Married at First Sight’s Nadia and Anthony had a beautiful wedding, as far as reality TV ceremonies go.
The pair introduced themselves at the altar, said their vows, repeated ‘I do’.
Then Anthony leant in to kiss the bride. Nadia pulled away and then settled for a kiss on the cheek instead. She clearly wasn’t ready to kiss him. They had only just met, after all, during which he accidentally insulted her mum. Fair enough, you might say.
But oh no, not according to the horde of viewers who took to Twitter to admonish the 36-year-old for choosing not to lock lips with Anthony.
The disturbing response varied from exclamations of sympathy for Anthony, to labelling the flight attendant a “bitch”, “flake” and “douchey” for daring to avoid the kiss.
Did people forget that this is not your average wedding? That Nadia had only just met this guy?
The shocking response flies in the face of our national conversation about consent, sexual harassment and women’s rights to dictate exactly what they do with their bodies.
Yes, Nadia may have signed up to engage in a social experiment that will see her forced together with a stranger, but that doesn’t mean she, therefore, is forced to kiss him.
She hasn’t signed up to any forced intimacy of any kind. She hasn’t agreed to do anything she doesn’t feel comfortable with.
Anthony understood this. Though visibly disappointed, he assured Nadia that got it.
“Too much, too soon. I get it,” the racing announcer told her.
So why haven’t these viewers?
The reasoning that if a woman says “yes” to one thing, then she implicitly consents to another, is a dangerous way of thinking.
It’s the kind of thinking used by victim-blamers justifying sexual assaults, particularly where the victim might have gone to the offender’s home or had seemingly “given permission” hours before the attack.
Listen to: The Recap of Married at First Sight episode two:
When a woman – or man – doesn’t want to do something, no matter how trivial someone else might think it is, that decision must be respected.
Instead, shouldn’t we celebrate the fact that Nadia didn’t feel pressured into kissing Anthony before she was ready?
We should be commending her for staying true to her own boundaries, not condemning her for refusing to meet others’ expectations.