I have been eager to discuss my thoughts and opinions in response to the wide spectrum of feelings that Canadians have about feminist issues. Unlike others out there, I like reading what people are saying on both sides.
Today, the perfect one fell in my lap.
Some dude, who is currently unknown but whose identity will be leaked sometime soon, just kissed a female reporter on the cheek during the live broadcast.
The online community is divided between this incident being funny and cute or wretched and disgusting.
So, to break down what happened:
1) Dude exits Squamish festival.
2) Dudette is filming a live broadcast.
3) Dude sneaks in for a kiss on the cheek and takes a selfie.
4) Dudette is offended and calls the cops.
That’s where we are at.
This comes in the midst of the FHRITP madness–a highly offensive trend and insulting to my beloved world of comedy. Over the past few months, networks, employers, and law enforcement have teamed up to go after those guilty of uttering FHRITP at female reporters on camera.
I think we can all agree that FHRITP is awful.
However, should a kiss on the cheek be treated in the same way?
In 2015, there is a lot of people who are sick of what is being coined as the “PC Age”. A perspective that anything controversial is protested and pushing for every aspect of our lives to be more inclusive. This is starting to annoy those who feel their freedom is being taken away brick-by-brick, but meanwhile those in the minority feel this is the minority to be awarded freedom brick-by-brick.
The PC Age debate truly is a fascinating issue.
The anti-PC Ageists find that the response to pursue legal action against this man is a bit extreme. In a sense, treating this guy the exact same way as those guilty of FHRITP is harsh.
FHRITP = Highly sexualized and explicit phrase geared towards making women on-screen feel very uncomfortable.
Kiss on the cheek = Something your friends from Italy do to you the moment they see you and any other friend on the streets while traveling around Canada.
One of the comments made on the CBC website was one fellow who claimed that the reporter’s response to file charges ultimately portrays men as being beasts or predators.
As a male, I can definitely see where he is coming from. Promoting a culture where all men are treated as perverts and predators can ultimately do more harm than good. Knowing every single action you make in the public eye will be subject to scrutiny is an uncomfortable feeling. Does anybody want to live in a world where a human being has to work out every move they make through dozens of societal and cultural filters to the point of exhaustion?
Now, another argument being made against the reporter’s actions is “if the situation was reversed there would be no issue”.
I find that argument to be moot and irrelevant. We can’t really talk about a situation that hasn’t even happened yet nor presume what the outcome of this untold scenario would be.
Let’s switch gears to judging the overall environment of the situation. It is a music festival. Therefore, a highly informal tone and atmosphere with a bunch of cool cats in their 20s wearing bathing suits. Perhaps sending a professional crew from the CBC to do live reporting from there may not be ideal, and was just too ambitious.
Look at something like MuchMusic and other online radio shows specifically dedicated to music. They can meet the informality of the atmosphere and get in on most of the fun.
Asking CBC to cover a music festival is the equivalent of having your grandparents MC a rap battle–they’re probably going to get uncomfortable and return to their MASH re-runs.
Of course, this point implies that “the female reporter, knowing she is reporting at a music festival, agreed that she should expect a kiss on the cheek” (this is also known as the dangerous line of thinking known as “She Asked For It” or “Victim Blaming–don’t blame the victim, man). It was still a bit out of line for the dude to do that. It is drastically different compared to the female ESPN reporter being kissed on the cheek by the basketball player.
Why is it different?
a) The reporter was interviewing the baller and they already had a previous relationship.
b) The baller, in his judgment, deemed that the relationship between him and the interviewer was close enough that a kiss on the cheek wouldn’t be awkward.
In other words, the most important word when it comes to contact of any time is CONSENT. C-O-N-S-E-N-T.
This is just some dude doing a kiss on the cheek sneak attack. He didn’t even say his name or be like “Hey, you’re awesome!”. The dude didn’t even know anything about her other than she was talking into a microphone.
Not even your European friends would do a sneak attack when it comes to a kiss on the cheek. . .would they?
Furthermore, this kiss is being treated as something that happens regularly. It would be interesting to know how many Canadian reporters have received a kiss on the cheek from a complete stranger on air. If this is the first time, should the reporter have just dissed the guy on air later as a lame jerk and continue on with her life?
Again, the call for police involvement in this issue cannot really be discussed without going back to the FHRITP trend once more. The reason why the RCMP had to get involved is because it was getting really out of hand. It was happening too often and an authoritative figure needed to step in and try to put a stop to it. I think many people agree this action was necessary.
Sadly, the dude who kissed the reporter on the cheek did so in the middle of this crackdown. He should have thought “hey, maybe I should wait for a disturbing sexual trend that harasses reporters before I go in for a rogue kiss?”, but after a couple days of drinking and his brain withering away in the hot sun, he could very well think the reporter was in on the fun of the festival as much as the attendees surrounding him.
This is a tragic situation which may be escalating beyond the act which occurred.
Should the live reporter have the opportunity to diss a stranger for kissing her on the cheek during a live report and not be afraid to do so? Absolutely.
Should the dude be subject to a criminal investigation and potentially lose his job over it? Maybe not. Perhaps the situation was overly-sexualized after the fact.
In conclusion, what the dude did overall was not cool. It will be interesting to follow social media and see what happens to the reputation of the reporter (hopefully it either remains the same or is more positive) as well as the reputation of the dude (hopefully either decreases a little or decreases a lot).
P.S. As always, I love discussions about behaviour in social settings. I don’t care if you’re anti-feminist/pro-feminist/smart/kinda dumb. This is an inclusive conversation. Feel free to post your thoughts below. Who knows, you may be convincing enough to make me change my opinion on this matter.