Amy Schumer offered her take on #MeToo in a recent interview where she also stressed the need for a “code of conduct” and talked about the accusation against her friend Aziz Ansari.
As a guest on this week’s episode of The Katie Couric Podcast, posted on Thursday, Schumer spoke at length about the conversations around sexual violence and accusations against powerful men. In the middle of the interview (beginning around the 38-minute mark in the audio below), Couric mentions Ansari and notes how differently younger women and older women have framed the issue of consent—it’s “forcing older women to rethink the dynamics that go on in an encounter,” Couric says.
A woman referred to as Grace shared her account of a night with Ansari on the website Babe.net, writing at one point in the piece: “It took a really long time for me to validate this as sexual assault. I was debating if this was an awkward sexual experience or sexual assault. And that’s why I confronted so many of my friends and listened to what they had to say, because I wanted validation that it was actually bad.”
With Couric, Schumer tries to navigate the complexity of incidents like Grace’s and the danger of what’s traditionally been considered acceptable sexual behavior. “I kind of want to come up with a little bit of a code of conduct for us as women because I think a lot of men are really confused right now. Like, ‘wait this has been cool for so long,’” Schumer tells Couric. “We need to be teaching each other the kind of behavior that’s acceptable.”
Schumer, who trips over her words a little bit here and there in the interview, also says it’s important that women define their personal boundaries, adding, “I think a lot of women feel really bad that they’ve been complicit with things, but we didn’t know not to be, and I think now there’s kind of no excuse. If you have a doctor that makes you uncomfortable, or you get a massage, or you have a date with someone and they coerce you in a situation like the Aziz one, I don’t think there’s any sort of criminal charge, but I think that it’s good for everybody to learn that that behavior’s not acceptable. It’s not a crime, but it’s not cool. And it can still really mess with a woman.”
Her natural reflex, she says, is to sympathize with the woman in these cases. “He’s been my friend, and I really, I feel for the woman,” Schumer says of Ansari. “I identify with all the women in these situations. My mind doesn’t go right to—even if it’s my friend, I don’t go, ‘Oh, but he’s a good guy.’ I think, ‘What would it feel like to have been her?’” Listen to the full interview in context below.