A young woman pseudonymed “Grace” went on a date with Aziz Ansari last September. When they got back to his apartment after dinner, she told the publication babe, he aggressively and repeatedly attempted to initiate sex with her. She moved away from him, told him to slow down, that she was not into it. At one point, she told him “I don’t want to feel forced,” and he seemed to get the message and relent, only to try again a few minutes later. She eventually gave in and went down on him, and then cried on the way home.

This story, which was presented as the next shoe to drop in the seemingly endless parade of famous men being exposed as abusers, is being held up as proof that young women today are just too sensitive and fickle, that millennials are ruining sex and flirting just like we ruined everything else, and that the #MeToo movement has crossed over into “sexual McCarthyism,” “hysteria,” a “witch hunt.” But this is actually exactly where the #MeToo conversation needed to go, down to the foundation of our society’s understanding of consent and entitlement to sex. 

Harvey Weinstein was a villain who carried out a decades-long campaign of sexual terror with the aid of ex-Mossad henchmen and the power to ruin careers. He’s easy to see as an anomaly. Easy to reject as evil. And even as more famous men after Weinstein were toppled with accounts of rape, abuse and harassment, it remained pretty clear that they were “bad men” who had done clearly bad things. It was still possible for “good men” reading these stories to say to themselves with confidence that they were different from those bad men.

The question should never be what you can “technically” get away with. It should be whether you’re both enjoying what’s happening.

But this story is different. Ansari is not a monster. He’s not an anomaly. He’s a pushy, sleazy guy who kept trying to get off after a woman pulled away. He did what men have been conditioned to do. He acted as expected. And that’s exactly the problem. The idea that sex is something for men to achieve, to win, to ply and cajole out of women, is so ingrained in our society that many people don’t see anything wrong with that dynamic or understand how damaging it can be. So-called “good men” are defending Ansari because they, too, have tried again just in case that first “no” didn’t really mean “no,” and they’re not ready to reevaluate their own actions and assumptions.

Ansari claimed in a statement that he wasn’t aware of Grace’s discomfort until she texted him about it the next day, and that their interaction “by all indications was completely consensual.” Despite the fact that she repeatedly moved away from him, and told him that she didn’t want to do what he tried over and over again to get her to dohe convinced himself that because she eventually gave in she consented. This is a pervasive and dangerous understanding of consent that completely misses the point of what it is to have a mutually enjoyable sexual experience.

Many of the defenses of Ansari have focused in on the question of whether his actions “count” as assault, perpetuating the same twisted thinking that allowed for his rationalization: that as long as she’s not physically fighting you off, you can do whatever you want to a woman. But the question should never be what you can “technically” get away with. It should be whether you’re both enjoying what’s happening.

The #MeToo backlash has come right on schedule, with a central and important misunderstanding of the reckoning that’s taking place, an assumption that if Ansari is being called out as part of the same movement that took down Weinstein, we must think they’re equally heinous. But the fact that forcible rape and gray area scenarios like this one are being discussed in the same conversation does not mean that the women who are speaking out don’t know the difference between the two. We know the difference, and we know how they’re connected, how the attitude that allows one is the same attitude that leads to the other. Men’s feelings of entitlement to women’s bodies is the real “slippery slope,” not calling out dehumanizing behavior at every level.

We know the difference between an Ansari and a Weinstein, but the truth is that until men learn not to be the former, there will always be more of the latter.