Dear Katy Perry: Here is your (Should Already Know) how-to Guide for Consent

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By Ntombi Khulu

This article is exclusive to the online Edition 2 (Wrap Edition) of VARSITY Newspaper.

 

Images by Thapelo Masebe, Aaliyah Ahmed and Sipho Mpongo

Imagine this – you’re one step closer to your dream of music and stardom: you make it to the filmed auditions of American Idol and meet the panel of esteemed judges which includes Lionel Richie, Luke Bryan, and Katy Perry. Your audition becomes what was only supposed to be you singing to the judges and awaiting their responses, to you having your first kiss taken away from you by none other than singer-songwriter Katy Perry.

This very scenario happened to 19 year old Benjamin Glaze when he arrived at his audition in front of the judges and pointed out that he had never kissed anyone before. Katy Perry urged him to go to the judges table to give her a kiss on the cheek. To his surprise – and discomfort – she turned her head as he leaned in and ended up getting a kiss on the lips from the singer. Can you say awkward? While this may be written off as Katy Perry just being her quirky and zany self, millions all over social media beg to differ.

One user tweeted a thread because of their concern of not only Katy Perry’s incident with the American Idol contestant, but also how Perry fondled singer Shawn Mendez without his permission in the past.

 

Others have also condemned American Idol as a whole for keeping Perry as a judge, including this tweet by user @HoneyyBeeJae:


The concept of consent is one that seems to baffle a lot of people, Perry included. So here is an easy-to-learn guide to knowing whether someone wants something or not (and yes, people are still being taught this in 2018):

  1. If you asked or leaned in for a kiss but the person refuses, do not kiss them.
  2. If someone had to come in for a kiss but then during the kiss the person pulls back, stop kissing them.
  3. If the person is passed out, do not kiss them.
  4. If you are kissing the person and, during the kiss, the person passes out, stop kissing them.
  5. If you kissed the person last week, do not assume they want to be kissed every day.
  6. And, if you are aware that the person only intended on you kissing them on one place and one place only, do not assume you can kiss them wherever you want.

Consent should be a natural concept to grasp, if not common sense. And while this may come across as just a minor incident, it represents how misunderstood and, quite frankly, how disrespected consent is in society. Whether it is someone they would like to take out for coffee or if they want them in bed, consent should be established early on. Consent is not only given through a simple yes or no. If the person did not ask for nor show any intention of giving or receiving any of their advances, it is easily expressed through their body language and that should be taken into account.

Hopefully, this list makes it simple to understand whenever someone wants something or not. And dear Katy Perry, it is most likely in everyone’s interest – including your own – if you stick to judging the contests on their singing ability rather than their sexual experiences.

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