In these two readings “Blurred Lines, Indeed” by Roxanne Gay and “Babe.net’s Aziz Ansari Story, explained,” the normativity of sexual harassment and assault against women is discussed.
Through her analysis of the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, Gay explains how this hit song implies that “when a woman says no she really means yes” (187). She also discusses how incredibly problematic this is, and how messages like this being perpetuated by pop culture can only reinforce the disturbing trend of male dominance and abuse in our current society. In the Vox article addressing the Aziz Ansari scandal, there is a similar factor of influence from popularized culture. Aziz Ansari, who was accused of sexual assault in an article published by Babe.net, is an incredibly prominent and well-liked actor. He has also made efforts to popularize the feminist movement, and has openly said that he believes everyone should be a feminist. I personally find it very interesting to look at these two cases of successful and famous men in the media, and how they seem to be excused from inappropriate behavior towards women, even when one of them claims to be in complete support of women and publicly denounces perpetrators of sexual assault.
In the chapter from her book, Gay talks about how “so much of our culture caters to giving men what they want” (189). This is clearly present in the discussion about Robin Thicke’s hit song, as he made statements claiming that “men want what they want” in regard to the way that he talks about and views women (187). clearly, this is an example of misogyny, as Thicke blatantly objectifies women and emphasizes their purpose as bringing pleasure to men. It’s hard, then, to compare him to someone like Aziz Ansari, who is so beloved in popular culture and who was supposedly one of the good guys. Yet, he has still demonstrated an alarming amount of disrespect towards women, especially in the context of him deriving pleasure from them. In the story from Babe.net, he is characterized as someone who does not pay attention to signals that he should stop what he’s doing, and who forcefully attempts to get women to perform in favor of his own sexual pleasure. Whether or not one chooses to interpret the behavior of these men as sexual assault, the fact remains that they are still placed in a social position where they are able to be dominant over women, and where they can use women to get what they want with little regard to their existence as human beings.