Sorry, The 'Kissing Challenge' Isn't Cute — It's A Violation

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the kissing challenge

Because I am roughly one hundred years old, I had never heard of the kissing challenge until today. 

"Kissing challenge," I mused, "perhaps some folks are seeing how long they can kiss in the hopes of making the record books!" 

I have never been more wrong or more of a fuddy-duddy. 

The kiss challenge is simple, all you need is a cell phone that records video and a pair of lips.

A total lack of inhibition helps too. 


It's a prank, usually pulled by teenage girls. 

Looking into the camera they whisper "kiss cam," taking a page from major sports events. 

Then they run up to a male stranger and give them a big serious kiss, before running away again, usually as their friends look on and laugh. 


Well, yes. 

Funny in theory?

For sure. 

Designed for the internet?

Well, let's do the math. 

Cute young girls, pulling a prank that hinges on their sexuality that they then share via social media.

I think the answer is a resounding yes. 

Here's where it gets complicated.

Men do it, too.

Their videos are a little different. 

They are, in a word, scarier. 

Usually the women they approach to attack-kiss and run away from freeze and look scared. 

Often they are with other people who pursue the male kisser after his attack. 

The videos of men (and boys) doing the kissing challenge make something clear that the videos of the women (and girls) doing it don't. 

The game is in total violation of the idea of consent. 

In our society women are viewed as being less threatening than men. 

Sure, the guys in the videos being attack-kissed don't seem annoyed, hell, some seem into it, but that isn't the point.

The point is, that without their consent, someone invaded their personal space and their bodies. 

Because we tend to think (and wrongly) that men can't be victims of sexual violence, it's easier to see why the kissing challenge is a problem when we watch men try to do it to women.


That doesn't make the cute videos of girls surprising guys with kisses okay. 

Neither is okay. 

When you take away someone's consent, you are removing a little bit of their humanity.

I know railing about consent this way about something so seemingly tiny and silly makes me sound like the fuddy-duddy I earlier proclaimed proudly to be. 

But the truth is that if we want to make real change and stop the prevalence of sexual assault in our world on a macro level, that we have to call it out when we see it on a micro level. 

It's easy to shrug off videos like this kissing challenge as harmless fun.

But they aren't. 

This harmless fun adds up, creating a culture where it has become acceptable to violate someone else's body. 

You might as well start a new challenge called the object challenge where you drive by members of the opposite sex and loudly proclaim "YOU'RE AN OBJECT".