Revenge of the porn

It’s a common scenario at a concert with thousands of punters who are young, dumb and horny. A photo depicting a public indiscretion involving two people taken at an Eminem gig at Slane Castle in Ireland has been circulating the Internet for a couple of days. One person is on their knees, and the other is pantsless. It’s not hard to figure out the gender of each participant, and to discern the subsequent level of respect afforded to the each of them by online arbiters of morality.

Hours after the photo went viral, #slanegirl on Twitter was commonly paired with epithets like “slut” and “dirty.” Online spectators took to enact twisted vilification by finding her Facebook and Instagram in order connect sexual humiliation to a name. Facebook pages dedicated to nude pictures of women sent in by embittered exes took to the creation of misogynist memes, comparing her to a vacuum that’ll “suck anything!” Apparently, she deserves all this humiliation for a harmless act. Even online attempts by women to defend the 17 year-old teenager were met with threats of sexual violence.

What motivates this gendered disdain? Mixed messages about the ‘correct’ performance of femininity are not surprising when women aren’t even considered the legitimate owners of their own bodies. Dress sexy for the male gaze, but don’t be surprised if you are treated accordingly (read: you were asking for it). Be desirable for male consumption, but don’t express desire on your own terms. The idealised woman exists in a perpetual state of docility and innocence, only as a willing recipient for male sexual desire or behind closed doors, and only after having been necessarily conquered by male initiative.

Compare this reaction to the relative anonymity afforded to the man. If women are considered secondary supplicants, then men are coded as sexual crusaders.  According to contemporary sexual mores, receiving oral sex is an expression of power as long as you’re male. Just look at any safe-for-work version of the picture: his hands are lifted in triumphant pride in a thumbs act gesture, and his name has not been plastered online to thousands in order to shame him. In fact, #slaneboy has been commonly accompanied by praise and applause.

Many also took this fiasco as a depressing reminder to never have daughters. Yes, she is the daughter of a father. But this line of reasoning serves to perpetuate that in order to be worthy of respect and protection, the bodily integrity of women needs to be considered by their relation to men. These same people bemoaning the wayward direction of contemporary women also asked, with a glib mix of contempt and pity, why she would choose to suck dick in a public place. That’s the first thing that comes to mind. Why did decide to? Why did she get on her knees? Why did she open her mouth? Yet no one asked why this man would consent to receiving oral sex in broad daylight. We’ve come to internalise this blasé boys will be boys attitude where social judgment based on considerations of purity are considered irrelevant to considerations of male sexuality. Men are not victims to the pernicious and unrelenting sexual scrutiny that women are subject to.

Everyone wants to think that the world is fair, and this teenager simply deserved the level of harassment for doing something ill informed. But the world isn’t fair, particularly to women, and people should consider with a semblance of compassion as to whether having her life ruined for some unfortunately public oral is just desserts.

 

 

Grace Lin

Grace Lin

Reporter
Grace is currently in her second year of an Arts degree, studying Government and Political Economy. When she's not questioning the integrity of a newspaper that would take her on as a reporter, she's usually eating melon and looking at pictures of dogs doing funny stuff.
Grace Lin

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