Why Drake Is Thanking Madonna For Kissing Him

Of course he’s thanking her. He has to. It’s the only way to be a man.

Drake says he feels great about Madonna’s surprise kiss.

Of course he says that. He has to.

Don’t misinterpret my shock!” begs Drake on Instagram. “I got to make out with the queen Madonna and I feel [100] about that forever. Thank you @madonna.”

There’s no way for us to know if Drake was into it or not—maybe he loved it. What I do know is that it doesn’t matter what he felt, because his only option was to “man up” and convince us that he liked it. No one should be pressured, coerced, or forced to engage in any kind of sexual activity without their consent. But when it’s a guy who receives the sexual attention, we often fail to see the problem.

Our cultural myths around gender and sexuality paint a warped picture of sex, where men are assumed to “feel 100” about sex basically all the time. We’re told that men want and need sex constantly and are like animals who cannot control themselves around women. It’s cool for a guy to have many sexual partners and it’s up to guys to pursue sex, too. It’s normal for men to keep count and brag to each other about their sexual conquests.

Masculinity is closely tied to sexual conquest and behavior, and being a “real man” means joining other men in objectifying and degrading women.

They can’t help it! You know how guys are! They only want one thing. Boys will be boys!

Generally, when we look at this problematic view, we focus on the harms to women. When sex is wrongly framed as being about male conquest and pleasure instead of mutual consent and enjoyment, sex is seen as something men should get from women by (at best) persuasion and (at worst) actual force. Surely this view of sex contributes to our epidemic rates of sexual assault.

But the idea of the hypersexual man has very negative implications for men, too. Not only does it dehumanize men by painting them as sexual animals incapable of rational thought or sensitivity to others, but it promotes the idea that men automatically consent to any and all sexual activity. Men are always looking for and wanting sex, right? So how is it even possible for nonconsensual sex to happen?

This view has real impact. Male survivors of sexual assault are widely disbelieved and discredited, and few services exist for them. The FBI only added male victims to their definition of rape in 2012. Rape is extremely underreported for men; there is a widespread belief that men cannot be raped because they are always willing.

In fact, it follows that there’s only one way that a woman’s sexual attention could be non-consensual: She’s ugly. That’s the only reason our society will allow for a man to be disinterested in sex.

The Drake and Madonna situation is a perfect example. If it was truly was spontaneous, then Madonna forced Drake to make out with her and then walked off feeling proud and letting us know she’s Madonna. Drake was visibly uncomfortable and asked “What the f*ck just happened?”

Drake was essentially caught not being into sexual attention. So we all needed to cover for him.

The internet rushed to help Drake by offering him an easy way out of his displeasure with the sexual encounter: Twitter let us know that Madonna is old and ugly! Now we can rest assured that Drake is still the real man we need him to be. It wasn’t because it’s not OK for anyone to force a kiss in that way, it was because UGLY CHICKS LOLZ!

Drake let us know that it wasn’t Madonna he wasn’t into – of course he’d be into this conventionally attractive and famous white woman. It was her lipstick that he didn’t like, you guys! It’s all a big misunderstanding. DUH he enjoyed someone twice his age sticking her tongue down his throat in front of a crowd of people! He just looked upset because of the lipstick. No harm done!

Instead of being about how what Madonna did isn’t cool because it wasn’t consensual, it became about how it wasn’t cool because she was not sexually desirable. But anyone can be a perpetrator of sexual violence. It doesn’t matter if you’re very attractive to the victim or not at all attractive to the victim.

Reality check: If someone actually exclaims “Holy sh*t! What the f*ck just happened?” in alarm after you do something sexual to them, that was probably not consensual, and they did not like it. But because he’s a young black man and she’s a well-established, famous white woman, it sickens (but doesn’t surprise) me that Drake is now literally thanking Madonna for kissing him.

Of course he’s thanking her. He has to. It’s the only way to be a man.

Dana Fleitman is the Senior Manager of Prevention and Training Programs at JWI, the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against all women and girls. She is also a stand up comedian. Not usually at the same time. She is based in Washington, D.C.

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