EDITORIAL: Sexual harassment is two-way street
Women should be held to same standards as men
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, people have more freely and openly discussed the issue of sexual assault and harassment and the effect it has on so many people. These issues are deeply rooted in society, and public discussion of them is necessary to mitigate the problem. Nevertheless, it can go without saying that much more work is still needed. This fact was made obvious after recent happenings on American Idol, where one of the judges, Katy Perry, seemed to ignore the fact that women are not infallible with regard to committing unwarranted sexual advances.
The occurred during the audition of a contestant named Trevor Holmes. Perry found Holmes to be immensely attractive, and made it a point to let him know this. Multiple times, Perry told him how attractive she thought he was, and even asked if he was engaged — probably assuming that since she is a popular musician, he would be fine with all of this. The other case of note came with of a 19-year-old named Benjamin Glaze. Before his audition, Glaze expressed that he had never been in a relationship with a girl, and that in his view, “you can’t kiss a girl without being in a relationship.” What happened next, although made out to be light-hearted by the show, is actually quite uncomfortable to watch. Despite his saying, “no,” multiple times, Perry pressures Glaze into walking over to the judge’s table for a kiss. Glaze kisses her on the cheek, but the first one did not reach Perry’s satisfaction, so she asked for another. This time, right as Glaze went in for the kiss on the cheek, Perry turned her head and kissed him on the lips.
One has to wonder how the aforementioned situations would have looked from a societal perspective or how the media would have addressed them if Katy Perry had been a man, and if those contestants had been young women. It seems obvious that the way the public viewed it would have been entirely different. In fact, it is not far fetched to think that if Perry were a man, she would experience significant social backlash and possibly even face firing from her position on American Idol. But most simply brushed these odd situations off, and the TV show actually capitalized on these moments as being humorous.
The fact that Perry acted in this way only works to perpetuate the idea that sexual assault and harassment are not two-way streets. It shows that when women do things like this, they may very well make others feel uncomfortable sexually, but it does not hold as much weight as when the sexes are reversed. The fact of the matter is that the #MeToo movement should be considered applicable to both men and women, and that feminism in general is meant to strive for equality among all — men and women — not just women.
There are probably a number of men that would have been perfectly fine with Perry’s actions if it had happened to them, but this by no means nullifies the issue. People must acknowledge the fact that sexual assault and harassment affect men too. If we are to work toward solving this societal issue, we must all view it from a perspective unbiased by our perceptions of sex or gender roles. Additionally, we must realize that no matter our gender or sex, we are not entitled by any means to another person’s body.
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