With the #MeToo movement taking America by storm since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it’s no secret that society is starting to take sexual assault against women more seriously. From Weinstein to Matt Lauer to former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, the allegations of sexual misconduct against people in power have given women of all social classes a voice like never before.
But what about the guys?
While sexual assault is generally a hot topic surrounding females, it is certainly not exclusive to them. They aren’t the only victims.
And nothing could make that more clear than an “uncomfortable” situation that unfolded on the American Idol stage earlier this week when Katy Perry kissed 19-year-old contestant Benjamin Glaze against his will.
After some playful pre-audition banter with judges Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry, Glaze disclosed that he’d never kissed a girl before.
“Have you kissed a girl and liked it?” asked Bryan, jokingly referencing Perry’s hit song, “I Kissed a Girl.”
“I have never been in a relationship and I can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship,” replied Glaze, who sources later revealed comes from a conservative Christian background.
Perry used the song reference as a segue to invite Glaze up to the judges’ table, so she could give him his first kiss. Clearly hesitant, Glaze pecked Perry’s cheek at her request. When Perry pressured Glaze to plant another kiss on her cheek because she didn’t hear the “smoosh sound,” she quickly turned her head to trick the teen into kissing her on the lips.
Totally taken aback, Glaze fell to the ground and remained visibly affected by the awkward encounter throughout the course of his audition, after which he was sent home by the judges.
Surprisingly though, the kiss was glorified by the media and met with high praise.
But although the 19-year-old sheepishly played off the kiss with a smile throughout the duration of his audition, he later revealed to The New York Times that it did make him a “tad bit uncomfortable.”
“I wanted to save it for my first relationship,” said Glaze. “I wanted it to be special… Would I have done it if she said, ‘Would you kiss me?’ No, I would have said no, I know a lot of guys would be like, ‘Heck yeah!’ But for me, I was raised in a conservative family and I was uncomfortable immediately. I wanted my first kiss to be special.”
Repeat. If he was asked, he WOULD HAVE SAID NO.
That sounds like a forced sexual act without consent to me.
But now just imagine if there was a gender-role reversal here… if say, Lionel Richie beckoned a teen girl to the table to trick her into an unwanted first kiss to be publicized on national television. He would have immediately been kicked off the show and probably would have had to spend his life savings on lawyers and bodyguards to protect him from infuriated critics ready to slay him for child molesting.
After the media ran with Glaze’s comment about feeling “uncomfortable,” he later took to Instagram to explain that he did not feel sexually harassed by Perry:
“I should have been able to perform under pressure. I do not think I was sexually harassed by Katy Perry and I am thankful for the judges comments and critiques. I was uncomfortable in a sense of how I have never been kissed before and was not expecting it. My main goal is to reach people through the universal love of music and not cause strife or anger against anyone or about any situation!”
But does his revised interpretation really matter? It seems to me a bit like this poor kid just trying to make the best out of an impossible position that could end up drawing negative attention to himself and hindering his career path. How many other people have done the same thing so as not to offend those with a big name in the entertainment industry… Need I remind you of Weinstein?
It simply isn’t right. And the double standard needs to STOP. Writer for Daily Wire, Matt Walsh, pointed out that this is no isolated incident either:
“The double standard is not isolated to this one incident. Just think of the weekly teacher sex scandals. Some woman in her twenties or thirties gets arrested for having sex with a 14 or 15-year-old boy, and nobody gets too upset about it. Mostly we treat it like a joke. We see that the predator is relatively attractive so we decide that the young man should be honored to have been sexually exploited by her. When do we ever do that with men? Have you ever heard anyone suggest that an assaulted woman was ‘lucky’ because her assaulter was handsome? Anyone who made a comment like that would be stoned to death (again metaphorically but possibly literally).
The dirty little secret in our society is that women are very often raunchy, aggressive, and sexually assertive. And they almost always get away with it. They are rarely fired and never publicly chastised for it. Women essentially have carte blanche in the sexuality department. A sexually inappropriate woman is ’empowered.’ A sexually inappropriate man is a rapist and a creep. It’s a double standard on steroids.”
Walsh added that it’s a prime example of the way chastity is mocked in modern society.
The other thing you see in the Katy Perry story is how chastity is treated like a joke by our stupid culture. Why should it be weird or shocking that the guy hadn’t kissed anyone? We’re so ridiculous that we literally laugh at modesty and self-restraint.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) March 15, 2018
More accurately phrased than PEOPLE’s glossy headline, Walsh’s read, “The Rules Of #MeToo Are Clear. Women Can Sexually Harass Whomever They Want.”
Ouch. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but I must admit, it’s hard to disagree. As a society, we NEED to do better.
Watch Glaze and Perry’s kissing encounter in the video below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comments.