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Changing the “Female Norm” – The Curious Case of Aziz Ansari

Females, Norm, gender equality, timesup, metoo, Aziz Ansari, women empowerment, time for change, women movement, gender roles, stereotypes, blogger, opinion, modern chic magazine

By now everyone from news anchors to feminists, to regular old Joe Schmoes, have raided the Twittersphere to express their opinions on the alleged sexual misconduct of Aziz Ansari.

Upon hearing the news, I was shocked and heartbroken to hear about this latest accusation. I was in disbelief that someone whose career has benefited from the awkward bravado of the modern romance, and the seemingly empathic plight of the modern female, could be capable of such things.

However, reading the denunciatory details of that night, I found myself conflicted. Were her claims truly ones of sexual misconduct or just the bruised ego of a young 23-year-old that craved genuine affection from a celebrity who only wanted to get laid?

I wondered if the #MeToo movement – a much-needed uprising of women whose careers were derailed by power-hungry men – had evolved into an elusive scapegoat against anyone that looked or flirted in the wrong manner. Exaggerated cases of women saying, “I don’t like how he looked at me,” or “He told me my dress looked nice,” reeled in my head, and I debated if the case of Aziz Ansari belonged in such a powerful progressive movement.

As New York Times writer Bari Weiss suggests, “Lumping him in with the same movement that brought down men who ran movie studios and forced themselves on actresses, or the factory-floor supervisors who demanded sex from female workers trivializes what #MeToo first stood for.”

Nonetheless, I am sympathetic to Grace’s story because like most women I have been there. And NO, I haven’t always left.

The alarming tale of ignored non-verbal/verbal cues from men who either couldn’t read them or chose to ignore them is all too common. None of this excuses Ansari’s behavior in any way, yet somehow this felt like just the “norm.”

Quickly, I realized the weight of this story isn’t about Ansari or even Grace, but about redefining the “norm.”

The norm does not revolve solely around the inappropriate behavior of a young man who misread the signs but bears equal weight on the young woman who was afraid to speak up. Unlike other women in the #MeToo movement, Grace was not bound by her career obligations as he held nothing over her future. She had nothing to lose by leaving and rejecting him, and yet she didn’t. Why?

Why didn’t she leave? Why didn’t I leave when I was met with the same harrowing situation?

Women have been taught to be gentle, pleasing and compliant, despite our loathing or annoyance in an uncomfortable situation. The word NO doesn’t come easily for us, and it takes a series of internal conflicts and justification to eventually utter that simple word. We have evolved from being housewives to career women, yet our internal instincts still have the mutterings of our ancestors.

We are part of the problem, ladies.

Just as Ansari is guilty of misreading her resistance, she too is guilty of ignoring the clear signs that this was not the kind of date she signed up for. Her persistence to try and turn this into a romantic love affair, perhaps enamored by his celebrity status, was clearly failing. Repeatedly asking her to give him oral pleasure, when she felt uncomfortable, should have been a clear red flag. This is the part of the story where she should have stood up and left, and yet so many women don’t.

#MeToo has brought to light the imbalanced hierarchies used in power dynamics against women, the same system used to foster abuse within intimate relationships. But the imbalance of responsibility in these situations of abuse, need to also be part of the conversation.

I recognize this is an overly simplified insight, of an increasingly complex conversation. But the much-needed re-evaluation of our role in this new world of uprising and resistance should not be taken lightly.

Grace is a victim of the modern day “norm.” She deserves better and so do we.

The Renaissance of this movement is too important to idly sit back, and if not for her, then for the little girls who will be empowered by it. Throwing stones from afar is no longer an option.

Women need to stop being afraid. Say it loud and clear. No means no.

Get up, walk out of that door and never look back.

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51 Comments on "Changing the “Female Norm” – The Curious Case of Aziz Ansari"

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inbar shahak
Guest

it is shocking to find out that an actress that we used to admire is a part of the #metoo accusation, but as it gets common for more and more woman to speak up, i do hope that it will get the people that we admire to take better care of the way that they behave, not to forget the power that this movements gave to those mans who are brave enough to stand and say #metoo for the first time

Amber Myers
Guest

Yes! No means no, that’s for sure. And I do wish all women had the courage to leave when they felt uncomfortable. I know it can be easier said than done though.

Karen Morse
Guest

This is very insightful. There are stories that seem to not fit the movement but we definitely have to learn to speak up and stop allowing men to step all over us. We have to make sure that they hear us loud and clear. NO is simply no.

Joanna
Guest
To be honest, I was shocked as well, as I couldn’t have imagined Aziz Ansari to do anything like it. Then, when I read the details of the story, I did think as well that it was a bruised ego and not a victim who was accusing him. I don’t think there is a norm in offering sexual activities to someone if you don’t want to. You can’t say you are pressured into it by the other’s person behavior if you do it at your own will. There is a norm indeed, but this is way over it! Sorry, but… Read more »
Pooja Shama
Guest

We frequently come across such cases and discussions. Despite the campaigns I meet women who doesn’t have courage to stand-up. I feel we should try to support all such situations. This was a great write-up

tara pittman
Guest

We do need to be strong! Saying no needs to come easier to us ladies, so lets practice saying no.

Joanna Everyday Made Fresh
Guest

Great post! No means no, and that’s that. I hate that a lot of women feel like they don’t have a way out, or are scared to leave.

Linda
Guest

I’m in the UK and I have no idea who this lady is but as the mother of a 10 year old daughter I will be teaching her that ‘no’ means ‘no’ and if she is ever in any doubt to extricate herself from the situation.

Linda
Guest

Apologies – just realised Aziz is a bloke. As I said this is a story that has bypassed us over here.

corinne & kirsty
Guest

No means no and his behavior is unacceptable. However, I do understand why she did not leave and she has nothing to be blamed for. Whether she did not see the red flags or not, his should not have acted the way he did. period.

Cassie S.
Guest

I absolutely LOVE this post! No means no, end of story. The man is totally at fault and I do believe she is a victim. This is a topic that is close to my heart and I applaud you for writing about it. Thank you so much xx

lakshmi
Guest

Interesting article. There was an Indian movie with a similar theme recently called “Pink”. “No means no”

Helen
Guest

You are so right, no always means no and women do need to have the courage to leave as soon as they feel uneasy in a situation. Whilst the events that have brought around the #metoo campaign are heartbreaking and harrowing I love that it has got both men and women talking and thinking about how they need to change.

Bona
Guest

Right on! We should not be compliant especially if it really gets uncomfortable. Just get up and leave. If we say ‘no’ we rally should mean it!

Sarah Bailey
Guest

I hope in time saying no and walking away will be easier for all, that it will be natural and done without a second thought.. One day..

Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
Guest

I just read the article you linked to because I had no idea. It’s hard to be sure when celebrities are involved, but I agree. Saying no is definitely something I need to work on, speaking strictly at work. I am always biting off more than I can chew!

Sami
Guest

This is a great discussion of the #metoo issue I’ve been seeing with Aziz. I loved all your points, and it’s true that we have to rethink and reinvent the norm in our society.

Daria
Guest

Women should more assertive and stop being afraid of saying no. I read the full story and Grace should have left, the moment she sensed something was not according to her liking.

Dee Jackson
Guest

The me too movement is such a powerful one. It breaks my heart to hear so many accusations but you are absolutely right. When someone says no, take it and believe it.

emmanuel damian
Guest

We should learn to speak up and say NO if it is already enough. I hope more women would speak up and take courage from this.

hannah marie
Guest

This reminded me of my past, when I had to say no firmly. Yes, everyone should know when to say no and stand up for it even if it is against the flow.

Carrie
Guest

This is a hard case. The movement needs to be there and we need to support one another and fight for change, however, it shouldn’t be misused…

Dana Peller
Guest

I didn’t hear about the accusations, nor did I even know he was doing this. It doesn’t amaze me to hear about TV personalities comes out anymore.

Steven Shakeshaft
Guest

I’ve seen a lot of these types of stories around since the #metoo campaign started. I wasn’t aware of this specific story. I think I’m going to do some more reading before making a judgement but even the accusation makes me think differently about him.

Valerie
Guest

It is very sad to see more and more women adding up to #metoo :(, its crazy how this doctor is accused of touching all these girls and teenage gymnasts ! It all start with us though, I have been there and it took me a while to speak up.

Maro Akamatra
Guest

I agree that there is a huge imbalance in the way women are treated as opposed to how men are. For me, the metoo movement has served the purpose of bringing light into such matters that need a lot of discussion.

Ada
Guest

This was really disappointing to me too as I really enjoyed him in TV shows and movies. Ugh all that is coming out about the men of Hollywood lately is really off putting.

Wendy Polisi
Guest

It really is sad to see another case of this. But, I can’t really expect much more out of Hollywood anymore.

Marissa Zurfluh
Guest

I really hope it isn’t true with Aziz. I really love his work.

lavandamichelle
Guest

I am proud that I find saying “no” is very easy. I feel I am great at knowing that my body is mine, an not anyone else.

Rosey
Guest

I do appreciate/support the movement, but also can see how it could get carried too far. It’s hard to say. Each individual situation is so very different. One knows when they feel exploited or worse though. That I know to be true.

Star harford
Guest

You are so right. As women we need to be stronger and leave rather than want to be compiant and please.

Natalie
Guest

I applaud all women who have come out and shared their abuse stories. Time is really up and we cannot go back to silence or them being ignored.

Ruthie Ridley
Guest

Wow, this is so insightful. We must have to learn to speak up and stop allowing men to walk all over us. NO means NO and that is IT!

hey sharonoox
Guest

This is such a good read and a good reminder for women. Women must put their foot down and say with clarity that No means no, Period!

Hannah Marie
Guest

It’s sad to hear about all of the allegations that have been coming out recently. It goes to show that the problem is much, much deeper. There are probably many more victims who haven’t spoken out and many more predators running free.

Andrea
Guest

I really enjoyed reading your perspective on the Aziz Ansari case. I think we need to do a better job educating young women and men on this.

Meghan
Guest

You’ve totally hit the nail on this one. We definitely need to redefine what’s normal. I don’t think he should be lumped in the category of the Weinsteins in the world, but he did come out too forceful. I do think we need to train our children to be more respectful of others and learn how to read situations and sticking to your guns when youre feeling even the slightest of uncomfort

kavita
Guest

This was a great write-up. No means no, and that’s that. The man is totally at fault and I do believe she is a victim. I highly agree with all the points you have shared in the post.

Mommy Rockin\' In Style
Guest

I was really shocked to hear about this. Nevertheless, I hope things will be better in the future.

Sheri
Guest

I agree that no means no, and you should never have to say no more than once. I hope more women continue to speak out.

Anosa Malanga
Guest

Indeed this is not a good experience but we should all learn from this. Having the courage to say NO should be practiced. It may be hard but we need to learn to do it.

Fatima Torres
Guest

I was shocked to hear about Aziz. I’ve always loved his stuff. But I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. SO many have been accused.

Angela Ricardo Bethea
Guest
Angela Ricardo Bethea

this is a very insightful post. No means no and his behavior is unacceptable. I really hate that a lot of women feel like they don’t have a way to out. that’s why we should learn to speak up and say NO.

Aduke Schulist
Guest

I totally agree that women should leave situations like that, but at the same time, WHY should women have to leave things they worked hard for because of other people?

Jelena
Guest

I fully agree with your article. We women are often scared what will happen if we say NO. We must not allow ourselves to live with feelings of lesser value.

Kiwi
Guest

I think in this girl story is wrong. She wants to be apart of the Me Too movement but she is at fault. She didnt leave, she stayed and even performed a sexual act on him because he is a celeb. She might of felt guilty but she kept playing into his sexual advances, she should of LEFT when she initially felt uncomfortable.

rain
Guest

everyone has an opinion on all of the stories coming out. I’d rather just listen. I can’t say what someone should have done or should have seen in a scenario I can only guess about. I wasn’t there and it’s not helpful.

georgia boanoro
Guest

I don’t know what to say here, I think that each of these cases are different and apart of the persons which are directly implicated, no one can really know what the circumstances were; I am glad that women are speaking out and I hope this #metoo movement is only at the beginning since I had enough of men who are taking advantage of their power and treat women like objects

Trang Trang
Guest

Great post. I’m quite surprised when Aziz Ansari did this. No means no, of course.

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