We've seen plenty of kiss cam fails, but this one just might be the worst. The Milwaukee Bulls posted a video from a kiss cam at their game yesterday, in which the camera pans to a mother and son.
While the mom was on her phone and oblivious to the kiss cam at first, her son just shakes his head in disbelief, points to her, and mouths "she's my mom." At that point, his mother looks up, makes a truly disgusted face, and looks away as everyone behind them cracks a smile.
It's yet another display of why we should just get rid of kiss cams all together — in this writer's opinion, at least.
First, it's important to mention that the people behind the kiss cam have been known to fake awkward moments like this, and it's very possible that this kiss cam fail was faked as well. Is this woman even his mom? We can't know for sure.
But if it is real, it's just another point in a long list of evidence proving that kiss cams are awful and we should just get rid of them.
While the initial idea to showcase some love at sporting events may have been sweet, in reality it can easily turn coercive and homophobic. There's not a clear record on when the kiss cam first popped up in sporting events, but Deadspin estimates that it became A Thing in the early 90s.
Since then, the people controlling the camera have historically panned only to pairs of men and women. Without knowing that these people are in a relationship, it's easy to make mistakes like the one posted yesterday. Camera people could, and have, pan to a mother and son, a brother and sister, two complete strangers, and many more combinations of people who wouldn't want to kiss each other on television.
This man-woman focus ignores the possibility that some sports fans could be in same-gender relationships, and until recently sporting stadiums have made no effort to acknowledge the existence of queer people via the kiss cam. The NFL showcased it's first same-gender kiss on a kiss cam last year — roughly 26 years after the kiss cam began.
Earlier this year, the NFL promised to showcase more diversity in who the people who wield kiss cam power choose to put up on the big screen — including a promise to include more same-gender couples — but this still isn't without problems.
Pointing people out for being visibly queer and then asking them to kiss each other literally in front of a stadium full of people could potentially put them in danger. It's a nice gesture, and we're all for more queer visibility, but the kiss cam isn't the best way to achieve it.
Even if we took queer people completely out of the picture (which we should never, ever do), the kiss cam still forces people to kiss each other in front of a full stadium of strangers. Many of the people randomly put on the kiss cam might not want their kiss up on a giant screen, or many little screens across people's TVs.
Sure, they could always refuse a kiss. But when that happens we tend to ridicule them for not being fun or spontaneous enough to play along. So, instead of continuing an often coercive and heterosexist practice, this writer says down with the kiss cam! Who's with me?