I love concerts. The feeling of the bass and drums in your chest, physically seeing the songs you love, sharing the moment with hundreds of strangers that, just for a few hours, feel like family… the whole experience is amazing. I live for a good show, and I saw one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long time a few days ago. But something was seriously wrong.
We’ve all seen it or heard it: some fan at a show yells something straight-up creepy when the music gets low. The whole “I love you!” thing is more or less something we all have to hear, and it’s classic and probably fine. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the girls screaming “daddy” at band members during shows, people inappropriately touching artists when they get close to their fans, you get the picture. In my experience, and in the case of what was being yelled behind me at the Young the Giant concert I saw a little over a week ago, it’s almost always girls.
You’d think that being a woman, you would know what it’s like to have strangers yell about your body. You would know how awful it feels to be grabbed when you’re out dancing. You understand how being objectified feels. You get it. So why, why, why is it okay for you to do it to the artists you claim to love?
It isn’t flirting, (and hey, both of the singers I’ve referenced here are married) it’s harassment. It’s not cute, it’s not funny, and the rest of us are cringing. I wish I had caught you after the show so I could talk to you in person, but maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t; otherwise, I might not have written a post about it. This needs to be talked about.
Is it some form of toxic masculinity that has integrated itself into our culture? The US Department of Justice estimates that 60,000 men are sexually assaulted each year in the United States, but only about 12,000 speak up. The University of Michigan says that “Because men in our society are expected to always be ready for sex and to be the aggressors in sexual relationships, it may be difficult for a man to tell people that he has been sexually assaulted, especially if the perpetrator was a woman.”
Our society tells men they cannot deny or be made uncomfortable by sexual advances, and from what I’ve experienced at the many shows and conventions I’ve been to, women are just as responsible for pushing this narrative as men. By turning a blind eye to the very real feelings of very real humans, fans are able to project their own fantasies onto celebrities and face no consequences. When this mental narrative goes too far, we’re left with creators, actors, and other individuals experiencing sexual harassment and assault at the hands of fans who haven’t removed themselves from a fantasy.
Just stop. Stop making unwanted and unwarranted advances on people. Celebrities aren’t objects, the fanfiction you read didn’t actually happen. Back off.