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World
16 Jan 2018

Of Aziz Ansari, the celebrity mask and sexual entitlement

Aziz Ansari and the language of consent

"...But why didn't she leave if she felt so violated?"

That was my first thought when I read Babe's story detailing a 23-year old Brooklyn photographer's horrid date night with comedian Aziz Ansari.

As is the case with such stories, we will invariably take sides and voice opinions.

But can all such situations be analyzed in binary? Are they not much more layered?

In context

Aziz Ansari and the language of consent
Processing the shock that comes with sexual violation takes time

Her side

Processing the shock that comes with sexual violation takes time

She was 22 then, on a date with a comic-actor of international renown, a celebrated feminist, a champion of the marginalized. She was hopeful.

As several women unfortunately know, it's difficult to label a sexual encounter as an assault, especially if it involves someone trusted or, in this case, a woke celebrity.

It takes time to process, longer still to come out with it.

The irony

A celeb's work mostly reflects his ideals, not real self

Three months after his fateful date, Ansari, like all of Hollywood, was supporting the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes.

He was wearing black and the Time's Up pin-badge as he accepted the best comic actor award for his smash-hit Netflix outing, Master of None.

At 34, Ansari arguably knows more than others about fangirls, non-verbal hints, pursuing and forcing. But is knowing enough?

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That said, has #MeToo gone too far?

Criticism

That said, has #MeToo gone too far?

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke out, filmmaker Woody Allen feared that it might result in a witch hunt where every wink and casual touch would be deemed purgatory.

Several celebrities, most recently French actor Catherine Deneuve, follow Allen's worldview. They call the movement farcical, defamatory, too spread out to make any real change.

Is Ansari, then, the latest target? Are we rushing conclusions?

His side

Oh preacher, if only your actions were half as convincing

As readers have dutifully commented under the Babe story, no girl who doesn't want sex with a man blows him twice. That's not how you say no.

Also, he never forced her to stay. But she did until she didn't.

He texted her later, even expressed "surprise and concern" when she narrated her side. Now, which perpetrators do that?

The ones who are woke.

But, who is to decide?

Boundaries

But, who is to decide?

Not every man is a creep, just like not every woman shares her story of abuse for attention or revenge.

She should have left. He should have stopped. But they didn't.

Both men, women can be genuine. Or not.

The language of consent is not as complicated as it is made out to be. No means no, whatever the circumstance or whoever the people.

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