Actress Jameela Jamil wants men to do better.
In the wake of sexual assault allegations against comedian Aziz Ansari, Jamil, star of the TV series “The Good Place,” has some advice. In a post on her website titled “What We Need to Learn from the Aziz Ansari Clusterfuck,” Jamil says she has “no right, nor inclination, to comment,” on the assault allegations against Ansari, and instead focuses on the concept of consent.
The Ansari story “has indeed sparked an interesting conversation about consent, both technical and more importantly, emotional, and how vital it is to read the room and make sure the other person is not just willing, but damn well enthusiastic,” Jamil writes. “Especially, in my opinion, if that person is the one to be penetrated. You want to enter them. You best ensure you are a welcome guest, not someone who just begged, pressured, guilt-tripped or harassed their way inside.”
Jamil points to the “bullshit fantasy” of pornography as a main reason men feel they can objectify women.
“We have allowed pornography to continuously promote that narrative that a woman is a hole for a man to enjoy when and how he feels like it,” the British-born actress writes, arguing that the mentality leads to women finding sex dissatisfying.
“Learning sex from pornography is like learning how to drive from The Fast and the Furious. A terrible idea,” she writes.
Jamil also places blame on popular culture, and blasts music videos, “where the girls are always practically naked and performing rehearsed dance routines for the men, who are sitting there on their arses, sometimes in outdoor winter layers, doing nothing other than enjoying their needs being met.”
She critiques music lyrics as well, which she says have gone from “’Try a little tenderness,” to “MURDER THAT PUSSY. BEAT THAT PUSSY UP. PUT THAT PUSSY IN A TOASTER. SHRED THE PUSSY AND PUT IT IN THE BIN. THROW THE PUSSY OUT THE WINDOW. FLUSH THE PUSSY DOWN THE TOILET.
″(Poor old pussy having a terrible time.)”
The culture’s message to men, Jamil says, is that they “do not need to worry about what our needs and boundaries are.”
Which is why Jamil argues that mere consent isn’t enough.
“CONSENT SHOULDN’T BE THE GOLD STANDARD,” she writes. “That should be the basic foundation. Built upon that foundation should be fun, mutual passion, equal arousal, interest and enthusiasm.”
Jamil’s response to babe.net’s story about Ansari — which Jezebel calls “amateurish” and says “left the subject open to further attacks” — echoes the sentiments of some female writers who have raised the story of a young woman’s crushing experience as an opportunity to discuss what women have been conditioned to expect in their romantic and sexual lives.
“If the #MeToo movement is going to amount to sustained culture change ― rather than simply a weeding out of the worst actors in a broken system ― we need to renegotiate the sexual narratives we’ve long accepted,” wrote HuffPost’s Emma Gray. “And that involves having complicated conversations about sex that is violating but not criminal.”
Jamil suggests those conversations sometimes need to happen during sex, and encouraged women to “act in honour of your needs” (that is, she mentions, as long as one feels safe).
Jamil urges men to step up as well.
“’erm…Ok’ shouldn’t be encouragement enough for you,” she writes. “You can and must do better.”