A while back, Lisa posted a video of clips of Bob Barker harassing women — sorry, “girls,” as he invariably referred to them — on The Price Is Right. Sadly, that video has been yanked from YouTube. But reader Melissa sent in another example of harassment and general creepiness on game shows, this time from the 1980s Canadian show Just Like Mom. Host Fergie Olver seemed to have a running gag of trying to get the young female contestants on the show to kiss him, even trying to sneak kisses after girls had very clearly said no (Note: A couple of readers suggested a warning that the video might be particularly uncomfortable or upsetting for some viewers because of the content):
Aside from the harassment, it’s a great example of changing social norms. Presumably many people may have found the behavior disturbing at the time the show (and others with similar behavior) was on the air, but it was sufficiently acceptable for an adult man to try to force young girls to kiss him that he was allowed to do it repeatedly on air. While harassment and infantilization of adult women is still widespread on reality TV, the increased stigma surrounding pedophilia and moral outrage about sex offenders makes me suspect that a male host forcing kisses on girls week after week today would meet with a significantly more negative response.