Tamil American actor Aziz Ansari recently made history by becoming the first person of South Asian descent to win a prestigious golden globes award for his work on Master of None. He has been a great source of inspiration for countless young ethnic men and women, who were thrilled to find a role model that they could relate to – whose success gave them hope for their own career aspirations in the entertainment industry.
But all that positive impact, inspiration and achievements stand to be stripped away in light of sexual misconduct allegations that were made against Ansari by an anonymous 23-year-old woman who went on a date with him and concludes: “I believe that I was taken advantage of by Aziz. I was not listened to and ignored. It was by far the worst experience with a man I’ve ever had.” You can read her full account of the date at Babe. Ansari says he believed the sexual activity was ‘completely consensual’ in his response to the allegations.
The public reactions to the allegations have been very divided. Here are two perspectives from female writers:
Rachel Thompson writes:
“The responses to the woman’s story are peppered with the word “should.” She should have said no; she should have walked out; she should never have taken off her clothes; she shouldn’t have been there in the first place. These responses, which are disturbingly widespread, not only shift the blame and responsibility onto the woman, they also fail to recognise an important truth. For many women, uttering an explicit “no” is not as easy or straightforward as you might think.”
Caitlin Flanagan writes:
“I thought it would take a little longer for the hit squad of privileged young white women to open fire on brown-skinned men. I had assumed that, on the basis of intersectionality and all that, they’d stay laser focused on college-educated white men for another few months. But we’re at warp speed now, and the revolution—in many ways so good and so important—is starting to sweep up all sorts of people into its conflagration: the monstrous, the cruel, and the simply unlucky. Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember. They’re angry and temporarily powerful and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.”