Gender |Emerging

Sexual politics confront modern sexual etiquette

This is an emerging story which needs expansion if you wish to EDIT to add information or discuss it in TALK.

The conversation about appropriate sexual behavior, provoked by the heightened awareness of harassment from the Harvey Weinstein allegations, has evolved again judging by an explicit account of a date-gone-wrong involving comedian Aziz Ansari.

Babe, a lifestyle website for young women, published an account from an anonymous 23-year-old woman who said she was “taken advantage of” on a date with Ansari. Despite “verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate how uncomfortable and distressed she was,” Ansari persisted with sexual activity with the woman, according to the account. Ansari said he believed the encounter to be “completely consensual” and said he apologized to the woman.

The account, which lacks the power imbalance or assault claims of the Weinstein and comparable cases, has drawn battle-lines between those who think Babe went too far in publicly hounding Ansari – such as a Washington Post columnistanother in The New York Times and a therapist who said the Babe allegations distracted attention from rape and assault. Others saw the kind of behavior described in Babe as a new front on male aggression in the bedroom.

The reporting of the detailed account itself came under fire for mishandling the story that included photographs of the dinner, screenshots of a text exchange between Ansari and the woman, and details of her outfit and wine choices.

The “almost prurient and unnecessarily macabre interest in the minute details of their interaction” opened the subject of the story up to further criticism, feminist website Jezebel said in a critique of the Babe report that has been praised for articulating how the story was mishandled. It said the poor execution of the piece did a “disservice” to the topic of sexual misconduct, gearing conversations towards assumptions of modern young women, and away from questions about the serious issues at play, such as power imbalances and sexual impropriety.

We’re thinking about where to take this story further – and if, to take it further.

This is an emerging story which needs expansion if you wish to EDIT to add information or discuss it in TALK.

 

 

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Talk (8)

MS

Mason Staugler

"I mean to say that I consider that cl..."
MS

Mason Staugler

"I don't feel qualified to contribute,..."
Lydia Morrish

Lydia Morrish

"Thanks Martin, will include a citation."
Martin S Taylor

Martin S Taylor

""...feminist website Jezebel said in ..."

Author

United Kingdom
Lydia is a staff journalist at WikiTribune, where she writes about politics, women's rights, inequality, sexual politics and more. Previously she headed up the women’s rights and political content at Konbini for over two years. In 2016, she made ‘Building Big’, a documentary about bigorexia and male body image. Her work has also been published in Dazed & Confused, Refinery29, Vice, Lyra, Banshee and Buffalo Zine. She is based in London.

History for Story "Sexual politics confront modern sexual etiquette"

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  5. Lydia Morrish Lydia Morrish (Contributions | Talk) Adding line on what the Babe piece geared conversation towards
  6. Lydia Morrish Lydia Morrish (Contributions | Talk) Updating with critique of how the Babe piece as reported
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Talk for Story "Sexual politics confront modern sexual etiquette"

Talk about this Story

  1. “…feminist website Jezebel said in a critique of the Babe report that has been praised for articulating how the story was mishandled.”

    I think you need to say who praised it.

    1. Thanks Martin, will include a citation.

  2. I thought this article
    https://jezebel.com/babe-what-are-you-doing-1822114753

    made a good point about the quality of the reporting.

    “Because of the amateurish way the Babe report was handled (her wine choices; her outfit), and the way it was written with an almost prurient and unnecessarily macabre interest in the minute details of their interaction (“the claw”), it left the subject open to further attacks, the kind that are entirely, exhaustingly predictable.”

    As I see it, the WikiTribune mission is all about raising the quality of reporting. I think you should take the story further.

    (Calling it a “minefield” diminishes the importance of the heightened awareness because it suggests that there’s hidden dangers for men and that isn’t the case.)

    1. Hey Mason. I read the Jezebel piece and it was in my first draft of this story. I have added a paragraph on the reporting surrounding the Babe piece and a link to the Jezebel piece to, as you say, take the story further. It would be great if you wanted to come in and edit too, if you think there is still even more to be said – which I predict is the case!

      1. I don’t feel qualified to contribute, mostly because I’m confused about the coverage of these stories. For example, this Reuters article says that “a backlash is underway”. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-misconduct-metoo/growing-pains-for-metoo-as-ansari-tale-sparks-backlash-talk-idUSKBN1F72RA

        If two people agree about Weinstein but disagree about Ansari, they both have consistent positions. Why is that disagreement a “backlash”? And why is the conversation presented as if it was internal discord?

        1. I mean to say that I consider that clickbait, but it’s Reuters but on the other hand it’s entertainment news but on the other hand it still doesn’t make any sense.

      2. Hello Lydia, thank you for your article. It’s the first one I read since joining just a few minutes ago, after getting the WT backer’s email reminder.

        I mainly wanted to post here in Talk to say I am really pleased with the neutral language used in your article, and came away with a sense of a balanced look at the emerging story.

        Do you know what the criteria will be for removing the Emerging Story headers and footers? I understand in the early days of the WT there will be quite a lot of cautionary use of the tags, but I wonder if some stories might linger in emergent status overlong as the site grows.

        1. Hi Stephen, thanks very much for your comment and good to hear you’ve joined as a WT user.

          We’re still experimenting so there is no official criteria on how long an emerging story is. But we are definitely having an ongoing discussion about emerging status, and when to put a story to bed. If you had any ideas we’d love to hear them.

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