Many good points made here. Louis CK didn’t really take responsibility for himself — not truly. Then he got his career back and started mocking the prior situation, further minimizing that he had really done anything wrong. That’s why people see their own abuser — because that’s a common way these things tend to go — the woman gets traumatized and the guy gets angry about called out for doing that and further blames and traumatizes her and society allows it.

Same with Ansari. Although what he did was not outright predatory in the same ways, it was reflective of a societal dynamic that teaches men to prioritize their own desires over even noticing what their partner is wanting (or not wanting) and the power imbalance that teaches women to deprioritize their actual needs and wants. Rather than taking that in fully and learning from it when it was brought to his attention, Ansari too regained his career and used it to lash back out at those who dared to bring to his attention that he’d done anything wrong, even if inadvertently or subconsciously.

I entirely agree that focusing on the ways that these dynamics are institutionalized and ingrained into cultural narratives is a priority. As I wrote in the article below,

“When Nicole Bedera, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Michigan, interviewed male college students in 2015, each could articulate at least a rudimentary definition of the concept (of consent): the idea that both parties wanted to be doing what they were doing. Most also endorsed the current “yes means yes” standard, which requires active, conscious, continuous and freely given agreement by all parties engaging in sexual activity. Yet when asked to describe their own most recent encounters in both a hookup and in a relationship, even men who claimed to practice affirmative consent often had not.”

These young men weren’t monsters; they weren’t bad guys and certainly didn’t think of themselves as bad guys — and yet, they were self-reporting that they were sometimes engaged in behaviors that might well come under legal definitions of assault. “In my own interviews with high school and college students conducted over the past two years, young men that I like enormously — friendly, thoughtful, bright, engaging young men — have “sort of” raped girls, have pushed women’s heads down to get oral sex, have taken a Snapchat video of a prom date performing oral sex and sent it to the baseball team. They all described themselves as “good guys.” But the fact is, a “really good guy” can do a really bad thing.”

These guys who said they valued affirmative consent didn’t have intentions to be harmful or abusive. They weren’t consciously thinking, “This girl owes me something so I’m just going to take it.” None-the-less, their social programming around entitlement to female bodies undoubtedly contributed to them disregarding their own conscious beliefs about a woman’s full participation in deciding what kind of sexual experience they were going to have together.”

We definitely need to keep dismantling those narratives that lead to this kind of disconnect. Joe Biden doesn’t truly understand how the “overly friendly” way that he’s behaved with women is intrusive, entitled, and out of line. It would be ideal to get to a place where pretty much everyone understands.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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