Jessy Mendiola clarifies what is ‘appropriate’ touching from male friends, fans
Jessy Mendiola recalled her experience of being inappropriately touched by a male friend on “Tonight with Boy Abunda” last Dec. 13.
It was back in October that Mendiola took to her Instagram wherein she called out “male friends” and told them not to touch her waist without her consent whenever they would ask for a picture. She did not drop any names then, but called the act “inappropriate.”
She finally shared the story after being asked by TV host Boy Abunda about where her post was coming from. As per Mendiola, she was in a restaurant at the time when someone asked her if they could have a picture with her.
“Sabi ko okay lang naman. Biglang hinawakan yung waist ko, medyo malapit na sa mababang…” she trailed off before reenacting the incident with Abunda. “Hindi sa waist eh, more of here sa may backside, dito na siya.”
“That’s bad… hindi maganda,” Abunda remarked upon her demonstration.
“I just want to clarify kahit naman humingi ng permiso na hawakan ako sa bewang hindi pa rin ako papayag,” Mendiola said. “I’m sure a lot of girls can relate. Ako kasi pag hindi ako kumportable sa isang bagay sinasabi ko, so sinabi ko sa kanya, sabi ko, ‘Sorry wag kang humawak.’ Kasi pababa na ng pababa eh…”
Abunda agreed with Mendiola, saying, “We have to remember that’s a person’s body that we have to respect. You cannot violate that.”
He then asked her what could be the right way of posing with a female celebrity, at least with her. Mendiola shared that she encounters some fans who ask her if they can put their arm around her shoulders to make it look as if they were close.
“Kunwari close tayo, may ganun sila na cute naman, so sabi ko sige ok lang so mang-aakbay lang sila tapos se-selfie. Okay lang naman sa’kin, I’m really okay with that.”
Abunda and Mendiola also talked about the nuances of certain gestures, such as how a hug, akbay or a touch on the waist from a female fan or a mother would be different if it came from a male fan.
Mendiola said that if a male fan really wants physical contact with her, she can offer to do the akbay, instead of the other way around. In this way, at least, the gesture is coming from her. “Pwedeng ako yung umakbay,” she said.
Abunda’s final words drove the point home in their discussion on consent and respect. “That’s clear diba, may respeto. Kasi hindi nangangahulugan, it doesn’t follow that if you’re beside a public figure, you can actually violate the body of the public figure.”
Abunda and Mendiola’s conversation serves as a message to male friends and fans alike who, should they request for a picture in the future, perhaps can be more sensitive and discerning as to whether their gestures are already violating the personal space of another. /ra