You Might Want To Take Away Our Feminist Badge Of Honor After This

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Last week we were riding high from Oprah’s inspirational speech at the Golden Globes, and this week we’re scratching our heads and pulling out our hair trying to make sense of the latest #MeToo scandal with Aziz Ansari.

Not sure what I’m referring to? In a nutshell, the interactions between men and women, particularly when you mix alcohol and sex, are complicated and confusing. Surprise, surprise.

In this particular instance, there is a debate about whether or not Ansari sexually assaulted his date. He brought a woman home to his apartment, they fooled around, she wasn’t into it but never made that crystal clear, and left feeling like a piece of shit. (The original story is very tabloid-ish although it creates a foundation for the discussion.) But Ansari as sexual predator is not the real story. I want to thank the Guardian for pointing this out. This is an opportunity to talk about sexism and misogyny and male entitlement and women’s power.(The New York Times has an interesting opinion piece as well that is worth reading.)

So let’s not waste any more time and dive right into this. 

Fellow femmes, you and I have both been there, and probably on more than one occasion. We’ve allowed a man to kiss us, touch us, and have sex with us even when we weren’t into it.Why? Sometimes we aren’t sure if we want it and we decide afterward(perhaps because of his poor performance or he’s weird as shit) that it wasn’t worth it. Other times we’re drunk. And then there are the times when we are just too damn tired to say no. And sometimes we’re afraid of what he’ll think of us, so we open up our legs in hopes that he’ll want to hang out with us the next day. But all of these are different scenarios than the ones where you are afraid to say no because he’ll hurt you, or the ones where we actually say no and he keeps going, both of which are commonly known as rape. Neither you nor I were in that room with Ansari or “Grace” to know what really happened, any of the above is possible...

So how do we deal with this?

Men: Perhaps rather than entering into a situation where you go off of a “feeling” that a woman wants, you can start to use your words and ask “Can I kiss you?” “Can I touch you?” “Can I f*ck you?” Worried that it’s going to kill the vibe? I don’t give a shit. That’s the same excuse you uttered when you didn’t want to use a condom and we all know that you can have mind-blowing sex both with condoms and when you communicate with your words so get the f*ck over it. I understand that society has taught you that you should be the one to initiate sex, but if you are truly an ally and want to be a part of making change, then you’ll start with the way you interact with women in intimate situations. Get used to the fact that you can’t do whatever you want to do anymore as if the world revolves around you. Ask for permission. (Shame babe, now you know what it feels like to be a woman or a person of color or anyone who's not a cis white man.)

Women: Stand up for yourselves! If you don’t want to be kissed, be touched, and/or have sex, then say so. If necessary, get up and walk out. The severity of the situation will warrant how you do this, either politely or abruptly. (Side note — I’ve done both, most recently leaving a man at a bar while he thought I was going to the bathroom. Desperate situations call for desperate measures. I felt fine about myself the next morning and didn’t give a second thought to what he thought of me for leaving.) I want to give men the benefit of the doubt and believe that most of them will be responsive and stop. Some won’t, and that is rape. But let’s do our part to nip the guessing game in the bud, because news flash, men don’t know what we’re are thinking. We need to use our words. Society has told us we should be victims, and I say f*ck that too. We do have power, and we can wield it from the bedroom to the boardroom.

I realize that my take on this might elicit anger in some of you, but I’m not giving up my feminist badge of honor. I stand firmly on the side of women and believe that all women should have a voice and it should be heard. I also believe that every situation that involves a man acting like an asshole should not necessarily result in the label of sexual predator and/or the destruction of his life. Men’s actions exist on a spectrum, and so should their consequences. We’ll be exploring this issue more in an upcoming episode of Juicy Bits, and I’ll be speaking about it at She Ventures next week in Denver, but in the meantime, I want to know what you think!