This morning, 21 year old Gigi Hadid was leaving a fashion show in Milan when a man came up behind and her picked her up. Gigi reacted in a way that I hope most women would, by elbowing him in the face as she tried to get away. She then did something that most of us probably wouldn't do, and that was to set off after him. She was at that point held back by her security and the guy got away.
For some reason she is receiving a lot of criticism for her actions, probably not helped by the fact that a) she is a woman and what she did is not lady like and b) because publications like the Daily Mail are calling the man in question a 'prankster', which of course humanises him and makes us feel like he was just having a laugh.
And that annoys me. Because actually what this man did, whilst maybe intending for it to be a joke, is actually such a far cry from appropriate. Yes, Gigi probably wasn't in any real danger, surrounded by her security and however many cameras, but she didn't know that. In that instance, instinct took over and she will have felt threatened, as we all would and to me that highlights something scary - firstly, how easy it is for a man to be able to grab a woman on the street, and secondly, even when men DO grab women on the street, that it is not taken very seriously at all.
I know very little about Gigi Hadid, but following this morning's actions, I've decided that I love her. What she did was pretty cool and I only wish security had left her to deal with this bloke on her own. But it is worth remembering that most women aren't Gigi, they aren't surrounded by cameras and they probably wouldn't feel confident enough to try and chase their attacker down the street.
Without meaning to sound like a total drama queen, from where I am sitting, the coverage of this says a LOT about gender equality, or a lack thereof. The 'attacker' is a 'prankster' and the victim? Oh well, she's aggressive, she 'lashed' out, hardly how a woman should behave is it?
Gigi went onto Twitter after the incident to say: "I am a HUMAN BEING and had EVERY RIGHT to defend myself. How dare that idiot think he has a right to man handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho..."
She's right of course, and it's pretty cool that she did speak out about it, but the fact is, this sort of behaviour is NOT acceptable. There is a common misconception that celebrities in some way belong to us and that we can alter our behaviour when we are in contact with them, whether that be abusing them online or picking them up on the street, but that is not the case, as Gigi pointed out, she is also a HUMAN BEING.
This wasn't funny, she wasn't overreacting and this is not, as some people are no doubt saying 'another excuse for feminists to jump up and down over nothing' - this was assault and just because it happened to a super model doesn't make it okay. If you need any more persuading just imagine if someone did that to you, or your sister, or your daughter, and then see if you still see it as a bit of 'harmless banter'.