'I'm sorry you had a bad date... but let's take a moment to reflect on what you claim was the "worst night of your life,"', Banfield said.
Michael Cunningham, a psychology professor at the University of Louisville, said the Grace/Ansari encounter reflected misunderstandings that may arise due to differences between conventional dating relationships and hook-ups.
Grace told the USA website Babe she used verbal and non-verbal cues to express her upset throughout the encounter. You don't know whether the man who calls himself a feminist on television or on his Tinder profile, who rails against mansplainers and manterrupters during dinner, will listen when you say "let's take it slow" back at his place. On his Ermenegildo Zegna tuxedo, Ansari wore the Time's Up pin in solidarity with victims of sexual assault and harassment. In a statement, Ansari did not deny any of her specific claims, but he didn't validate Grace's experience, either.
"It was true that everything did seem OK to me, so when I heard that was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned".
But Ansari is not quite the point here. This response is problematic for a few reasons, with the primary being that Grace isn't the one facing sexual misconduct allegations, so her actions aren't the ones we should be having a deep cultural discussion about. Consent alone can not stretch to describe the "bad sex" that leaves women feeling used, violated, and crying in the Uber home. "There's room for both of these conversations to happen at the same time".
The story has all of the ingredients of one that begs controversy: sexual politics and power, and comes at a time when Hollywood and the culture is grappling with the treatment of women.
Some background: Ansari - actor, comedian and author of a guide to dating in the Internet era - met the photographer at a party. A man, albeit a famous actor, goes on a consensual date, attempts to have sex, gets shot down - but doesn't rape or force himself on her - and it becomes a news story months later?
The Babe.net article details the couple engaging in oral sex and describes Ansari's sexual advances and behaviour as "those of a horny, rough, entitled 18-year-old". I read a lot about vibes she was throwing off in her recount of the situation. Things change, often for the better. No one should have to guess what you're feeling or thinking. "But there's also nuanced aspects of consent, which are things like body language, and verbal cues". The fact that it's seen as a threatening or unmanageably high standard is puzzling. You had an unpleasant date.
"Though they may have wanted to be in solidarity with other women, the stories of dates gone wrong or women scorned have detracted from women who have been raped or seriously sexually assaulted", she said. Grey areas are a part of our sexual reality. But women face more risk when they accept a drink from a odd man, when they agree to go up to a first date's apartment; men don't have to give their date's name and address to their roommate "just in case" anything bad happens to them. She was uncomfortable "at how quickly things escalated". Keeping the lines of communication open keeps people from getting hurt.
In the aftermath, Grace felt used. If I ask someone, "Can I kiss you?" and they say, "Yes", that "yes" is only specific to that kiss.
Jill Filipovic writes for The Guardian: Reading the story about Ansari, as well as the New Yorker's viral "Cat Person" short story about a twentysomething's confusing and often unpleasant flirtation turned sexual encounter with a thirtysomething man, I was struck by how much I could relate, and how I've heard similar stories from almost every woman I know. The trauma is tragic, but the unsatisfying and sometimes unjust sex isn't that great either.
The woman's claims did not involve force or violence. We need to talk, not about individual men, but about why women's sexuality is so devalued that their pleasure or comfort isn't a non-negotiable part of sex, and why our definition of masculinity is so toxic that racking up a higher number of sexual partners is more important than being kind or respectful to the sexual partners they do have. Perhaps it's easier to hear from a fellow man on why dating is so much more unsafe for women, and how understanding that can help you make sure your next date doesn't become a bad experience.