Opinion: An unwanted kiss on the lips spoils Spain’s World Cup celebration

Editor’s note: Jill Filipovich is a New York-based journalist and author ofWell, Boomer, let’s talk: how my generation is being left behind“. follow her Twitter. The opinions expressed in this comment are solely her own. Scenery More opinion on CNN.


It’s a rule most of us learned as kids: keep your hands to yourself. However, dozens of men apparently could not quite follow him, even – and perhaps especially? – When the whole world is watching.

Another person of interest is the president of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, Luis Rubiales, who grabbed Spanish footballer Jennifer Hermoso’s head during the team’s cup party and planted a kiss on her lips. Rubiales, like everyone else at the party, was undeniably happy that Spain had won the World Cup. But he’s the only one who took advantage of that moment to publicly abuse a player.

Jill Filipovich

After the kiss, as the team Collected And in the dressing room, Rubiales threw his arm around Hermoso, announced a trip to Ibiza, and said: “There, we will celebrate the wedding of Jenny and Luis Rubiales.” Additional video footage appears to show Rubiales inappropriately touching a member of his team, letting his hand hover over her chest as he pulls away from the embrace.

The responses to the kiss—whether people criticized it or were quick to ignore it—tell us all about how little our world respects women’s basic right to live in the world free of harassment and safe on our own skin.

Rubiales has kind of apologized for the kiss.

“There is an event that I have to regret, which is everything that happened between me and the player, with a wonderful relationship between us, as with the others,” the RFEF president said in a video statement.

“Well, I certainly made a mistake, I must realize that. In a moment of jubilation, and without any ill will, it happened—I think in a very spontaneous way. I repeat, there was no ill will between either of us.”

“Here, we didn’t get it because we saw something natural and normal, by no means, I repeat, in bad faith. But outside the bubble, it seems to have turned into a storm, and therefore, if there were people who were offended, I must say I am sorry.”

For her part, Hermoso said she “didn’t like it” but asked, “What am I supposed to do?” Later, she told a radio program that she “didn’t expect it” but “it was because of the emotions of the moment, and there was nothing more to it. It would just be an anecdote (at the time). I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t get blown up.” more “.

You cannot blame Hermoso for wanting to hide this story, because there is simply no good public office she can take. Let’s say she doesn’t want to be force-kissed on the lips by a man who is for all intents and purposes her boss, and she’s a whiner or a bad sport. Let’s say it’s okay and she’s a bad feminist, letting other women down by justifying bad male behavior (and possibly lying).

But Hermoso isn’t the first woman to be grabbed and kissed without her consent by a man who seeks to publicly signal his elation by using a random woman as his backup. from famous photo Of a sailor who returned from World War II kissing a nurse on VJ’s Day in Times Square for an actor Adrien Brody Wrapping his arms around Halle Berry and kissing her after winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003, there is a long history of men using very public moments to grab and kiss women who showed no desire to kiss them.

When pressed, several of these men say some version of the phrase “I was caught up in the moment,” throwing kisses, as Rubiales did, as “spontaneous.” But, oddly enough, men who are caught up in the moment tend not to spontaneously grab other men and kiss them. It is as if there is a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, and an expectation that women will tolerate traumatic encroachments on their personal space, that men do not.

In case there was any doubt: Most women, like most people, don’t enjoy a forced kiss on the mouth. Most women, like most people, enjoy kissing romantic partners and sometimes children or other loved ones, but they don’t appreciate unwanted inches from their heads, unwanted hot breath on their faces, or unwanted lips bumping into their lips. It’s a violation. It’s gross. It’s horrific whether it happens in private, or in full view of television cameras.

In 2005, Greta Friedman, the nurse who was forcibly kissed by a sailor in Times Square, Tell One interviewee: “It was not my choice to accept.” She said the sailor “just came up and grabbed!” The moment was not romantic. And it so happened that she was thinking, “I hope I can breathe.” “I mean someone so much older than you and so much stronger, that you’ve lost control of yourself, I’m not sure that makes you happy.”

As historians have noted, that famous kiss, rewritten for decades as romantic or euphoric, was part of a wave of sexual assaults and rapes in multiple cities after the war at the hands of returning men. Men assaulted women and girls, sometimes kissing them against their will, at other times touching them, stripping them naked, beating their male companions, and raping them, according to multiple reports.

After he forcibly kissed Brody Perry on camera, she told L.A interlocutor That all she could think about was “what’s going on now?” When asked if he regretted his actions, Brody told an interviewer in 2017: “There was a lot of love in that room, genuine love and appreciation. It was just a good moment and… I seized the opportunity.”

Reactions like those described by Friedman and Perry are common: When sexually assaulted or confronted with unwanted touching, many women Freeze instead of fighting.

Rubiales’ kiss is also at the top of a mountain of allegations of sexist misconduct in the Spanish Football Federation. Coach Jorge Vilda Team treatment It was so distasteful that 15 players said they would not take to the field with the national team until their concerns were addressed; Three additional players, including Hermoso, indicated their support for the boycotting members. However, when the Spanish women won the World Cup thanks to their skills and hard work, Rubiales remained focused on Filda.

“I think we have to give all the merit to these women, to the team led by Jorge Vilda and we have to celebrate it in the sky as much as possible,” he said.

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However, rather than giving Spanish women a chance, Rubiales expressed himself by personifying Hermoso, treating her as a prop that could be used to show his ardor and signal his masculinity. Because that’s also the message: When men are so excited, they simply can’t help but act that way. This faulty justification not only puts women in a position of vulnerability, but also absolve men from taking responsibility for the full significance of their actions.

For far too long, many men have viewed women’s bodies as public property, as objects of a sexual nature to look at, to comment on, or to touch, as if we existed in the world to be seen, evaluated, and enjoyed. Too often, women are treated as instruments of men’s lives, supporting characters in their narratives, or objects through which men can express their feelings and upon which they can place their baggage.

Many people say that this is just men being men, or just a simple display of normal human feelings. But it is not. Many men who treat women poorly seem perfectly capable of treating men with respect, keeping their hands, lips, and genitals to themselves when around other men who have shown no interest in physical sexual contact. When these men are around women it seems to grab and kiss and sometimes more is going on.

I don’t know what punishment is appropriate for Rubiales. But I know that actions like this are about much more than just a kiss.

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