Vulture flagged this video of a concertgoer in Copenhagen, who, as Amanda Dobbins put it, “confused his front-row ticket with permission to touch Beyoncé,” and got told that Knowles-Carter is perfectly comfortable having him escorted out by security if he does it again:
This isn’t necessarily about gender, of course. It’s not as if Bruce Springsteen’s fans were keeping them hands to themselves when he slid, crotch-first, into a television camera during the Super Bowl in 2009:
And Beyoncé was, of course, touching fans with her hands before this fan touched her tuchus. But the interaction between them illustrates the complexities of interactions between fans and performers, and the difficulties of communicating limits when fans feel like spending an enormous amount of money entitles them to experiences beyond hearing a performer sing.
Reaching out to give your hand to someone who is functionally a stranger to you is not the same thing as giving that person permission to touch you back on another part of your body. Taking money to give a musical performance in close proximity to someone else is not the same thing as taking money in exchange for being touched without your consent. Being a performer doesn’t mean giving up being a person. But because these lines are blurred so often, we apparently need to reaffirm these boundaries again and again.