Look, every single one of us knows an ‘Aziz Ansari’ and I mean that in a general sense and in reference to the situation with him that happened with such said ‘Grace’. Some of you may know exactly what im talking about and some of you may be confused as hell. So for the sake of putting an end to any and all confusion let me start from the very beginning.
Has anyone ever heard of the blogging site Babe? It is a social blogging site for, and I quote ‘a movement for girls who don’t give a f*#%^’. They have about 800,000 likes on Facebook and an average of five million readers monthly. With a majority of a women demographic, Babe has content for just about everything having to do with women empowerment.
Now, the point? On January 13 babe.net released an article about a girl, anonymously known as ‘Grace’. The content of the entire article is how ‘Grace’ went on a date with the public figure and had the worst time of her life. In fact the piece itself is titled as “I went on a date with Aziz Ansari. It was the worst night of my life.” In case you didn’t want to read the entire article yourself, here is a breakdown on what exactly happened and her side of the story on why Grace felt super violated.
The article starts out with Grace explaining that she would like to remain anonymous for her protection. Her and Aziz met at a 2017 Emmy Awards after party. ‘She approached him because she recognized his camera flash’ thats the way blogger, Katie Way, began such a controversial article to make it clear that their first meeting was as innocent as the date should of been. Aziz gave Grace the typical brush off, however when the celebrity noticed the two brought the exact same camera to the party, the brush off became an immediate connection. Grace had brought another date to the party, but the two were eyeing each other all night. As she was making her exit, Aziz suggested Grace put her number in his phone and if you think you know how this story ends, it’s not the love kind.
(Aziz and Grace at the Emmy 2017 after party)
The article continues to go on about the details of interaction amongst the two. Aziz initiated a date and before you know it the two were out on the town in New York City. Let me just say this, Grace seemed very excited about the date and seemed to be immensely interested in Aziz. Not only is he a huge success in Hollywood but he is one of the few Indian representations we have in the media in regards to minorities, he has gone on tour word wide for his stand up, and released a book in 2015 by the title ‘Modern Romance’. Now, amongst many more triumphs I want to go back to a more specific detail of why Aziz is someone in the media who should know a thing or two about: consent.
His book ‘Modern Romance’ is a book based on research regarding dating and romance in the modern world and in comparison on how it has changed so much throughout time. Along with Ansari, sociologist professor Eric Klinenberg, was a co polite in the creation of the literature. When you hear the word research, you assume that you have done your due diligence to learn about what seems appropriate in the mysterious world of dating and the things that may or may not make someone feel uncomfortable. Still, it doesn't take a sociologist professor or a world renowned comedian to sense when someone is uncomfortable right?
The date began on a Monday evening, wine at Aziz’s apartment and some conversation. The two then walked over to The Hudson River to an oyster bar on a boat. The two talked, but Grace felt that Aziz seemed super pressed to leave. Ladies, if a man asked for the bill before you were even done with your wine, let alone the wine left in the entire bottle, how would you feel about that? Well for Grace it was very off putting. Immediately after the two arrived at Ansari’s apartment, he turned compliments she gave her and rebutted with sexual innuendos and the two were kissing before Grace could even settle in. Hands were on breasts and before Grace could catch her breath the two were undressing, and Grace remembers thinking to herself that things were going from zero to one hundred, real quick.
Soon after the first kiss was over, Aziz wanted to rush and get a condom. Now i cant speak for everyone, but for me, getting intimate has to mean something and when someone goes for the ‘cookie jar’ aggressively fast, I have a tendency to get uncomfortable.Grace mentioned to Aziz that things were moving a little quickly and she wanted to slow down, but Aziz continued to kiss Grace, performed oral sex on her and asked her to reciprocate the ‘gesture’. Many people question, not Aziz’s intentions, but Grace’s judgment on why she didn’t leave if she was feeling uncomfortable at this point.
The thing about men in power, is that they feel like their economic and social standing is a status that should be withheld in every state of being and that we, not only as women but people, owe them something. Grace was smitten by Aziz, the two had a lot in common, and if i'm being honest who wouldn’t be excited to hang out with someone with such an incredible reputation and social standing? “It was really quick. Everything was pretty much touched and done within ten minutes of hooking up except for actual sex” exclaimed Grace.
On January 14, The Atlantic released an article by writer Caitlin Flanagan Titled ‘The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari’. This article has me all the way turned off just by reading the subtitle “Allegations against the comedian are proof that women are angry, temporarily powerful-and very very dangerous”. These words alone, exemplify what white feminism is all about, instead of, also focusing on the fact that Grace may have felt humiliated by being used for ten minutes of pleasure, she focuses on how Aziz might be the only one ‘humiliated’ in this situation. By calling women ‘angry and temporarily powerful’ we all know shes speaking in reference to the allegations of all of the sexual abuse victims coming out and facing their abusers who happen to be, men in hollywood. So my question for Caitlin is, why are you so ‘temporarily angry’ at women?
The article she wrote was a bashing on Grace’s character and how at any moment Grace could of dodged her predicament. She accuses Grace of using Aziz for his platform, which is quite confusing since we don't even know Grace’s real identity. So I want to take this moment to finally state the point: Do I think Aziz Ansari is a monster? No I don’t. I don’t think he meant to hurt Grace, but he was WRONG. He wanted his way with Grace, and ignored all of her uncomfortable cues and words on how she did not want to take things to that level quite yet. Grace admitted how many times Ansari would place her hands on his penis even AFTER she would pull away and this happened about ten times. She then excused herself to visit the restroom, and when she came back she verbally expressed to Aziz: “I don't want to be forced because then i'll hate you, and i'd rather not hate you.” Even after this, Aziz continued to pressure Grace physically and push boundaries that she expressed she was not interested in engaging in, verbally and nonverbally.
After a whole debacle of Grace’s attempts to give Aziz a chance, he continued to prove her wrong and she had finally had enough. “You guys are the same, you guys are all the fucking same” and Aziz played dumb asking her what she ‘meant by that’. Grace soon called a car to come pick her up and she cried all the way home. Aziz sent Grace a text message the next day and the two went back and forth for a short time:
Aziz: “Hey, It was fun meeting you last night. I just
Dropped my roll of film today. Fingers crossed for some
Grace: “Hey Aziz nice meeting you too I hope you have
some good shots on the roll. Last night might have been fun
for you it wasn’t for me. When we got back to your place you
ignored clear non verbal cues you kept going with advances
You had to have noticed I was uncomfortable. I just
Want to take this moment to make you aware of this
Behavior and how uneasy it made me. Really think back
To last night. You may have said ‘its ok, only fun if were
Both enjoying it, lets just chill.’ but within moments of that
Your fingers were down my throat. You were putting my hands
On your d*#$% continuously.”
Grace continued on, however I decided to include only the essential aspect of the text.
Aziz: “I'm so sad to hear this. All I can say is It would never be
My intention to make you or anyone feel the way you described.
Clearly I misread things in the moment and I am truly sorry.”
I know that a good amount of you are probably thinking ‘Well she should of left the minute she felt uncomfortable’ and that's exactly what Caitlin Flanagan said in The Atlantic. So let me ask you this, do you ever remember a time when you were being pressured to do something, or placed yourself in a circumstance that made you feel uncomfortable, but you stayed anyway? Because either someone you’re trying to impress is there, or maybe a group of friends are having the time of their lives and you don't want to be a ‘party pooper’ by telling everyone how you feel.
Growing up I was very strong willed, I never did anything I didn't want to do. I met a boy once and we’ll call him ‘Stan’ for the sake of not giving away anyone’s identity. So Stan had a group of friends that made me feel uncomfortable. One of his friends in particular, who we can call ‘Jona’, had attempted to hit on me during the time I was seeing Stan. He was very persistent to the point where it made me so uncomfortable to even be around and it made me that much more uneasy if we were partying and he was under the influence. As much as I hated Jona, I loved Stan, and yes I put myself in a predicament where I was around someone who i knew could be a potential threat in order to be accepted by someone I truly cared about. Jona would always cross the line, grabbing me when Stan couldn't see, mouthing inappropriate words to me, and the list goes on. Long story short Stan found out, but I was the one to blame, I was the one who ‘should of said something’ and Jona was left completely off the hook.
Grace’s story spoke to me in so many ways, because I know she wanted to impress this man, I know she wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt and throughout this ordeal I know she questioned to herself whether her feeling uncomfortable was her being ‘too sensitive’ or if it was just plain wrong. It took Grace a minute to realize that she was actually being violated and that DOES NOT make her at fault for what happened. Is Aziz at fault, yes. Is Aziz the worst person in the world, probably not. But Aziz should have known better! Everyone can relax, people have this idea that this scandal alone will be the end of his career, and I hate to break it to you, but it's definitely not. He will continue to get roles, he will continue with all of his coins in his pockets, he will still be funny to the majority of you and that's ok, because I don't believe Aziz meant to put Grace in this situation, but he did.
The thing is Ansari is not a monster. He is not a criminal and under these accounts he may not be an ‘official’ sex offender or violent, but he did assault this woman. It is important for these stories to surface, it is essential to learn about these close accounts on sexual harassment because it teaches the next guy who could be a potential threat on how to handle the situation and how nonverbal cues are very important. It could save your friend who is a good guy but tends to be ‘a little too much’ when it comes to females. It could save the entitled fraternity guy what not to do and how to actually realize that if a girl is uncomfortable, you have to let up so that she’s not crying in an uber all the way home and scarred for life. These things matter, and Grace may have gotten away but she’s always going to be affected by this encounter and although Aziz is not a monster, he is to blame.
Deidre Curiel is a CUSITEMUSIC.com Blogger out of Chicago
Facebook: Deidre Michelle Curiel