jumped out at me:
Grace compares Ansari’s sexual mannerisms to those of a horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old. She said so to her friends via text after the date and said the same thing to me when we spoke.

But Aziz Ansari isn’t an 18-year-old. He’s a 34-year-old actor and comedian of global renown who’s probably done more thinking about the nuances of dating and sex in the digital age than practically anyone else. He wrote a book about it, “Modern Romance”, and it was a New York Times bestseller. Ansari built his career on being cute and nice and parsing the signals women send to men and the male emotions that result and turning them into award-winning, Madison Square Garden-filling comedy.
We've heard that before. He's done a lot of thinking about it but his actions are another matter. What we have here is nice-guy syndrome on steroids.

All that said, there is still part of me that wonders why this woman couldn't have seen that their encounter was likely to work out the way it did. She approached him at a party. He's a celebrity; she acted like a groupie so he assumed she was a groupie. And I think she knew this. That was why it was hard to just bluntly say she wasn't interested in sex. If she had, he might well have said goodbye and never contacted her again. He didn't have the "sexual mannerisms to those of a horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old" he had the sexual mannerisms to those of a horny, rough, entitled celebrity. And he got that way because his experience backs up that sense of entitlement. When women at parties knock back a few drinks and then approach celebrities it's usually because they want sex with a celebrity.

Is that vulgar and a little degrading for all parties involved? Yes it is but so is everything about celebrity culture. I'm not feeling a lot of sympathy for her. We don't live in a fairytale—she needs to stop imagining that things will work put like a fairytale.

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