Aziz Ansari, Do You Understand Why Silence is Not Consent?

Aziz Ansari, Do You Understand Why Silence is Not Consent?

A look into why the Aziz Ansari is a story that is very common and thus one we must continue to discuss.
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I was scrolling through twitter when I stopped short an article that genuinely shocked me. It was one written by a young girl, ten years younger than her abuser, who had recently gone out with star of the Netflix original comedy “Masters of None.” I remember just nights before watching Aziz Ansari receive his Golden Globe award while sporting a pin on his all-black tuxedo that held the two bold words “Times Up.” As I watched, I found myself overcome with respect for this man and the morals that he stood for.

However, it became exceedingly evident to me that the morals he chose to uphold in a public format were incredibly different than that of what he participated in while in private. Aziz recently went on a date with a woman that he met in a public setting who he later invited out to dinner. Upon going to dinner, the woman recounts how he seemed in a hustle to leave before inviting her up to his apartment where he began making repeated sexual advances towards her despite her blatant discomfort at the situation in its entirety.

This event has struck quite a controversy and ignited debate on a variety of issues, one being: is silence consent? The woman who was horrified throughout the experience didn’t say no until fleeing the apartment and demanding an Uber home. This struck the debate that if silence can be consent. Can not saying yes be taken as a definite no?

The overall theme of this narrative is that women who retract consent cannot be rape victims. Women who are uneasy by the encounters they are experiencing are still giving consent. A cold, limp, scared body that isn’t verbally saying no is a consenting one. The overarching theme of this entire argument is that men can be against sexual assault without fully knowing what it is. Aziz has been a self-proclaimed feminist since 2012, appearing on the "David Lettermen Show" to inform all the attendants that he supported the rights of women.

It became evident to me upon reading the article of the victim that Aziz did not support women as human beings, but rather women as a concept. He supported the idea of men and women being equal without ever really having to practice it in his everyday life or even knowing what equality is. Above all else, he supported what women could do for him and how they could satisfy him, not feminism and the equality of sexes.

I understand that there are two sides to every story. I also understand that the woman did not say no until she was forced to a point of such discomfort that she felt she had to. However, I also hear the voices of women who have said they had the misfortune or having one too many experiences almost identical to the one that Aziz put this woman in.

Dating “nice guys” can often turn into a game of guess who.

Guess if the nice guy is really nice or is only pretending to be as a ploy to get women in bed.

Guess if he wants me to come up to his apartment to have a glass of wine, discuss politics, watch Tv, get to know me better, or if it is only so he can pin me up against the wall seconds after entering the door.

The thing that is eerie about this story is that almost every woman has experienced it at some point in her life. We are forced to play a game of guess who and it is a game that gets scarier each time you play. In the end, neither party truly wins.

The film and media that we entertain fuels this line of thinking where two characters begin making out seconds after passing the door frame of an apartment. It is obvious to me that Aziz went directly into this entirely incorrect way of thinking instead of having a logical, adult conversation of consent.

As a woman, I have had to play this sick game as well. The game of “guess who” has been one I’ve been forced to play ever since I started realizing what men were. I have always had to decipher if the words of men were actually their own opinions or an elaborate play to win over the interest of a woman.

It is obvious to me now that the pin Aziz sported on that night was in no way due to his support of the cause, but rather an elaborate ploy to cater to Hollywood and try to aid a cause in which he fuels the problem.

We’ve seen this display of behavior time and time again. Whether it be the reality star Josh Duggar who campaigned for family values while spending his nights paying off prostitutes for sex while his wife stayed at home with their three children. Or Oklahoma Senator, Ralph Shortey who advocated for marriage being between a man and women only to have his escapades of sexual encounters with an underage boy to be discovered. It is evident that celebrities in media will campaign for a cause because it is popular and not because of the actual support that they hold for the cause. Aziz has campaigned for a cause while actively being part of the problem.

Seventy-seven percent of rapes occur while in the house of the victim or in the house of the perpetrator. The notion has arisen that women are assaulted only on campuses or at work, but the terrifying reality is often times it happens in quiet, intimate settings like this. In settings where you are removed from the outside world and there aren’t many people around to hear you scream. The argument has been posed time and time again. Why didn’t she get up and scream? However, the question can be asked: would anyone have heard her if she did?

This story is one that is all too familiar to women.

Silence is not consent. The notion that women have to be screaming, crying, or shoving a man off of them in order for it to be considered assault is a damaging one. The fact that this instance was chalked up to nothing more than a “bad date” or that the two had “poor chemistry” is aiding in the forever spiraling world of rape culture that we live in.

Sexual assault should not be considered a “bad date” and silence certainly isn’t consent.

It’s time we stop forcing women into playing an elaborate game of guess who. Silence is not consent. Assault should never be chalked up to “bad chemistry” or confusion.

Time is up. But nice pin, Aziz.

Cover Image Credit: NBC Universal

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I Am A Female And I Am So Over Feminists

I believe that I am a strong woman, but I also believe in a strong man.
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Beliefs are beliefs, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm all about girl power, but in today's world, it's getting shoved down our throats. Relax feminists, we're OK.

My inspiration actually came from a man (God forbid, a man has ideas these days). One afternoon my boyfriend was telling me about a discussion his class had regarding female sports and how TV stations air fewer female competitions than that of males. In a room where he and his other male classmate were completely outnumbered, he didn't have much say in the discussion.

Apparently, it was getting pretty heated in the room, and the women in the class were going on and on about how society is unfair to women in this aspect and that respect for the female population is shrinking relative to the male population.

If we're being frank here, it's a load of bull.

SEE ALSO: To The Women Who Hate Feminism

First of all, this is the 21st century. Women have never been more respected. Women have more rights in the United States than ever before. As far as sports go, TV stations are going to air the sports that get the most ratings. On a realistic level, how many women are turning on Sports Center in the middle of the day? Not enough for TV stations to make money. It's a business, not a boycott against female athletics.

Whatever happened to chivalry? Why is it so “old fashioned" to allow a man to do the dirty work or pay for meals? Feminists claim that this is a sign of disrespect, yet when a man offers to pick up the check or help fix a flat tire (aka being a gentleman), they become offended. It seems like a bit of a double standard to me. There is a distinct divide between both the mental and physical makeup of a male and female body. There is a reason for this. We are not equals. The male is made of more muscle mass, and the woman has a more efficient brain (I mean, I think that's pretty freaking awesome).

The male body is meant to endure more physical while the female is more delicate. So, quite frankly, at a certain point in life, there need to be restrictions on integrating the two. For example, during that same class discussion that I mentioned before, one of the young ladies in the room complained about how the NFL doesn't have female athletes. I mean, really? Can you imagine being tackled by a 220-pound linebacker? Of course not. Our bodies are different. It's not “inequality," it's just science.

And while I can understand the concern in regard to money and women making statistically less than men do, let's consider some historical facts. If we think about it, women branching out into the workforce is still relatively new in terms of history. Up until about the '80s or so, many women didn't work as much as they do now (no disrespect to the women that did work to provide for themselves and their families — you go ladies!). We are still climbing the charts in 2016.

Though there is still considered to be a glass ceiling for the working female, it's being shattered by the perseverance and strong mentality of women everywhere. So, let's stop blaming men and society for how we continue to “struggle" and praise the female gender for working hard to make a mark in today's workforce. We're doing a kick-ass job, let's stop the complaining.

I consider myself to be a very strong and independent female. But that doesn't mean that I feel the need to put down the opposite gender for every problem I endure. Not everything is a man's fault. Let's be realistic ladies, just as much as they are boneheads from time to time, we have the tendency to be a real pain in the tush.

It's a lot of give and take. We don't have to pretend we don't need our men every once in a while. It's OK to be vulnerable. Men and women are meant to complement one another — not to be equal or to over-power. The genders are meant to balance each other out. There's nothing wrong with it.

I am all for being a proud woman and having confidence in what I say and do. I believe in myself as a powerful female and human being. However, I don't believe that being a female entitles me to put down men and claim to be the “dominant" gender. There is no “dominant" gender. There's just men and women. Women and men. We coincide with each other, that's that.

Time to embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: chrisjohnbeckett / Flickr

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Past Legal And Modern Social Apartheid

An opinion piece on past legal Apartheid in South Africa and how it is socially reflected in the United States.

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When stepping inside of a solitary cell at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg, I felt a tightness in my chest and wanted to leave that small space immediately; imagining a Black South African who broke the pass laws during Apartheid being in there is beyond disturbing. Due to laws such as the Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923, the Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951, and the Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970, Black South Africans during Apartheid were extremely limited in where they could live, detrimentally affecting their economic and employment opportunities. When touring the former Constitutional Hill prison, the guide told us that, when Black South Africans were caught without passes permitting their stay in Joburg for the day and/or night, they spent 5 days in prison, along with murderers and others who committed serious crimes. If caught multiple times breaking these pass laws, they would spend 5 years in this prison. Most of those who violated these pass laws were unemployed or sought better employment in Joburg; this is understandable, as a person has a better chance of having a job by being there physically. When thinking further about the lack of opportunity they suffered from due to the aforementioned laws creating this effect, this legal repercussion becomes further and further disturbing. Additionally, this also directly led to the creation of "White" and "Black" areas, where Whites lived in areas of better opportunity (ex. cities, suburbia), and Blacks were subjected to living in poverty and townships where there was limited economic and employment opportunities.

This lack of opportunity is echoed in the U.S. when looking at socially designated "White" and "Black" areas. Trayvon Martin was murdered by George Zimmerman essentially because he thought Martin "was not where he belonged", which was in a nice suburban area. As a person of color myself, I have been stared at in museums, followed in stores, and once at 12 years old kicked out of a shop (I did not do anything wrong), because I "stuck out". In this way, society told me (and violently told Martin) that we don't belong in those areas, that we "belong" in ghettos or prison; the racial demographics of populations in U.S. prisons will support me here. Therefore, by society socially designating where people "belong", not only do they bind themselves in their own ignorance, but also prevent people of color from sharing the same access to plentiful life and economic opportunity.

References

Native (Urban) Areas Act No 21 of 1923: Prevented Black South Africans from leaving designated area without a pass. The ruling National Party saw this as keeping Whites "safe" while using Blacks for cheap labor.

Bantu/Native Building Workers Act of 1951: Allowed Black South Africans to enter the building industry as artisans and laborers. Restricted to "Native" areas. Prevented competition between Whites, Coloureds, and Blacks. Could not work outside a designated area unless given special permission.

Bantu Homelands Citizens Act of 1970: All Black South Africans would lose their South African citizenship/nationality over time. Would not be able to work in "South Africa" due to being aliens. Black South Africans would have to work inside their own areas and could only work in urban areas if they had special permission from the Minister.


South African History Online. "Apartheid Legislation 1850s-1970s." South African History Online, South African History Online, 11 Apr. 2016, www.sahistory.org.za/article/apartheid-legislation....

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