Tag Archives: consent

Today’s Word is… LANDMINE

I remember a little while back, me and my family was chilling out maxing relaxing all cool. My nephew for most of his life was an only child and only nephew, he’s used to being spoiled, used to being the center of attention but you know how kids get to that annoying stage where they’re oblivious to the fact they aren’t as cute as they think they are, he was right at that line. So while we was hanging out he was doing the most to get our attention, kept changing his outfit to come back where we were. I remember my auntie saying looking like a damn [redacted], we all laughed moreso at the randomness of it all and the fact that my nephew gets really irritated at being the butt of a joke. Laughter subsides and I feel compelled to lob a quick “Don’t say no shit like that no more” (because he might go to school and repeat it, was my reasoning because old black people don’t be understanding shit). And everyone went right back to the game. That conversation started and ended in the room with no proof it ever happened besides me writing it on a fairly anonymous blog. But imagine if my sister posted a picture of him on facebook, my aunt commented on it instead and now some girl who used to sit behind my sister in Algebra II is offended and she screenshots it and shares it on her timeline. Her cousin posts it on Instagram, it works its way to Woke Phi Woke Twitter and next thing you know Bossip is writing an article about how “An Ashy Ankh Auntie dragged to Smithereens on Black Twitter” and now I gotta act like I ain’t see that shit. (Aunties are fair game, she ain’t birth you)

All of this runs through my mind as I think about how or if I should write about the Aziz Ansari story. I’ve spent most of the weekend reading thoughts from both sides. There’s a lot to unpack there, the idea of coercion, enthusiastic consent, conditional consent, extroverts missing social cues, even examining the predatory dating behaviors that Nice Guy™ seems oblivious to. (that last one is still in the maybe pile) But then again, no one wants to hear from a man on this. (Especially YOU, Matt Damon). You can think you are simply being nuanced but easily cross that line into rape apologist and victim blamer. You can defend Aziz and next week 5 more victims can come forward and have you looking stupid. I don’t know what happened. I do know that he didn’t exactly disagree with her account of what happened. I do know he seems too old to be running game on young naive 53 percenters. And that she… [LANDMINE]

In this social media thinkpiece industrial complex age, it’s easy for any and everyone to feel compelled to have an opinion on everything, be offended by everything, ready to defend anything without realizing you’re in public. I’m sure Babe wasn’t trying to end Ansari’s career or win a Pullitzer when they posted the story in the first place. It did force me to look back at my own history and have private conversations with others who also had to. In that regard it’s great that it’s come out. I have also spoken to people privately who agree with the sentiments expressed in The Atlantic and New York Times. Then you think about how triggering it could be to have something you are grappling with be debunked in the The Atlantic and New York Times.

There’s a lot of dialogue that can and should be had about Ansari, but it shouldn’t be done via epigrams and gifs. These are deep sensitive topics and shouldn’t be simplified to pick a side like it’s a Super Bowl prediction, especially loud and publicly. It’s a mistake I made fairly recently. You can know what you meant, your friends can know what you meant, the strangers who may read your thoughts, do not.

-Stan-

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Today’s Word is… NETFLIX

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I found myself tickled by the fact people are writing about “Netflix and chill” as if it’s a new phenomenon.  (let’s just ignore the fact that I’m literally writing about it).   Whether it was the old Love and Basketball VHS, or that pirated Shottas DVD that seemed to just appear in every black undergraduate dorm, there was always the come over and watch a movie non date date that one would pull when they was trying to hook up but wanted to be a little tactful about it.   Seeing as VHS tapes (yes I’m old enough to remember them) and DVDs are all but gone, Netflix has become the norm but the game is all the same.   There’s even songs about it.   Netflix should just have a “Chill” section with all the old school black romance movies,  but they ain’t real.  (If this happens just remember it was my idea and someone owe me a check).  Not that the movie necessarily mattered because if you turn on a movie and go from credits to credits, typically something went horribly wrong.  Or the movie was just too good.  Sorry _______. 

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I did however see this broken down from two different perspectives than the tongue in cheek nature of which I did.  The first being,  of course the age old why doesnt this generation date?  I can’t say I agree with it because speaking for myself, the perk of dating is getting out the house.    I also think that chilling is more intimate than dating.  I can go out to eat with someone and get to know them better,  sitting up in my house or me being in theirs?  Idk you like that, beloved. Netflix & chill is cool when we’ve been kicking it a while and we’re just enjoying a show together on a rainy day even though I already watched ahead so I’m sitting here rewatching episodes like they’re new.  Sorry ________.   (Different _______, I’ve run out of nicknames). 

The other perspective was much more deep.  Perhaps this was just privilege and naivete but it was something I never thought about explicitly.  That “Netflix & Chill” was just another addition to a growing and troubling rape culture of assumptions and aversions to consent.  The thought process that goes “She knew she wasn’t coming over to see a movie” is only a few degrees of separation from “what was she wearing” “she provoked him” two issues I’ve been vehemently opposed on this very blog.   I guess I found myself stunned as I try to explain the difference and how much sense I thought I was making yet how wrong I sounded.   My case being that “Netflix & Chill” was more of a euphemism than deception.   If I invite a woman over to watch a movie, it’s because it sounds nicer than “you coming to get this work”.   I don’t think that’s harmful, I feel like there’s a level of nuance that can be applied, instead it’s struck down as mansplaining.  What’s good Miley?  Cuz me no know. 

What I do know that changing culture comes with changing minds,  so maybe I’m just wrong on this one.   I don’t believe so but it’s not a sword I’m prepared to fall on.   As I said before,  I’m not with just any ol girl in my home so maybe it’s something that doesn’t apply to me anyway.   If we’re at “Netflix & Chill” level, we should both understand what we’re both about at that moment as well as be comfortable if maybe the mood changes midway and you end up just watching a movie and dozing off for a few.  Sorry ________.

-Stan-

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