Zendaya’s Response to Unwanted Advances: A Stand on Consent


Sep. 3 2023, Published 7:41 p.m. ET

“Look, you’re mixed, I want to be black, let’s make a lifestyle movie.”

That is one line netizens will never let Matt Rife forget. And if you think that line is “cringe”, wait for his follow-up killer move.

Not sure you guessed right, but he touched her face!

Now one thing is clear, not many people understand what the concepts of personal space, consent, and sexual harassment are about. Thankfully, Zendaya held her own in the face of such a provocative move, telling us a lot about the superstar’s stand on consent.

It’s simple, consent is the shit! In its absence, nothing done is correct.

Today, there is hardly any doubt on Zendaya’s stance on such issues. And this is a rather bold move, considering anyone, even iconic girlies like Zendaya stands the risk of being canceled at any time.

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The Matt Rife Goof?

Now and again, clips of Zendaya’s special episode on the comedy show, Wild ‘n Out, where Matt Rife invades her personal space surface online. And every time, it is always amidst some controversy around unwanted advances, sexual harassment, and consent. Have you seen the video yet?

It was supposed to be a fun game where one team tries to get the other to laugh and spill the water in their mouth. We’ve all seen these types of games a lot, haven’t we?

But Matt Rife, when his opening lines didn’t have the effect he had hoped, tried something he should never have.

Touching Zen’s face, he said, “Spit that water so I can get your number, please?”

Zendaya, without laughing or spilling the water in her mouth registered her displeasure at Matt RIfe’s approach instantly. She wagged a finger at him while other cast members also stepped in. As they should!

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Zendaya keeping her cool while clearly communicating that she was not pleased with Matt’s attitude is something that many women and girls might struggle with. This is no surprise, given the way our society easily dismisses women’s feelings about personal space or even worse, blames them for it. But, as we all learn and follow the cues of peeps like Zen, we can only get better.

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Consent: The Zendaya Style

As a young woman in the entertainment industry, Zendaya’s journey has not been without some challenges. The beautiful actress has had her share of uncomfortable encounters offscreen and onscreen.

But as we can deduce from the Wild n’ Out encounter with Matt Rife, Zendaya isn’t one to let an invasive act or bad reference slide. Despite how light and unserious a comedy show usually is, Zenday managed to communicate her displeasure.

She didn’t ask for her face to be touched, she did not appreciate her face being touched, and she made sure everyone knew that for sure. How can you not like her?

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Shit Happens! Using Her Voice

Zendaya uses her platform and huge following on social media to express her concerns on the sexual culture of the industry.

One admirable trait in the young superstar is how she never shies away from calling it what it is, even when she is not the obvious victim.

Wow! If anyone still thinks our love for Zen is unfounded, please stand up!

No one? Don’t you just love a woman who stands for the sisterhood?

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