Addressing Concerns About #MeToo

I know people who have supported the people who’ve decided to post #MeToo and the people who are #MeToo but are too scared to post it. I’ve known people who’ve used this as an opportunity to reflect on their own actions and see how they may contribute to a culture where so many people are “Me Toos.” And, sadly, I also know many people who can say #MeToo.

However, I’ve also heard lots of other people express various concerns as a result of #MeToo. In this post, I will address the concerns I’ve heard as best as I can. So, here we go…

Does this mean that we can’t hug anymore?
Okay, so I can somewhat relate to this question, because I have friends, both men and women, who love to give a good hug (and a few of you may be reading this post).

But to answer this question, we can hug, as long as the desire to hug is mutual. The key, of course, is that it’s mutual, and if it’s not mutual then you shouldn’t force a hug on someone. So, if you open your arms to invite a hug, but they don’t respond, consider that a “no,” and back off. Consent matters.

What about all the gray areas?
Especially with the Aziz Ansari story, which I wrote on and shared a post on, numerous people (mostly men) brought up “gray areas.”

If you feel that you’re in a gray area, the best thing to do is ask. By asking, you know whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. The worst thing that could happen is not a “no,” but committing an action that goes against the wishes of the person you’re with.

But what if I can’t read someone’s mind?
Some news media, including an article from The New York Times, think that the only crime of people like Aziz Ansari is the inability to read the mind of the person they’re with.

Frankly, there’s no mind reading that needs to be done. As I said in a previous blog post, unless both people say “yes,” the answer is “no.” If you need to read someone’s mind to try figuring out whether someone wants sex, then the answer is still “no” unless you get a clear “yes.”


Hopefully, I’ve addressed the biggest concerns that people have expressed about the #MeToo movement. That being said, I recognize that there are limits to my perspective, and if anyone else has concerns about #MeToo or their own responses to concerns about #MeToo, please reply in the comments section below.

On the Aziz Ansari Sexual Misconduct Story

I have to admit that I knew very little about actor, comedian, and filmmaker Aziz Ansari before I heard about the sexual misconduct allegation against him.

In the wake of the babe.com story detailing Ansari’s sexual abuse, I learned about his career, his apparently being a feminist, and his committing actions that go against his supposed values.

Now that I know some about him, and now that I’ve read the article detailing the sexual misconduct allegation against him, I think that it’s time to say a few things that are relevant to this case and the theme of exposing blind injustices on this blog:

  1. We must listen to accusers. I feel the need to emphasize this because many people haven’t listened to Ansari’s accuser, who goes by the name of “Grace.” Doing anything less than listening completely and wholeheartedly to Grace would go against the very notion of listening to and empowering victims—something that #MeToo is supposed to be all about. In the spirit of #MeToo, and of human decency in general, we must listen to her.
  2. We need to learn about consent if we haven’t already. Unless both people say “yes” to kissing, advances, and sex, the answer is “no”! If one person says “no,” like what the woman said in the piece, the answer is “no”! If someone doesn’t specifically say “no” but makes body motions or verbal cues indicating that the answer is “no,” the answer is “no”! And silence means “no” unless you’re told “yes”! I just feel that this review of consent needs to be made painfully clear in the aftermath of how some of the talking heads handled Aziz Ansari and the issue of consent.
  3. We must also stop trying to justify actions that cross others’ boundaries. In the case between Grace and Ansari, people on social and even some news media tried to find ways to justify what she said Ansari did to her. Honestly, there is no defense for kissing, going at her breasts, or anything semi-sexual or sexual he did when there is no consent! We should stop defending such non-consensual actions as a society, because if we do, we’re frankly starting to become part of the problem that led to #MeToo.
  4. We should remember that the Ansari story is a cautionary tale of how advocating against injustice doesn’t make us immune to being unjust. Ansari shows that you can be a feminist (which was how he described himself) yet still do something to a woman that you regret. If I’m honest with myself, there have been multiple times when I too have advocated against an injustice only to commit the injustice I’m trying to advocate against. If one man could be a feminist who assaulted a woman, and if I could be a racial justice advocate who has advocated for things that hurt people of color,[1] then you could certainly be, say, an LGBTQ+ supporter who has said or done homophobic things.
  5. Finally, the Ansari case should be a call for all of us to examine our own actions. Some of us may shock ourselves by committing the very injustices that we advocate against. However, unless we carefully look at our own actions, both good and bad, we will repeatedly commit wrongful actions and never do anything to correct our wrongs. May we not make this mistake.

For some of us, maybe even most of us, following all five of these suggestions will be difficult at best. However, it is in our own best interests, and the interests of those around us, to start acting on these suggestions.

[1] I once advocated that my college would not ban an anonymous social media application called Yik Yak, even though it was clear that some of the things on Yik Yak were repeatedly hurting students of color. It wasn’t one of my better moments, to say the least.

Aziz Ansari, #MeToo and the Problem of Empathy

Honestly, I’m still struggling to find words on the Aziz Ansari sexual misconduct story.

However, fellow blogger Emily Sullivan Sanford talks about how the lack of coverage on sexual violence against developmentally disabled people (especially compared to coverage on Ansari) demonstrates how hidden this injustice is.

She is right. There is a lack of coverage on sexual violence against developmentally disabled people, and as a result there’s a lack of awareness on this issue. I know this because I wasn’t aware about this problem until I read her post.

This issue shouldn’t be ignored, since people with developmental disabilities experience sexual assaults at a rate seven times their counterparts without developmental disabilities.

I hope that all of us can learn a thing or two about sexual violence and developmental disabilities through reading this post.

via Aziz Ansari, #MeToo and the Problem of Empathy