‘American Idol’ kiss a double standard of sexual assault

Jacquelyn Hurtado/ Staff Writer 

When “American Idol” judge Katy Perry gave 19-year-old Benjamin Glaze his first kiss on air, Perry immediately faced backlash on social media as many people claimed she had sexually assaulted Glaze, according to MSN.

Despite the backlash, Glaze used his Instagram account to defend Katy Perry, saying that he didn’t believe he was sexually assaulted and was very grateful for being on “American Idol.”

I saw the episode: Perry asked Glaze if he had ever kissed a girl before, and he responded that he’d never been kissed or been in a relationship. Perry beckoned Glaze over to the judges’ table and offered him a kiss on the cheek only to surprise him with a kiss on the lips.

The media blew the incident out of proportions, but Perry shouldn’t have acted the way she did either. This “American Idol” incident seriously highlights the double standard of sexual assault.  

While I don’t believe Perry’s actions can be labelled as sexual assault, I do believe that they were highly inappropriate.

Because of Glaze’s reaction, I felt the media were using the words ‘sexual assault’ too loosely. With all the recent sexual allegations, the media seems to be portraying any incident they can find as another assault to capture audience’s attention.

Sexual assault is a sensitive topic right now, so it wasn’t surprising to see that many people were taking this event out of context and exaggerating what actually happened.

In the age of the #MeToo movement, we’re focusing so much attention on the treatment of women. Had Perry been a male judge and Glaze a female contestant, such behavior would have been viewed as an act of sexual assault — a double standard.

Let’s also consider this example: if Lionel Richie, another American Idol judge, had kissed a 19-year-old female contestant, he probably would have been taken off the show immediately. There would’ve been an uproar and no question about the moment’s inappropriateness.

It demonstrates how men are more likely to be blamed and punished for sexual assault than women. But we have to remember that sexual assault is assault, no matter what gender is affected. Being a male doesn’t exclude Glaze from his right to consent.

Let’s not forget to mention that Glaze told the New York Times that the experience left him feeling “uncomfortable,” because he wanted to save his first kiss for his first relationship.

“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,” Glaze said. “I wanted my first kiss to be special.”

Perry should’ve asked for Glaze’s consent before taking away his first kiss. Instead of simply kissing him on the cheek, she took it a step too far and kissed him on the lips even after he had told her that he was saving it for someone special.

People should always have the right to choose who comes into their personal space and who is able to touch their bodies. Perry took that right away from Glaze, and although it was just a fun and innocent kiss for her, it was an important moment for him.

Now that the Me Too Campaign and the Time’s Up movement are ablaze, celebrities have to consider the consequences of their actions and, most importantly, consider the feelings of people affected—like Glaze.  

Everyone, even Perry, has to follow the golden rule they taught us back in kindergarten: Keep your hands — and, in this case, lips — to yourself.   



The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of Panther Press Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community.


Photo taken from Flickr.

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