The #MeToo movement has been embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct. This week, more so than at any point in the movement’s brief history, there’s visceral discussion about its potential for causing harm.

The catalyst was the publication by Babe.net of an account by a woman identified only as “Grace” detailing her 2017 encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari. The article intimated that Ansari deserved inclusion in the ranks of abusive perpetrators, yet many readers — women and men — concluded the encounter amounted to an all-too-common instance of bad sex during a date gone awry.


Liz Wolfe, managing editor of Young Voices, a D.C.-based organization that distributes op-eds by millennials, said the Ansari story gets at the core of what men and women are taught regarding dating, sex and romance. Men should pursue, women should play hard to get.


Wolfe has noticed a generational divide in their reactions. Older women tend to think Grace should have been more vocal and assertive, or simply left Ansari’s apartment. Younger women feel that Ansari should have read Grace’s body language and listened to her more closely, and he was at fault for pressuring her.

Continue reading:  Has #MeToo gone too far? Ansari story sparks debate

Commentary by The Secular Jurist:  I highly recommend reading this entire article.

38 thoughts on “Has #MeToo gone too far? Ansari story sparks debate

  1. And THIS is why I no longer live in or deal with the Vanilla-lifestyle. Or in other words, for the last 29-years I’ve been an active member in the SSC BDSM lifestyle. For the last 21-years I’ve been in the Open/Swinger lifestyle. In both of these lifestyles proactive, forthright, blunt even, articulated communication is very common place. It has to be this way because of our views on Conservative or hyper-prudish sexuality. Very very little can be misunderstood in our lifestyles for exactly this article’s content. Therefore, we have established (to some varying degrees depending on communities) Rules of Conduct and Behavior. They are typically NOT lifestyles for the timid or squeamish, especially verbally.

    As we see here with Anzari and “Grace,” mainstream, traditional, vanilla dating has been far too vague, grey, elusively multi-meaning WITHOUT proper precise, unmistakeable communication and reception (physically, nonverbally) or listening to communication stated… for far, FAR TOO LONG! Clearly it has been male dominated, even hetero male dominated. If sexually healthy males and females are raised and taught in a family and community where sexuality is prudishly treated, even nasty, dirty, sinful or merely as procreation… then those environs only nurture a minefield (for a lifetime?) of sexual inappropriateness, abuse, assault, or misidentification.

    One very good way to remove the mystique, intense (uncontrollable?) allure, and ignorance about sexuality — which is heavily and fluidly emotional!!! — and the articulate communication of sexuality is to socially DROP the unfounded damaging pretense about sexuality and unleash its beautiful expression in multiple forms… starting with bold discussion of it surrounded in mutual respect.

    Much of this is my personal opinion, but a lot is what exists in the Open/Swinger and SSC BDSM lifestyles. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    • I greatly appreciate that enlightened and probably more healthy lifestyle and perspective. Yes, it isn’t for everyone. For me, I’m just avoiding the dating/relationship thing altogether – way too much heartache. Thanks, Professor! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • There was a piece in NYT about this case that I pretty much agreed with. And as we were discussing the other day, it’s becoming increasingly tricky commenting on such issues. If you you suggest nuanced debate, you maybe accused of abetting rape culture. If, as happens mostly, you condemn the man, you may pass judgement on an innocent person and by the time truth is known, irreparable damage will have been done.
      It’s a difficult discussion in my view

      Liked by 2 people

      • You are absolutely correct Makagutu! It is a VERY slippery slope, even for me in all my years of Alternative Lifestyles, when I’m out dealing with the “Vanilla world” regarding my lifestyles. I have been verbally ripped apart several times over the years. :/ Ironically, as a white hetero male, I now know intimately what it feels like to be discriminated against, badgered, harassed, etc, similar to what the LGBTQ community faces or African-Americans in the Deep South. It is hurtful sometimes.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That is an excellent article Makagutu. Thank you!

          When we [indiscriminately start destroying careers over consensual sexual activity,] we trivialize the brave victims who are coming forward about actual sex crimes.

          There are cases of misandry just as there are cases of misogyny. The common denominator here is inappropriate, illegal, or silent-fearful HUMAN behavior which needs to greatly improve or completely change. Gender is not necessarily a factor in these cases except in an historical patriarchal society, which also must change.

          Sex only blurs matters further, unless we make ourselves abundantly clear.

          And if I may humble share, THAT is exactly what takes place 98.5% of the time in the Open/Swinger and SSC BDSM lifestyles. However, no matter whether it is in the vanilla or alternative lifestyles, a specific dialogue-environment must first exist that includes trust, non-judgment, and concise articulation of self and to others.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with Professor, that is an excellent editorial by Lucia Brawley. Let’s examine the incident in question:

          After reading “Grace’s” account of her date with Ansari, a male friend said to me, “It seems the price of fame is that any date that goes south will now be posted on the net for public consumption, like a Yelp review.”
          Consider that if men publicly shared details about bad sexual experiences with women, we would call them misogynist monsters.
          So what happened here? Despite his pronouncements of allegiance to the #MeToo and #TimesUp causes, it sounds as though Ansari willfully ignored his partner’s nonverbal cues. However, it also sounds as if he ultimately did take no for an answer, and checked up on “Grace” with a text the next day. When she replied that she felt violated, he responded with an apology, saying he had understood their encounter to have been consensual … because it was.
          By her account, however uncomfortable she told Babe the encounter had made her, she did not stop him or leave his apartment when, she says, he performed oral sex on her. Nor did she resist or leave his apartment when he urged her to perform oral sex on him; by her own description, she complied twice.
          Ansari is not Harvey Weinstein. He’s not even on the same planet. We have to differentiate between the two if our #MeToo movement is to succeed. If we don’t, no one will take our valid claims seriously and things will get worse for women.
          “Grace” was not working for Ansari or looking for a job from him. He gave her white wine at his apartment; she tells Babe writer Katie Way that she would have preferred red. She could have told him that. She didn’t, then blamed him. She could have said she didn’t want to go home with him. She didn’t, then blamed him. She could have left his house at any point. She didn’t, then blamed him.
          It sounds from “Grace’s” words as though they each had different expectations of the date: he, that they would have sex, she, that she might date a celebrity. Her horror appears to have stemmed from disillusionment at their differing agendas.
          It is apparently politically incorrect in some women’s eyes to mention “Grace’s” power as a young, desirable woman who admits to actively flirting with Ansari while she was on a date with someone else and inviting Ansari with her eyes until he asked her for her number. That would be no excuse for Ansari to sexually assault her, but he did not.
          People can have very different perceptions of a situation even when sex isn’t involved. Sex only blurs matters further, unless we make ourselves abundantly clear.
          From “Grace’s” description, Ansari’s behavior sounds just tone-deaf, selfish, and boorish. But a woman like “Grace” has agency, too — and she must use it if we are to overcome the so-called patriarchy.
          Very often, we have much more power than we realize. To call “Grace” a victim is to trivialize victims and to diminish “Grace.”
          Women are strong. Let us show it. We are playing into a narrative of fragility and helplessness when we say “yes” with our actions — as “Grace” appears to have done — when we mean “no.” We are painting ourselves as hapless victims if we decry men for making choices for us, even after we have left the choice entirely up to them.
          We need to allow ourselves to disappoint their desires. We can’t blame them if we willingly acquiesce to their desires and regret it later.
          We should think long and hard before asking men to see inside our hearts and minds to divine our true feelings. To count on such omniscience would only pave the way for greater ambiguity and subjectivity in our sexual relations.

          Brawley’s words get to the heart of the matter, but even more is left unsaid. This problem is particularly acute in America where culture teaches children profoundly fanciful notions of sex and gender, and these arbitrary stereotypes are quite damaging to social interaction. Females are especially vulnerable because it is their sexuality which is most distorted and repressed by culture.

          A critical lesson from the 1960s-1970s feminist movement, which I supported, was the reluctance of many followers to accept the personal responsibility that comes along with greater equality and empowerment. Such appears to be the case here with “Grace.” While misperceiving Ansari’s clumsiness as misbehavior, she was unable or unwilling to critique herself.

          Liked by 2 people

        • Yes, the rank-and-file followers did without admitting it. They simply jumped on the bandwagon and avoided any personal responsibility. However, the feminist leaders were very responsible and very successful in their professional careers. I suppose that’s true with all such movements.


    • I like your take on this, Professor!

      It does open the door for the question “Why can only BDSM couples/groups communicate? What is so friggin difficult about the concept?” (enter Mars/Venus books… argh).

      Another issue might be that as a culture we still have major problems with female pleasure. As in, it either doesn’t exist (men have sex drives, women don’t) or we consider it icky. Or dangerous (Oooooh Delilah … the original femme fatale?).
      So, naturally men must pursue and pressure, otherwise the poor darlings never would get any. And since she doesn’t enjoy it anyways, there’s no need to pay her any mind, either. Why, being quick about it is actually a kindness.

      Now, I absolutely agree with women using the current climate to say “It doesn’t work that way, boys.” Miss Gracie putting her experience under the #MeToo umbrella felt awkward, and certainly off-putting to abuse victims. The discussion is important, though.

      A good buddy (fellow horse-person) likened it to riding bitless, once.
      If you must push and pressure and force the horse, you got no business getting into the saddle. It’ll do what you want, but you’ll look like a damn idiot (Roy Moore, anyone?).

      If you can guide the horse without a metal bit, and communicate -oh lookie, that word – without pain or (unnatural) pressure, you’ve got a partnership going. (I distinguish here from the instinctive pressure/release behavior that is actually normal/pleasant for horses). You’re not yet tapping into both your potential, but you can have tons of fun together.

      If you’re really good, the horse will give before you ask. More than that, it’ll really show you what it can do. Sky’s the limit.

      Alas, too many rhinestone cowboys out there, too few horsemen.

      Re: The Vanilla vs SSC BDSM et al

      Germany has been a culture shock in this regard. A healthy one 😛
      They are a kinky lot here, yet they manage without any big hoopla.
      Naked woman in margarine commercial? Meh. Nice lake, though.
      Topless ladies sunbathing in Munich? Meh. Those would look nice in a dirndl, though. Beer?
      Live Jazz concert in a kink club? Sure. Move the chains over there if they bug you.
      Nice corset, ma’am. (imagine all the while hapless Americans dragging their perpetually dropped jaws on the ground).

      They still got their own problems with inequality, and they sure are not immune to harassment (their trouble, I think, is rooted in German stoicism and their penchant to discuss things until everyone involved has perished of boredom, thus solving the issue) – but compared to the US of A it’s almost another world.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thank you shiarrael. Most detractors of the SSC BDSM lifestyle have absolutely NO CLUE what they are criticising. Hell, they haven’t even been inside any legal dungeon to actually see and hear what goes on! But the tough discussions for us, the really tricky debates (especially for a white hetero male like myself) are the ones centered around “abusing women” that they perceive in the lifestyle as brainwashed. It’s very easy to insert your foot in your mouth if you’re not careful. That’s why I always ALWAYS try to let the women in the lifestyle, particularly those veterans, speak on the subject… because I’m often Mr. Evil-Abuser before I even walk in the room.

        Regarding other foreign cultures like Europe and in slightly different ways Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, sexuality is definitely viewed (and practiced!) differently than many pockets of the U.S. Don’t get me wrong, abuse is abuse especially when it isn’t FULLY consensual no matter where one is in the world. But the approach and comfort levels — i.e. the attitude of embracing our natural sexual expressions — in openly discussing and divulging one’s Do’s and Don’ts and why are QUITE different than in the U.S.

        Thanks for your feedback shiarrael.

        Liked by 2 people

        • My pleasure, Professor.

          But the tough discussions for us, the really tricky debates (especially for a white hetero male like myself) are the ones centered around “abusing women” that they perceive in the lifestyle as brainwashed.

          I’d like to say it’s a knee-jerk reaction to what on the surface appears a counter-revolution to feminism. But then, what do I know? 😉

          All I can say is that the ladies (and gentlemen, for that matter) I met hardly seemed brainwashed and certainly not abused. One lady in particular comes to mind, a high powered lawyer (and elegant to boot), who attended the Jazz concert wearing a rather pretty collar. My buddy Max was kind enough to explain the symbolism, though I’m still unsure of much of the lingo (translation problems adding to the issue), and the apparently endless varieties of “whatever floats your boat” relationships.
          What stuck with me was the “power exchange” idea. As in, if you’re a ‘doormat’, you obviously have very little or nothing to exchange, and the allure for the lady and her chosen Dominant lay in offering what she has as a gift. Put that way, it sounded rather nice. Touching, even.

          To me it had some parallels to the military- I offer my skills, my ‘power’, and by putting on the uniform I consented to submit to a structure and hierarchy.

          Now, I do think there are individuals who’ll use BDSM to abuse people – but they don’t need that framework to be right bastards in the first place. Same, no surprise, goes for the Army.
          According to Max, such ‘Armleuchter’ are booted out the club faster than a German high speed train, and anything potentially dangerous is monitored by experienced ‘Masters’ (thus I learned about the SSC part). All of which sounds reasonable enough.
          Safer than my job, to be sure 😛

          […] openly discussing and divulging one’s Do’s and Don’ts and why are QUITE different

          That right there is something I believe would be beneficial to “mostly Vanilla, with a few kinky sprinkles” types like myself. Or even and especially pure Vanilla. A great many Americans, to be certain.

          What could be more reasonable than “Yes to the whipped cream, hold the strawberries, they give me gas” before a romantic evening goes south in a bad way?

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert, here is an excellent video from friends of mine John & Jackie Melfi, owners of all the Colett Swingers clubs (Dallas, New Orleans, Houston), and their interview with the GM of Colette Houston. The first 3-5 minutes of the interview are about the CONTRASTS between regular “vanilla” bars, sports pubs, nightclubs and the behavior of those patrons (males especially) compared to the behavior of Swingers clubs like Colette. THIS is exactly what I was talking about above in our Alternative Lifestyles: the level of respect given. Please watch! Thank you Sir. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

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