SNL Tries to Handle the Difficult Conversations Around #MeToo

If you’ve been having... or trying to have... or working up the nerve to have difficult talks about the news cycle around sexual assault, then perhaps you’ll relate to this Saturday Night Live sketch from Saturday’s episode.

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Or perhaps you’ll roll your eyes. It’s a dinner scene featuring SNL host Will Ferrell, Kate McKinnon, Aidy Bryant, Kenan Thompson, Beck Bennett and Heidi Gardner, who cautiously asks if anyone’s read the New York Times Op-Ed about Aziz Ansari. Fear, dread and discomfort consumes everyone at the table, as each person registers the tension that’s about to arise, the offensiveness that’s about to be on display, and the nuance that’s about to get lost.

A sketch where people tiptoe around a topic is the most SNL way for SNL to handle the issue by not handling it. The point is to acknowledge this stuff is hard (which they do) and talk past the discomfort, but they never quite get there—“We are in a post-Babe.net universe now and we have to finish what we started,” McKinnon insists. The sketch could’ve ended with, say, the server interrupting with a strong stance against clear sexual violation, but I’m no comedy writer.

Culture Editor, Jezebel

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DISCUSSION

thehighwomaninthecastle
The High Woman In The Castle

We’re looking to define Ansari’s behavior in concrete terms: rape, sexual harassment, groping, blackmail, etc. The problem is his behavior lies in limbo between a specific crime and accepted social behavior.

I invoke Betty Friedan here: the Problem That Has No Name 2018.

Men have been socialized to take a woman’s “no” as the beginning of negotiations. Romcoms teach men and women that the person who is the most disagreeable is the most attractive. Our president and capitalism taught us that you can be the biggest, loudest bully and you’ll be rewarded for it even though we try to say otherwise.

When I dated, nearly every man I interacted with ignored a “no” from me at least once, and that had nothing to do with sex.

Men are encouraged and rewarded for forging ahead with their intentions without listening or even asking his partner what she thinks or wants. Unless he hears a no like in The Accused, he thinks everything is hunky dory.

There are so many fucked up things going on in American life, I don’t know where to begin or how to suggest we fix it.