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Aziz Ansari’s date controversy shines a new light on ‘non-verbal cues’ in dating

Aziz Ansari’s bad date night story brings back the question of sexual consent in a whole new avatar.
Aziz Ansari

Millennial dating is complex as it is, but Aziz Ansari’s date night with a woman named Grace (pseudonym) has stormed the Western media this week, as the Internet went berserk with #Metoo movement. With broadly polarised opinion on what constitutes genuine sexual misconduct and whether we as a society expects males to be ‘mind readers’ to pick up non-verbal cues, Ansari’s controversy puts a new light on what do we really mean as a proper dating code of conduct.

So what happened that night?

Stand-up comedian, actor (of Master of None fame) and self-identified feminist Aziz Ansari went out on a date with a 23-something anonymous woman going by the pseudonym ‘Grace’ on September 25, 2017 that went terribly wrong, as she has described in her story. They had dinner, later went to his apartment where Grace alleged that Ansari quickly made sexual advances to her. According to her account of the event, she continued to express her discomfort in continuing the making out session and gave non-verbal cues that she was not okay. By the end of the date Grace went out of Ansari’s apartment, called an Uber and “cried the whole ride home. At that point I felt violated. That last hour was so out of my hand,” she said.

As the story appeared on Babe and took the world of social media by storm, Ansari released a statement saying “I was surprised and concerned” on learning how painful and uncomfortable the experience was for Grace. You can read his full statement here.

Here are the texts they exchanged after the date

This is the text Grace* sent Aziz Ansari after their date which left her feeling “violated”. She tells Ansari how uncomfortable he made her feel, saying “you ignored clear non-verbal cues” and “kept going with advances.”

Read the full story on https://t.co/FyMMG6uO1j. pic.twitter.com/lPOvW6tFTr

The takeaway for millennial dating

For every sexually active woman of the 21st century, sexual assault and misconduct is as real as the changing dynamics of the urban dating scene. But Ansari’s date controversy raises a pertinent question on whether ‘non-verbal cues’ could be taken as a legit way of expressing lack of consent. Do we expect men to be mind readers to understand our body language expressing discomfort to the sexual advances being made to us, even when we don’t say a firm ‘NO’?

See what Whoopi Goldberg has to say about it.

All said and done, the idea of ‘consent’ continues to be the cardinal point that 21st century men, celebrity or not, need to have a good understanding of.

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