Aziz Ansari and Consent

By Natalie Delpino

            An anonymous woman called “Grace” came forward about “the worst night of her life” - her date with comedian Aziz Ansari. Grace says she was repeatedly pressured by Ansari to have intercouse, which they didn’t, and to perform oral sex, which she did.

            Aziz Ansari's sexual misconduct allegations have stirred fierce debate about consent. People, regardless of gender, came down on different sides of when and how Ansari should’ve known to back off or when and how Grace should have made her objections more clear or simply removed herself from the situation.

            Grace’s story of being ignored by a man while he continuously pushes for sex is unsurprisingly relatable to every woman in the United States. There are many of women who can think of a man trying dozens of times to convince them to have sex and because they don’t explicitly say no, he keeps trying, despite their discomfort. Women are viewed as gatekeepers, and that’s what needs to change, because there are too many women can name experiences where they felt pressured like Grace.

            However, others have expressed their concern that aspects of the #MeToo movement are treating women like delicate victims. They argue that consent is a is a two person conversation and that society is failing to teach both men and women to how start that conversation. The failure to have these conversations results in encounters that felt consensual for one person but not consensual for the other person.

            People also fear that the #MeToo movement isn’t allowing enough protection for those accused: while they believe in the importance of listening to victims, they also believe in the importance of a right to due process.

            The Aziz sexual misconduct allegations are an incredible opportunity to start conversations about dating culture, consent, and coercion. Regardless on where you stand on the issue, it’s dangerously easy to feel outraged with the other side and to ignore where they are coming from. While it might be difficult, take a moment to have the conversations we need to move forward and ensure that we can stop incidents like this from being so eerily familiar.