No, Aziz, Means No

According to Anna North, “A woman’s account of her date with the actor reveals our broken attitudes toward sex.” According to Caitlin Flanagan, “her story . . . was 3,000 words of revenge porn.” And according to poor Bari Weiss, trying desperately to thread the needle and not outrage her readership, “Aziz Ansari Is Guilty. Of Not Being a Mind Reader.”

But the most revealing commentary, albeit not in the way she intended, is provided through the back door. First, the writer of the original Babe post, Katie Way, viciously attacks Ashleigh Banfield for her age, her lipstick color and her hair. And then Lindy West explains how years and years of effort by the lunatic fringe went into this moment of affirmative nonsense.

The notion of affirmative consent did not fall from space in October 2017 to confound well-meaning but bumbling men; it was built, loudly and painstakingly and in public, at great personal cost to its proponents, over decades. If you’re fretting about the perceived overreach of #MeToo, maybe start by examining the ways you’ve upheld the stigmatization of feminism. Nuanced conversations about consent and gendered socialization have been happening every single day that Aziz Ansari has spent as a living, sentient human on this earth. The reason they feel foreign to so many men is that so many men never felt like they needed to listen. Rape is a women’s issue, right? Men don’t major in women’s studies.

Watching poor Bari Weiss on the television after she wrote her op-ed was a painful experience. She expressed her fear of speaking her mind, knowing that she would be attacked for violating the code of feelz by her tepid effort to infuse reason into the discussion. But the shredding of Aziz Ansari seems to have pushed the envelope a step too far. Even the comments at the New York Times started calling bullshit on the complaint that Ansari failed to heed the nonverbal cues of a woman he didn’t know.

For years, it’s been obvious to anyone unwilling to buy into the narrative that the secret hurts that exist, or develop whenever it’s convenient, in the minds of the oppressed and subjugated, serve as the bar for whether men are evil rapists or just rapists. It was assumed that wearing a man bun or professing one’s adherence to feminism would provide some measure of immunity to attack, but Ansari proved that false. He was an avowed feminist, woker than woke, and still he was burned.

Short of living out one’s life neutered and serving the whims of women, there was no safe place.

The problem has been obvious from the outset, but denied when buried beneath an avalanche of empty rhetoric such as West provides. Many years ago, it was the social norm that women would play hard to get, say no when they meant yes, and test a man’s fortitude to end the night in bed. And some women played this game, while others did not. For the ones who did not, the game wasn’t working.

And so came “no means no.” It’s virtue was clarity. It’s flaw was that it required a woman to take responsibility for herself, and to act upon it even if it made her feel uncomfortable. And so affirmative consent came into being as an alternative, as it shifted the responsibility for a woman’s behavior off the female and onto the male, leaving the woman absolved of any responsibility whatsoever for her conduct.

This placed the male in a position of perpetual jeopardy, since even yes didn’t actually mean yes given that women came up with a narrative where they could say “yes” but mean “no.” And then there was the whole intoxicated excuse, where a molecule of alcohol touched on female lips gave rise to the inability to consent excuse. Women can’t hold their liquor, obviously.

The scenario is replete with excuses, rationalizations and shifting burdens, particularly when it comes to men reading female minds. It was doomed to fail from the outset. It was never a viable way to conduct sexual relations, although it was great for women who could pick and choose, before, during or after, whether the sex was good with them.

Rape is a real thing, turned into a morass of nonsense by unduly passionate. The new rules were never workable, but women like Lindy West never cared, and the passive bun-wearing boys who were too intellectually challenged to grasp why society couldn’t survive this huge, amorphous gap of reasoning, adored it and attacked anyone who would challenge it.

Ansari’s date night would have gotten him expelled from pretty much every college in America. Because he failed to read her mind. This doesn’t work. It can’t work. It will never work. It’s time to take a deep breath and realize that “no means no” was the only rule that served to both protect women from sexual assault and rape, while providing notice to the man that a line was drawn.

Sorry that it places a burden on women to do something. But if supporters are not as weak as they appear, or are as strong as they pretend, then you’ll get over it. Real feminists believe that women can take responsibility for themselves. If you don’t want to have sex, say no.

25 thoughts on “No, Aziz, Means No

  1. B. McLeod

    What is chiefly remarkable here is that some unique peculiarity of this incident has led to a number of normally fanatic “progressives” suddenly realizing (as they have not in thousands of other cases) that something in their formulation is flawed. Or, as the Fonz might say (if he could) they “were not completely right.”

    1. PseudonymousKid

      They always knew. Remember denial. The precious egg they’ve been incubating has finally hatched, and damn is that chick ugly.

  2. DaveL

    Nuanced conversations about consent and gendered socialization have been happening every single day that Aziz Ansari has spent as a living, sentient human on this earth. The reason they feel foreign to so many men is that so many men never felt like they needed to listen.

    No, the reason they feel foreign to so many men, and to so many women as well, is that those “nuanced conversations” never gelled into a clear definition with any practical use.

    1. SHG Post author

      The irony, as you note, is that it’s true of all people. Nobody knows what weirdness happens in other people’s heads, and it’s impossible to base social norms on other people’s feelings. This isn’t a male/female thing. It’s the nature of communication for everyone.

    2. B. McLeod

      “Nuances” are the voodoo by which the modern left justifies the inexplicable (or disguises bias and prejudice). Nuances are how identical words can be laudable or prohibited, based on who is using the words, and they also provide the means by which we can know that certain people and groups of people always harbor evil intent, no matter what words they may speak or write.

      1. WFG

        In the future, everyone will be Humpty Dumpty for 15 minutes.*

        If Lewis Carroll had been really on top of things, Humpty Dumpty would have further said that whenever someone else uses a word, it still means whatever Humpty Dumpty chooses.

        *For Humpty-Dumptian definitions of “15 minutes.”

  3. Matthew S Wideman

    I got into a long long Facebook argument over this topic with a few journalism students at Missouri University. The belief that this “bad date” is some sort of new “grey area sexual assuault” is unbelievable. The other issue is people took the word of a journalist who interviewed an anonymous woman. The article or editorial has 3x’s the amount of hearsay, than is allowed for a rational discussion. Her identity remains protected, but his is forever ruined. The lack of questioning about people’s motives is scarey dumb.

    Anthony Cumia said it best, “saying all women are liars is just as crazy as saying all women tell the truth”.

    1. B. McLeod

      Large portions of the reporting in the largest papers every morning turn on statements ascribed to anonymous sources. Especially in all the stories that have any political facets. The reader is left without means to assess the credibility (or even the existence) of the alleged sources. The reporters could be making up the “reported” statements from whole cloth. The stories are regularly printed anyway.

  4. Nemo

    The primary source of stigmatization when it comes to feminism is, unsurprisingly to all but feminists, feminists. This case is a good example of that, since compliance with their expectations would reduce the romance of dating to the level of a contract negotiations. Good luck trying to get people to want to shift to that approach.

    They are also pushing forward an ex post facto rule-making and punishment system, which is also worthy of ridicule, but it appears that the reasons why that is a bad idea are not making it into the Progressive Millennials.

    But what I really want to know is if pointing those things out makes me into a misogynist shitlord, and if so, can I continue to be myself, or must I now be someone else, because being myself has suddenly become unacceptable. Progressivist doctrine confuses me.

    1. SHG Post author

      You have failed to stay atop the full expectations. There is yet another level to the problem that remains, where no compliance with expectations can provide you with any assurance that you’re in compliance because the demands are inherently contradictory, and there is an excuse for everything. For example, even if you adhere to yes means yes, it’s yes except when it isn’t, and you will never have any notice as to when or why that may be.

      And failure to understand this means you are, indeed, a misogynistic shitlord, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Which means there’s no point in trying, even if you were so inclined, as you will somehow fail no matter how hard you try to capitulate to their demands. You can’t win. You will lose, one way or another.

      1. Patrick Maupin

        The applications of Ginsberg’s theorem are almost as universal as those of Chesterton’s fence.

      2. LocoYokel

        What would be funny, if it weren’t sad, is that these are the same women wondering where all the men have gone when they look at their dating scene populated only by the neutered she-males in their social groups. They can’t understand why the men who were raised to be men and not women with a penis won’t have anything to do with them.

        1. SHG Post author

          From what I hear, young men are in serious risk of losing interest in dating. They don’t like the women they meet very much.

          1. LocoYokel

            I’ve heard similar, and that is only one of the reasons. Others being it’s to dangerous in this new “everything is rape” environment, and what’s in it for them anymore?

            Dating used to be about finding a compatible person to marry, as an end goal. Nowadays with a certain demographic of women not meeting their half of the bargain and the fact that if anything goes wrong the deck is so stacked against them that they feel it’s not worth the potential trouble.

  5. st

    So Ansari is burned for not responding to her non-verbal cues.

    But what about her response to Ansari’s non-verbal cues? Undressing a woman while kissing and touching her sends an unmistakable message. The Babe article doesn’t mention any overt signs of hesitation or resistance from “Grace” until things were past that point.

    Since “women are a species “apart,” children with adult faces who demand to be protected,” * I get that this is a one-way railroad. What’s sauce for the goose is no longer sauce for the gander.

    *h/t to the courageous Catherine Deneuve, even if she was browbeaten into a very limited apology.

  6. Casual Lurker

    And here I thought my tough-as-nails grandma was the rare graduate of the Longshoremen’s Academy of Choice Phrases. With gems like “hey girl, you didn’t get that round mouth from eating three square meals a day!” (Usually in response to a similar accusation from those who didn’t care for her old-country ‘management style’). And that was considered her ‘safe around the kids’ response.

    These days, everyone’s a delicate flower. Grandpa was the titular head of the mishpucha, but everyone knew grandma was in charge. They sure don’t build ’em like they used to.

    The above aside, those with psych backgrounds recognize that power dynamics and/or group situational forces can unduly shape the response of a young, not fully-formed, adult.

    The founding fathers understood the potential consequences of not having a fully-formed adult become president when they put a minimum age requirement into the constitution. (Unfortunately, even this safeguard doesn’t catch *all* arrested development types. 😉 )

    As we often see, even fully-formed adults can make bad decisions they come to regret. Often due to subtle and not-so-subtle words and posturing by others they deem as having physical or social power. Just look at the number of false confessions, even by those whom were initially told they “were free to leave”.

    When someone who, much later, claims they were “raped” are then clinically interviewed, it often becomes apparent that a lot of conflicting shit was going through their heads at the time they acquiesced to a given encounter.

    For example, most police are well aware that making a person anxious will often cause them to react or blurt out things they would not otherwise say. So they become expert at it. They may not know the technical reason (that a strong emotional response suppresses many higher-order cognitive executive functions, especially in ‘not fully-formed’ types), but they empirically know what works.

    And while a “date” may not be a police interrogation, many of the same anxiety-driven psych mechanisms are at play. Just try taking back a false confession. But, in essence, that’s what many women try to do after a “bad date”. Buyers remorse is a bitch, but that’s how people learn.

    At least, if criminally charged, if you go to trial, you have the opportunity to cross examine an accuser. But not so in the ‘woke’ court of public opinion. The real problem, as you have repeatedly identified, is the constantly changing definitions. Thankfully, in court, most definitions are codified. (Juries don’t always adhere to those definitions, but that’s a different issue).

    I do worry about delineating gray-area cases. Unfortunately, the #MeToo movement is making that increasingly difficult. Moreover, I constantly have to remind some psychiatric residents that their role is not as a victim advocate. Let the social workers do their job*, and you do your’s.

    *I write this after having also read your “Mommy Dearest” post, and shudder to think about the likes of Liz Corsini being responsible for “Adolescent Mental Health”. If nothing else, that alone will ensure full-time employment for mental health professionals, long after the #MeToo movement collapses under its own weight.

    1. SHG Post author

      And that is why “no means no” was viable, while affirmative consent is not. There’s a psychiatric rationalization for pretty much everything, so it’s a pointless endeavor in explaining why, no matter what a person does, it “could” explain (or not) any reaction.

      Rules provide notice to the wrongdoing that he’s doing wrong and a clear path for the putative victim to prevent it. Without that, he’s blameless and she’s clueless. Granted, it’s not always easy, but a functional society requires sufficient clarity so everyone knows whether they’re breaking rules or having a good time.

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