Imagine you’re standing at a party and you’re having a great time. You’re in a room full of your friends and fellow acquaintances, all who are dancing and having a blast.
That’s when someone new comes up to you. They’ve heard about you through some of your buddies, but you’ve never seen their face. You welcome them into a conversation, but then something unanticipated happens.
Instead of the simple friendly talk you were expecting, the person leans towards you and plants a kiss right on your cheek.
If you knew this person, it might’ve been a sweet gesture. After all, kisses are meant to show your affection towards someone; However, this person is a complete stranger. You don’t know them and you don’t know their intentions.
It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and most importantly, you were not asking for a kiss and yet you got one.
This, despite some people’s beliefs, is not okay. It’s an invasion of personal space and only shows a lack of respect. Yet it just happened to actor and director Jensen Ackles last week.
On July 10th, the thirty-eight-year-old attended one of Creation Entertainment’s Supernatural conventions. They usually run for a full weekend, Friday to Sunday, and it’s every fan’s dream to attend one. They’re basically weekend-long parties celebrating SPN and better yet, these parties are hosted and attended by the actual cast. This includes the show’s biggest stars; Jensen Ackles, who plays Dean Winchester, Jared Padalecki, who plays Sam Winchester, and Misha Collins, who plays Castiel.
From a peek into the convention’s Twitter hashtag (#spnpitt), everything seemed fine. Everyone was having a good time. The fans who came were spilling their excitement for their photo ops that they got with the cast members in attendance, the stars were tweeting and happily livestreaming the weekend’s events.
It wasn’t until after the convention that people realized everything wasn’t exactly fine. After a video of Jensen and Jared’s morning panel surfaced, a GIF from it found its way to Twitter.
If you watch the full video, Jared left the stage to compare heights with a fan. Jensen followed shortly after, stepping off towards a group of girls. That’s when one of them decided to reach up and kiss him right on the cheek.
It looked awkward, it looked uncomfortable, and most importantly, Jensen was not asking for a kiss and yet he got one.
And again, this, despite some people’s beliefs, is not okay.
If you did watch the panel, or at least the end of it, you can hear the woman immediately say sorry. However, that doesn’t change that it happened. While she doesn’t deserve any sort of hate for it, as she obviously figured out pretty quick that she was in the wrong, that doesn’t make it okay.
It’s like if you’re arguing with someone and in the heat of the moment, you punch them. Even if you apologize for what you did, it still happened and the mark you made is still there.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to a celebrity. It’s not even the first time it has happened to someone in the Supernatural cast. A while back ago, Jared Padalecki encountered a similar situation. When he kindly stopped for a fan who spotted him, the woman decided it was perfectly acceptable to kiss the bottom of his neck without one word about it.
Awkward. Uncomfortable. Not asking for a kiss.
This is not okay.
Some fans seem to grasp that, but unfortunately many don’t. It seems as if people consider these actions okay because they’re fans. Because they spend their time watching Jensen and/or Jared on-screen, follow their social media accounts, and know their life stories, they believe they are entitled to these kinds of actions.
That’s simply not the case.
Let’s go back to the situation we started at. You’re at a party, a stranger who has heard about you comes up and talks to you, and without any warning, they plant a kiss on your cheek. There is no doubt that it’s completely unacceptable behavior. It’s not invited, it’s not wanted, and it’s not okay.
This lines up exactly with Jensen’s and Jared’s situations. Not seeing it? Here’s the breakdown.
One: You might know Jensen’s birthday and you might know Jared’s favorite color. You might know the name of Jensen’s wife and daughter and you might know Jared’s hometown. You might know everything there is to know about them, but you have to realize that they don’t know those things about you. They probably don’t even know your name. While you’ve heard plenty about them, they haven’t heard plenty about you. That makes you a complete stranger to them.
Two: A conversation wasn’t a problem. It was fine until there was an advance made. Neither Jensen nor Jared asked or were asked about a kiss. It’s clear in their expressions and it’s unheard of in both videos. You didn’t ask or get asked about a kiss either. It came without any warning.
Three: You are human. Jensen and Jared are humans. And humans, no matter their status or outfit or personality, are not toys. You don’t get to touch or kiss them whenever you want to. Unless you get permission, the answer is “no”. If you do it anyways, you’re wrongfully and unfairly discarding their feelings for your wants. It’s unacceptable behavior.
When you meet a celebrity, it’s supposed to be a positive experience for both parties. You get to meet someone you’ve been watching for a while, and the celebrity gets to meet someone who’s been supporting them. But when something like this happens, the enjoyment becomes one-sided. It shows a lack of respect towards whoever is affected by the action. No longer does the person next to you see you as a fan; they see you as a person who doesn’t care about their boundaries.
The Supernatural cast often considers the fandom a family, and yes, this is true. There is a strong bond between the people who make the show and the people who watch it. But using that as an excuse to kiss one of the actors is like kissing a fan you’ve never met before; it’s not the same connection. Jensen and Jared aren’t people you see on the weekends at dinner, nor are they people who show up at your sibling’s birthday party. The only thing they know about you is that you’re a fan; that’s it.
As a fan, you’re supposed to be out there protecting and supporting your idols from the bad. When you breach their personal space, when you disrespect their boundaries and treat them like they’re yours to play with, you aren’t keeping them from bad; you are the bad. You are dehumanizing them right to their faces.
So what can you do to avoid this? There is an easy solve to all of it; just ask. That’s all you have to do.
While it’s possible they may not agree to it, plenty of celebrities are perfectly fine with it. Jensen and Jared are actually known to agree to those sort of gestures. At a lot of the Supernatural cons, many attendees who purchase photo opportunities with them ask and do get to kiss their cheeks. As long as there is a given consent, there is absolutely nothing wrong with showing your affection in that way. Permission is what makes the difference between right and wrong.
Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, and every other celebrity out there is just like you. They aren’t dolls; they are human beings with emotions who have the right to personal space. If you kiss or touch their skin without consent, you are invading it and that’s not okay. It doesn’t matter if you stan them, it doesn’t matter if you know everything there is to know about them; if you don’t have consent, it’s wrong and completely inappropriate.
Don’t be that one person who knocks down their own idol. Be the one that shows and gives them the respect they deserve. After all, wouldn’t you rather see a giant smile across their cheeks instead of an uncomfortable stare in the other direction? Be the fan they want to remember; not the one they want to forget.
What’s your opinion on this whole situation? Tell us by tweeting us at @CelebMix.