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Minister’s Kiss Attack – The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

The Berlin Incident

Last Thursday, an incident at a European Union Conference in Berlin sparked a heated debate on the internet. Croatian Foreign Minister, Gordan Grlić Radman, attempted to greet his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock, with a handshake followed by a kiss. Baerbock swiftly turned her cheek, resulting in an awkward encounter that was caught on camera. This incident has reignited discussions about the appropriateness of social kissing, particularly in the political and professional sphere.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

Public Reaction and Criticism

The video of the encounter has gone viral, with many criticizing Radman’s actions. This comes on the heels of a similar incident involving Luis Rubiales, the former Spanish football chief, who was forced to resign and banned from all football-related activities for 3 years after forcibly kissing footballer Jennifer Hermoso at the Women’s World Cup final.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

German newspapers have dubbed the incident a “Kiss Attack”, and women’s rights activists have condemned Radman’s actions as “extremely inappropriate”. Even a former Croatian Prime Minister equated forced kissing with violence.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

The Apology and Its Reception

Radman offered a half-hearted Apology, stating, “We ministers always greet each other cordially. If someone saw something bad in that, then apologies to whoever took it that way”. This statement has been criticized for its lack of sincerity and understanding of the issue at hand.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

The Cultural Aspect of Social Kissing

Social kissing is a common custom in some cultures and has been practiced by politicians in the past. Notable examples include former French President Nicolas Sarosi and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010, and leaders of the US and Germany, Barack Obama and Angela Merkel, in 2012.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

However, the problem arises when this custom is not universally accepted or understood. Politicians, as public figures, have a responsibility to set an example for the masses. By engaging in social kissing, they may inadvertently perpetuate sexist norms and disregard the importance of consent.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

The Impact Beyond Politics

The controversy surrounding workplace social kissing extends beyond the political sphere. In 2018, Aude Picard-Wolff, the former mayor of Morette, France, made waves when she sent an email to 73 municipal counselors stating, “From now on, I would prefer to shake hands like men do”.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

This incident and others like it highlight the need for clear boundaries and respect for personal space in professional settings. It’s a reminder that there’s a fine line between Cordial and Crass, and it’s important not to cross it.

The Golden Rule for Social Interactions

For those still unsure about whether to engage in social kissing, here’s a golden rule: If you wouldn’t kiss your male colleague, don’t kiss your female colleague either. Stick to handshakes and high fives. It’s not that complicated.

The Controversy of Social Kissing in Politics

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