Feminists are denouncing what appears to be a harmless little joke by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte when on an official visit to South Korea he persuaded a woman to allow him to kiss her on the lips in exchange for a free book. Harmless until you factor in the 73-year-old Duterte has long been considered a misogynist with a history of telling rape jokes.
One such joke Duterte told was about an Australian Missionary who was raped and murdered while he was mayor of the city of Davao:
I was angry that she was raped. But she was so beautiful. The mayor should have been the first. What a waste.
Or last year when he said this about rapist being killed for their crime:
What I don’t like are kids (being raped.) You can mess with, maybe Miss Universe. Maybe I will even congratulate you for having the balls to rape somebody when you know you are going to die.
He has also been known to joke about soldiers raping civilians during a time of martial law. In that contexts it isn’t a big leap to see why people are upset that a man with so much power used the opportunity to “jokenly” get a kiss from a woman.
In all fairness the woman Duterte kissed was fine with it saying to a news organization:
There wasn’t malice in it. For me, for him, it didn’t mean anything.
Still, for a man with such a tainted reputation when it comes to his relationship with women, maybe he could have just given her the book without needing a kiss in exchange.
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) June 4, 2018
before Duterte kisses the woman, he asked her: “Dalaga ka?” (Are you single?) Woman says she's married. Duterte asks if her husband is in the audience. She says no. He then says, “Can you tell him it's just a joke?” She says yes. Then he says, “Come on, just make him jealous.” https://t.co/LV3dwA5D4J
— Kristine Phillips (@kristinegWP) June 3, 2018