Eimear Kelly looks at the recent reaction to the Harry Styles incident.
Harry Styles recently performed a gig in Los Angeles in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. He was performing ‘Kiwi’ when he knelt at the front of the stage in an effort to get closer to his adoring fans. However, several videos soon emerged in which a fan appears to be touching his crotch area. There was a couple of different videos posted of the incident, several of different angles, so there was no doubt in people’s minds that this woman had in fact, groped the singer.
 
Harry can be seen brushing several hands away from him before quickly standing back up and returning swiftly back to the centre of the stage where he carries on with his performance. According to teenvogue.com, an eye-witness spoke to Yahoo! and told them that ‘’you can tell it freaked him out a little because as he continued performing, he avoided the section that fan was standing in."
 
The incident itself caused uproar on several social media platforms, especially Twitter. Harry’s fans rushed to his defence in an effort to remind others that celebrities are people too and that they’re not our property. The hashtag #RespectHarry caught on very quickly and fans used it to voice their understandably angry and upset opinions. They felt that Harry was been objectified and dehumanised because he is a celebrity. And that’s true. We often seem to forget that celebrities are people with feelings, just like the rest of us.
 
The real uproar came when people began referring to the woman who had touched Harry’s crotch as ‘lucky’ and implying that it was an acceptable thing to do. Fans, once again, voiced their opinion and the general theme was that people wouldn’t react like this if the singer in question was female.
 
This is such a valid and important point. Harry Styles’ having his crotched grabbed at by a stranger in the audience without consent is sexual assault. If a woman’s body was grabbed at or touched without consent, it would be sexual assault. The concept is the exact same when it comes to men, but for some reason this seems to be a grey area for some people.
 
Touching or grabbing anyone, without their consent, is sexual assault. It doesn’t make it okay because he’s a celebrity, or because he’s attractive, or because he knelt down in front of his fans to be closer to them.
 
Men suffer sexual abuse too but how are they meant to feel like they can talk about it openly if others congratulate women for touching them inappropriately?