Ok, we’ve gone too far. Aziz Ansari is a self-proclaimed feminist. I’m not buying this #metoo accusation on him. And there are others I doubt as well truly fit this category.
If a woman (or man; let’s face it, women can take sexual advantage of people too) gives mixed messages on what they want to do sexually, if they say, “Yes” when they really mean, “No,” that is on THEM, not their partner.
It’s not women’s fault that they feel so confused, however. It’s society and the media: the messages that pop culture have been feeding us over the years. The messages that inspired the chapter “Why Disney Princesses Suck!” in my book, First Comes Self-Love, Then Comes Marriage. Disney princesses, and, later in life, the romantic teen and adult relationships showcased in TV and movies, have created a social backdrop to the unraveling of self-knowledge and self-awareness when it comes to sexual behavior.
To put it simply, we believe what we see in movies and TV and we chase after that “love at first sight,” “goodnight kiss (or more…) on the first date” experience. Just like the characters in the movies, we do not know how to respond to the feelings of instant, heated attraction with another. We engage in sexual behavior without thinking ahead on how it will impact the health of our blossoming relationship (or if it will toxify it before it even begins), let alone our own health and safety (emotional as well as physical).
Of course women (and some men as well) are confused and giving out mixed messages. That is what they are receiving from the messages around them. It is thus in large part society’s fault for cultivating these over-romanticized, non-realistic, and harmful concepts of love (which is actually lust, not love at all).
The romanticization of physical intimacy in pop culture has warped our own abilities to be attuned to what our hearts really want out of the dating experience. Which in many cases has gotten even more misled by the idea that women can “be liberated” and have sex whenever they want, no strings attached. (As my therapist told me years back, this may work for some women, but not many, and I am DEFINITELY not one of them.)
So here we are in a social backdrop of romanticization of physical intimacy and the flawed belief that we can involve ourselves in sexual acts and then feel fine afterward. Thus while there are those #metoo claims which are legitimate cases of rape or assault, many others are not, and should not be grouped into the same category.
But while it isn’t our (women’s) fault, it is OUR job to take back our power. To look HONESTLY at ourselves, at these vague sexual situations and say: What do I want and what do I not want. To think this through ahead of time, not only when one is in the moment of heated passion and hormones (spoiler alert: your gonna go for it at that point!)
I’m not saying this as someone who has no experience and no sensitivity to the subject.
I’m saying this BECAUSE I’ve been there. Because I was in therapy for a decade working on THIS very issue.
What do I want? Why have I sometimes gone further than I originally intended? How can I think through things more and act impulsively less? How can I be mindful in an area of life that seems to make me lose my mind and throw my rational self out the window?
It’s not an easy journey, but it’s one we have to take. And maybe if we take it together, we will feel more supported and less alone on our path towards enhanced self-awareness. Bunching together feeling seduced/manipulated by a man with rape/assault is disrespectful to the wrongfully accused, and more than that, it’s disrespectful to actual rape/assault victims. Let’s take an honest look at ourselves, and an honest look at our society.