You cannot smash the patriarchy by insisting it pay attention to your subtle nonverbal cues.
This is where the #metoo movement needs to watch out or it gets turned into a "bitches be crazy" tool for those that want to see it fail.
I'm talking about the anonymous story about Aziz Ansari that came out this weekend and the divided reaction it has had. You can tell from my intro where I fall in the continuum.
I didn't read the full story on babe for awhile, just the recaps. It was interesting the pieces that each side pulled to show that they were right. Either that Ansari was clearly a predator and deserves to lose every good thing in his life. Or that "Grace" was nuts and is seeking some sort of odd revenge for the date not being what she had wanted it to be.
When I finally read her account this morning I found I am in the middle on those accounts. Ansari doesn't come off well, but neither does she.
I think Ansari (if her account is completely accurate) is a bit of a boor. More than a little self absorbed. Imagine that. A famous actor who knows this woman is going out with him because he's a famous actor (she basically says it herself) expecting that the woman wants to have sex with him. Yes, he was aggressive. But wasn't she also passive?
She says that he ignored her nonverbal cues. The argument I keep seeing against him are that he didn't wait for an "enthusiastic yes" which is apparently the new standard. Yes isn't enough, it must be an enthusiastic yes. Okay, but what does that mean? Not everyone is a yeller. Does that make it not enthusiastic. Does a quiet response, a let's see how I feel about this kiss, this touch, this step mean it's not enthusiastic? Does every step have to be the "may I touch you here?" "may I now touch you here?" movement?
Do not get me wrong. A hard no is a no. A soft no is a hard no. As soon as you say no it's no. I don't care if you were enthusiastically saying yes! just a minute before as soon as you say no it's no. But say no. Don't think that a yes, okay is a no. Or a well I said yes, but I didn't use tongue so he should have known I meant no. Or, in this case, well, yes, I gave him a blow job after he performed oral sex on me but I didn't do it for long so he should have known I meant no.
If you mean no, say no. When she got up and said, no, I'm going home he called her an Uber. He texted her the next day saying how nice it was to see her and when she responded that she had not had a good time and he had made her feel taken advantage of and used, he said he hadn't realized and apologized. Pay attention to that. She told him she was upset, she told him she hadn't been having a good time and he responded by saying that he hadn't realized that and was sorry.
You cannot smash the patriarchy by giving subtle nonverbal cues and expecting it to smash itself.
Use your words. No means no but you have to say it. If you can help it, do not allow yourself to be in a sexual encounter you don't want to be in. Get out. If he is undressing you and you don't want to be undressed then leave. If you cannot leave and he forces you to stay, then press charges. I'm not victim blaming here, I'm saying take some steps to try not to be one. And try to see that many of us see what "Grace" described as a bad date with a lot of mixed signals, not a abusive situation, not a victimized moment. Don't send mixed signals and then be upset when someone doesn't understand what you are saying.
I don't want to.
I'd rather not.
Put your penis away.
I'm not comfortable here and I'm going home.
Any of these phrases work, but especially no.
It's clear, simple and to the point. No.