The Kiss Cam, a long, awkward and unfunny gimmick at sporting events, may finally be on its way out. It might take years until it’s gone for good, but the first blow has been struck at Syracuse University, which has discontinued the segment after a letter to the editor of Syracuse.com. It claimed that the Kiss Cam promoted unwanted, forceful sexual contact at the Syracuse-Wake Forest game on September 12.
The first two people (and probably most people that wind up on the kiss cam) were happy to oblige the camera. However, the cameraman then scanned into the student section where a young man and a young woman were shown. Clearly not a couple, the male student pleaded his case for a kiss on the big screen while the female adamantly shook her head no. So what does this guy do? He grabs her head and shoves his tongue down her throat, the crowd cheers.
The next “couple” shown were again students that were clearly not a couple. Again, this second female in question shakes her head no. I then see no less than six sets of hands from the seats around her shove her unwilling face into his, crowd cheers.
To many, those incidents may seem like juvenile humor from stereotypical college kids, and, to be honest, they are. But that’s exactly the problem with the Kiss Cam — it trivializes something close to the heart of the sexual assault epidemic on college campuses (and in the U.S. in general), which is a woman’s right to her own boundaries and personal space.
It doesn’t matter how many idiots hoot and holler or how small the unwanted advance may be. Once a woman’s own choice in who touches her and how is disregarded, the line has been crossed. Yes, every individual student needs to take responsibility for respecting that line, but a school has its own duty not to tacitly approve of transgressions like the ones in the Carrier Dome on September 12. Removing the Kiss Cam was the right move.