My friends, acquaintances, and I (mostly desi or other POC women in our 30s to 40s) were discussing the issues surrounding Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo, and (most recently) Aziz Ansari on various social media platforms in the last few weeks. I read re: what allegedly occurred with “Grace” and Ansari soon after the story broke. I stayed up well past midnight reading various comments, mainly on Twitter. I was surprised to see how women (and men) of different ages and backgrounds were responding to these allegations against the comedian. Some women in their 20s called what Grace described as “assault,” though others who were older referred to it as “a bad date,” “coercion,” or called Ansari a “normal man.”
A few of “Grace’s” comments reveal that she has been hurt (maybe in similar ways) by other men before. When I read “coercion,” I recalled a 23-year old woman (friend of a former roommate) who said: “I wasn’t really into it” and “I felt like I was coerced” after she got out of a short relationship with a slightly older teaching assistant in her law school. In my mind then, this was the type of strong, smart, and assertive woman that I didn’t think could be coerced into anything. But that’s how she felt, and others’ feelings should not be dismissed. I remembered how some of her fellow law students empathized, while others judged her for dating a man in hopes of getting a better grade.
One of my friends (who is married w/ two growing kids) posed this question on Facebook: What rules of dating would you give to people in their 20s? Safety, protocol, etc. Several women responded, including myself. Below are some tips I came up with: