News & Politics

This Tweet Captures Exactly What Men Need to Understand About Where Aziz Ansari Went Wrong

A man shared his epiphany about #MeToo on Twitter, and now it's gone viral.

Photo Credit: David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

Men, we women know these are uncomfortable times for you. Accusations of sexual misconduct and assault against Aziz Ansari have got people talking about the nuanced and confusing gray areas of consent. Some men may feel the allegations against Ansari went too far. Maybe you can’t see why a woman would feel violated by his actions, or maybe you're frantically recalling your last few hookups and wondering if you, too, have ever missed nonverbal cues from a partner to stop. Perhaps it’s easier to hear from a fellow man on why dating can be so much more upleansant, or even dangerous for women, and how understanding that can help you make sure your next date doesn't become a bad experience.

Dating in 2018 is, for better or worse, tied to hookup culture. Television and internet porn have convinced some of us that casual sex is as simple for women as it is for men. Tinder has made first dates as disposable as single-day contact lenses. But, as the now-infamous Babe article and last month’s New Yorker story, "Cat Person," show, even in our age of social progress, the reality of casual dating is far different for women than it is for men. Many women have a "Law & Order: SVU" rerun—not an old "Sex and the City" episode—nagging in the back of their minds when they are out on a first date and a man invites them up to his apartment.

For one man, the debate about Aziz Ansari has helped him learn this truth. Andy Khouri, an editor at DC comics who’s worked on titles like Suicide Squad and Green Arrow, posted his thoughts on modern-day dating to Twitter. According to Khouri, he’d never considered the gender power imbalance in dating until a recent conversation with female friends. This was his epiphany: 

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Khouri continues: “Dating is more dangerous for women than men. Living is more dangerous for women than men. Outliers are just that. The answer to sexual violence isn’t for women to do X or Y. It’s for men to stop committing sexual violence.”

It’s crucial wisdom for any man hoping to avoid Aziz Ansari’s mistake. Ansari mistakenly believed he and his date had equal power and say in the situation, but that's far from the reality. As long as men are more physically, politically and financially powerful than women, there will always be a specter of fear hovering over women on their first date with a new man. One out of every six women experiences rape or attempted rape, after all. It doesn’t mean that women don’t or can’t enjoy dating as much as men, and it doesn’t mean that sex on the first date is always a bad idea. But women face more risk when they accept a drink from a strange man, or when they agree to go to a first date’s home. Until men fully put themselves in a woman's shoes, they won’t really hear her when she says “no,” there won’t be full consent, and men will fall into the same situation that Ansari brought upon himself.

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.