Frisky Rant: What’s So Funny About Forcing A Woman To Kiss You?
A bunch of obviously misogynistic “pranks” have been circling my Facebook newsfeed for a few days now and it is just pissing me off. In one particular video, that really can’t be labelled as a prank because there is absolutely nothing funny about it, a young man walks up to a random woman, asks a few questions and then shoves his tongue down her throat.
He starts: “Would you mind if I ask you three honest questions?”
Then begins his line of questioning.
“Do you think I’m attractive? Do you have a boyfriend?”
And then his final question: “What is your excuse not to kiss me right now?” Without waiting for an answer, he proceeds to grab the woman by the neck and tongue molests her, an act which the unsuspecting woman is basically forced to go along with. In the vid, one of the ladies he approaches literally says “no” and attempts to push him away, but she isn’t strong enough and eventually just gives up. Another young woman is seated next to an older woman when the dude moves in for the kiss, and no, the older woman does not castigate the young man, despite the fact that the girl is clearly uncomfortable, she giggles and goes along with the whole charade. When he walks away, she sits there stunned and disgusted. We learn, at the end of the video, that the entire mess is done in celebration of the “pranksters” one-millionth subscriber. The video now has over 42 million hits.
This is not the only example of how invasions of a woman’s personal space — and even what can be easily categorized as sexual assault — are being used as prankster “entertainment.” Another prank vlogger, Sam Pepper, posted a video of himself participating in the infamous, and ridiculously creepy, “third hand prank,” where he walks up to a random girl on the street, asks for directions or another innocuous question, then uses his “third hand” to grab her butt. Needless to say, the women are usually disturbed.
These are but two examples of such “pranks,” but there are tons. There’s a dude who flips a coin to get women to kiss him, but the coin only has “heads” (the side he always chooses, so of course he wins and steals the kiss). There is an assortment of all kinds of criminal, coercive and forceful sexual assault “pranks” online with tons of support from viewers.
And wait, it actually gets worse. These videos are posted by men I know on Facebook, along with statuses like “Man, I should try this,” and “OMG this is so funny.” Dudes not only find this ish funny, but also instructive.
I am still waiting for the joke.
Perhaps the punchline is the obvious look of confusion, disgust or discomfort on these women’s faces as they are being groped? Or the look of fear and distrust the women displayed while looking all around a public space for an assailant who stood right beside them? Anyone who finds this mildly entertaining or funny has never known the feeling of being publicly harassed or assaulted.
Sadly, for myself and so many other women, we know the feeling far too well and it is an awful one. Watching the helpless look some of these women had, as they looked around desperate to figure out who touched them or as they struggled to fight off an unwanted kiss, took me back to the countless experiences I had with men who also thought that they were entitled to touch me or invade my personal space without my permission. Matter of fact, one time I encountered an older man try to caress my thigh and butt by hiding his hand in his pocket, sitting really close to me and then moving his hand back and forth against my body. The first time he did it, I shot him a dirty glance, but I was still a bit confused, second guessing whether or not he really just did what I thought he did. He tried to do it again and I had to literally curse him out and move to another seat. Just thinking about it still creeps me out.
After having tons of experiences like that one, I can not imagine what it would be like to deal with the fact that someone just assaulted you and on top of it, recorded it “for entertainment” purposes, while others looked on and some even laughed — and still continue to laugh online.
In a culture where tricking or forcing a woman to participate in a sexual act is deemed hilarious or comedic, it is no surprise that young men have difficulty understanding personal space and boundaries. Societally, we supposedly do not condone “rape,” but we perpetuate a culture where trickery and force are normal ways to gain access to a woman’s body. Well. it may be news to some, but both coerced or forced non-consensual touching of another person is sexual assault: a crime punishable by the law. So yes, all of you YouTube “pranksters” can and should be prosecuted. If you dared to pull your stunts on myself or anyone I knew, I’d most certainly make that happen. Then your “fans” would have a totally different reason to laugh.