The Sexist

An Open Letter to Dumb Sluts

Yesterday, Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote an open letter on Broadsheet to all the "celebrities" who appear in leaked sex tapes. Short version: You are all dumb sluts.

She begins:

Today's revelation that Hustler is releasing a 75-minute opus of "Real Housewives" star Danielle Staub doing the nasty is just the latest in a genre that wore out its welcome long before Dustin Diamond popularized the Dirty Sanchez. At this point, if you're a contestant on "Survivor," ever ran for president or have the name "Kardashian," we just assume there's a video out there of you making your O face. And our fatigue from your narcissism has actually finally won out over mere prurient curiosity.

Believe us, when it comes to the getting on of anyone's freak, we give a really wide berth. But call us cynical, we just can't shake the suspicion that what was once a private, loving act between an aspiring model and an aspiring DJ has now become something else—the pilot for a new Bravo series. Spare us the outrage at how you feel sooooo betrayed, how you have no idea how this could have fallen into the wrong hands. At least Jesse James admitted that, deep down, he wanted to get caught. This whole pretext of "I didn't really make and distribute my own little porno here" so you can give the public something that appears furtive and dirty and secret while still showing off how weird you look in night vision? Enough. And if you are actually dumb enough to make a sex tape and think it won't get leaked, you are too dumb to ever have sex again.

Allow me to translate for all the dumb sluts reading along here: You were asking for it. You saaaay you don't want the sex tape of your boyfriend coercing you into making a sex tape revealed to millions of downloaders, but we know better. You say no, but you mean yes. And if you can't figure even that much out—well, you're a dumb slut, after all.

We would like to just let this slide, but it turns out that your dumb sluttiness is getting veeeeery, very inconvenient for us sex bloggers out there in the business of covering dumb sluts. This business: Let me tell you, it is rough. We are routinely chained to our laptops and forced to watch Dustin Diamond, Kim Kardashian, various Survivors, and all manner of one-time political candidates pretend to not want us to be watching them do it, and then pen Internet posts detailing our displeasure with this scenario. We tolerated this, for a time. But now: A Real Housewife? For 75 minutes? This, it is too much to bear.

Perhaps you are wondering whether people who are tired of being forced to watch celebrity sex tapes are actually just too stupid to use the Internet? And to that we say: Quiet, dumb sluts. We are very busy judging you right now.

There may have been a time, long ago in the Tommy and Pam era, when simultaneous horniness and access to technology was a novelty. And there are no doubt still many, both in the celebrity spotlight and here among the rabble, who just want to mix it up a little in the bedroom now and again. There's no shame in wanting to watch yourself blow your boyfriend, I suppose. As far as attention-getting ploys go, though, the sex tape makes going out without your underpants look downright classy.

Of course, there are exceptions. There's "no shame," we suppose, in making a videotape of yourself having sex, as long as you ensure that your last name never becomes famous, you never run for office, you never appear on television, and you never participate in any beauty pageant. There's no shame in it, as long as you never attend middle school. There's no shame, as long as you never blog about sex—just like us dumb sluts. But if visual imagery of you engaging in sex ever comes anywhere near the periphery of possible Salon blog topics—well, prepare for a thorough public shaming. It's a long, lonely road, shame: We will not also be shaming the ex who leaked the tape without your consent, nor the porn company that's profiting from it, nor the downloaders consuming "the sex tape they didn't want you to see!" The dumb sluts will have to go it alone on this one. If you're lucky, you'll be joined by people who do not wear underwear. There's a special place in hell for both of you.

As a friend pondered recently: What happened to the eroticism of imagination? Whether you're a Real Housewife or just plain folk, a transitory adventure, with no record beyond the smile you just can't wipe off whenever you remember it, can be pretty goddamn awesome. And if ever there were a moment to stop self-promoting, to worry less about how cool this looks and more about how nice it feels, that'd be while you're doing it.

And where would a good round dumb-slut-shaming be without an Andy Rooney moment to cap it off? Sex was just better in the good old days, before some dumb slut got her hands on a video camera. Of course, there's always the possibility that you dumb sluts aren't videotaping  yourself each and every time you have sex, that you're not all ignorant to the peculiar pleasures of sex with the lens cap on, and that you're actually quite aware of how nice sex feels. If so . . . Well. It looks like you're even sluttier than we thought.

Photo via makelessnoise, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

Comments

  1. #1

    Thank You!

  2. #2

    am I missing something? I thought Broadsheet was supposed to be a feminist blog?

  3. #3

    @mc: I know right! It usually is, but...there are missteps.

  4. #4

    Amanda, as I read through the blog post, I had the exact same reaction. You captured it perfectly.

    The thing that struck me most was the assumption that if someone is famous, they therefore must be an "attention whore" (a phrase that I loath). Therefore it's fair to dismiss the possibility that they have real feelings or vulnerabilities or desires for autonomy. They are assumed to happily exist as public property - as all women are - and are accordingly dehumanized.

    I'm truly disgusted right now.

  5. #5

    Actually, Amanda, I'm pretty capable of calling someone a dumb slut if that's what I mean. I don't really need an interpretive and inaccurate translation. I've been putting myself and my own sex life out there in my writing since the early nineties, so I'm hardly in a position to call someone else a slut.

    I wrote about the ubiquity of the sex tape as a career leverage, and honesty questioned how we're turning ourselves into voyeurs in our sex lives, which, frankly, is a whole lot commoner now because of the ease of technology. Something I'd hope we both can agree poses the risk of exposure to the parties involved.

  6. #6

    Tell me that Britney, Christina, Jessica aren't attention whores...

  7. #7

    @Native JD - I think MissA's problem is with the term "attention whore" rather than the concept. Still, you probably could've come up with better examples than someone who has had several nervous breakdowns due to her discomfort with public spectacle (Britney) and someone who was been routinely criticized from all angles based on her over-size-4 figure (Jessica). And Christina might be...prone to unusual self-transformations, but that doesn't make her "whorish." It makes her an entertainer.

  8. #8

    "I’m hardly in a position to call someone else a slut."

    But smart enough to call people that have had sex tapes leaked against their wishes dumb!

  9. #9

    @ Native JD in DC

    Basically what Katie said.

    @ Mary Beth

    Whatever your intended message, what you also ended up saying, very clearly, is that some people should just expect to be sexually harassed, and should restrict their behaviour to limit the possibility of that happening. If they don't, whatever happens to them is their own fault, and they probably wanted it to happen.

    Even if one were to ignore that message, your stated point rests on the assumption that, because they are in the public eye a great deal of the time, celebrities must have given up all personal boundaries and bodily autonomy; therefore when they claim that their boundaries have been violated, they are not to be believed.

    And lets not forget that female celebrities are mainly the targets of this phenomenon. You're saying that when women dare to be highly visible, they can be assumed to have given up their right to set limits on their visibility.

    I'll assume you understand what's wrong with that.

  10. #10

    This smacks of the same flavors as rape victim blaming. How is "Yeah, she says now she didn't want this tape distributed, but come on,look at her career! She totally did" any different from "Yeah, she says now she didn't want to have sex, but come on, look at how she dresses! She totally did!"? Fail, Broadsheet. Fail.

  11. #11

    The "Andy Rooney moment" really rankles me. It's basically saying let me tell you how awesome sex that's not videotaped can be. Thanks for the condescension...

  12. #12

    Exactly, kza.

  13. #13

    @kza :)

  14. #14

    So Mary Beth, do you routinely go around calling people "dumb sluts" while still alleging yourself to be a feminist? Because I'm pretty sure that slut-shaming is rather antithetical to what feminism is meant to be about. I'm also curious as to what value there is for you in doing so, other than getting hits on your victim-blaming and grossly insulting hit piece in Salon?

  15. #15

    She's not slut shaming, she's dumb slut shaming. Big difference. She seems to be okay with intelligent sluts.

  16. #16

    You know what? I'm going to go out on a limb and agree with Mary Beth, because if you're still making sex tapes in this day and age and expect them not to leak when you hand over control of them to a stranger you are fucking dumb (not a dumb slut). And saying that doesn't make you sexist, it just makes you someone with a modicum of common sense.

    Having sex is not a bad decision. Deciding to make a sex tape is not necessarily a bad decision. But foregoing control over the material and trusting it to someone you might break up with leave at some point (given the history of this type of stuff) is fucking retarded.

    You can't claim to be a victim when you enter into a consensual act and hand over your rights to the record of that material (which is what you do when you let someone tape you legally).

    Stop pretending these women or men are victims. They aren't. They made poor decisions (once again not necessarily the taping, but relinquishing control of said tape). And sometimes poor decisions come back to bite you in the ass. Feminism gave women the right to make their own choices in their lives. Well, with those choices come consequences. Deal with it.

    It's one thing to say we shouldn't judge people's sexual decisions, its another to say we shouldn't judge their intelligence.

    @Mary Beth

    Don't bother trying to defend yourself here. Your point was clearly lost on these people. There is clearly evidence that a lot of these "celebrities" have actively tried to sell their own sextapes to boost their celebrity. But your point regarding that is going to be completely dismissed here.

    And the more time I spend here, the hilarious it becomes to see Amanda find some insignificantly small thing to misinterpret and get outraged about. But really you have to forgive her, she gets paid to do this and misplaced outrage does bring the page views.

  17. #17

    A big YES to this post. I mean, I usually like Broadsheet! But there are, as Katie said, missteps. And I'm either noticing them a lot more lately or it's been happening more often. Typically it occurs as an attempt to be funny or topical, and it's frustrating because there are so many blogs that are both funny and consistently feminist. Frankly, the piece wouldn't be all that unusual on another site, or even on another section of Salon. I mean, the slut-shaming is ALL OVER the news sites. But to have it grouped on the same page, by the same people who write about abortion laws and rape cases makes it seem especially harsh and oversimplified to me.

  18. #18

    "You can’t claim to be a victim when you enter into a consensual act..."

    The releasing of the tapes isn't consensual.

  19. #19

    I always say
    "Every exhibitionist needs a voyeur".

  20. #20

    @kza

    The act itself is as is the taping. And once you let the person keep the material they have the legal rights to it (as far as I know), which is why no dude has gone to jail or been successfully sued for selling a sex tape that he has the full legal rights to (as opposed to one that was stolen).

    Having sex on tape per se doesn't make you a slut or stupid. Not understanding your legal rights or the general nature of douchebags does make you an idiot of epic proportion.

    "She’s not slut shaming, she’s dumb slut shaming. Big difference. She seems to be okay with intelligent sluts."

    I know you're being sarcastic, but that's the point (at least my point anyway).

  21. #21

    @Jesus Son Just because these guys may have full legal right to disseminate these videos, doesn't mean that we shouldn't, as a society condemn the act. If the woman doesn't agree to dissemination, its not consensual. Society seems to have no qualms with issuing moral condemnation of the woman participating, so I don't understand why it would be a stretch to ask why there is no similar moral condemnation of the man disseminating the videos without consent.

    Additionally, the fact that society says "Dumb slut for making a video" makes its much easier for any guys with any sexual content of an ex girlfriend to disseminate without social consequence. That's a problem. A problem that Broadsheet s unintentionally highlighted.

  22. #22

    I don't think everyone making sex tapes are legal experts. If I was to film myself having sex with a woman I wouldn't feel that I would have to make her sign a contract or whatever not to give it out.

  23. #23

    @kza

    If you made this argument 15-20 years ago, I would agree with you. But how many of these things have been made and put out in the last decade? The internet is full of douchey dudes putting up pictures and videos of their ex-girlfriends fucking. If you aren't aware of the consequences in this day and age then you're officially a dumbass.

    @Lizrd

    I'm not going to disagree with you about condemning the dudes. But I don't think anyone lets Rick Solomon(Paris Hilton guy, right?) or any of these guys of the hook. Most sane men and women would call these guys douchebags. That's just expected. The thing is every time one of these videos comes out, we always talk about how much of a victim the woman is. You might have had my sympathy 15 years ago, but now you're just a twit.

    Furthermore, there is evidence that a few of these women (Kardashian, that playboy woman) have willfully leaked their own sex tapes (while denying it in public and simultaneously profiting off them) to gain exposure.

    No one knew who the fuck Kim Kardashian was until her sex tape leaked (and it's become more and more apparent that she leaked it herself).

    It's this idea, making a sex tape to get your shitty reality on air or popular, that is the subject of MEW's article. If you think that's a great idea and we're all slut-shaming when we pass judgment on this type of cynical, calculated behavior--then super! Good for you. I, for one, respectfully disagree.

  24. #24

    "If you think that’s a great idea and we’re all slut-shaming when we pass judgment on this type of cynical, calculated behavior–then super! Good for you"

    Its the way you pass judgment in the context of this culture that makes it slut shaming. You can't just say certain things and follow up with "but I'm not slut shaming!" and have it be OK.I don't think these people are important or relevant, and I reflect that by not watching their shows.

    And I don't need your little condescending, "Good for you" pat on the head.

  25. #25

    "If you aren’t aware of the consequences in this day and age then you’re officially a dumbass."

    So basically there is no scenario in which you can make a sex tape?

  26. #26

    Not understanding your legal rights or the general nature of douchebags does make you an idiot of epic proportion.

    So, it's your fault if the tape gets leaked because you failed to anticipate how much of a privacy-invading, conscienceless jackass the man involved might be?

    Exactly how far does this theory of yours extend?

    Never mind, don't tell me; I've seen your comments and I have a guess.

  27. #27

    Amadi, I don't call people "dumb sluts," that term was all Amanda's, though she represented it as mine.

  28. #28

    @Lizrd

    We have no problems mocking/criticizing people/celebrities for other idiotic, cynical, calculated moves they make, but suddenly sex becomes involved we should shut the hell up and stop questioning their motives? Why is this one area so specially protected? That's the question I'm asking. I (and as far as I can tell, MEW) am not criticizing these (wo)men's sexual behavior specifically, but rather the willingness to appropriate (what they claim to be) a private, intimate event in order to gain fame and fortune. It's no different than questioning a celebrity's motives when they talk about how much they care about the environment and our evil dependence on oil, but then fly around the world in a private jet.

    No one is saying these women are sluts and no is shaming them because of their sexual activity. I don't see MEW ranting about porn stars.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

    Oh, and I can be a patronizing asshole sometimes. Sorry about that.

  29. #29

    @kza

    You can, but make sure you control the tape (ie, have it in your possession). If you're that worried about the tape being released at some point, then yeah, don't release it.

    @Jess

    Way to read what I wrote. Like I said, the guy in quetion is always a degenerate douchebag, but you still made a choice and knew there was a risk involved. You have no legal recourse and you knew it from the beginning. If you want insurance the tape is never released, either don't make a tape or make sure to be in possession of it.

    Freedom is great, but you have to own up to your choices and live with the consequences. This is something that extends to all your actions in life--in the sexual realm or otherwise.

  30. #30

    @ "Jesus son"

    I'm fairly sure that most sex tapes are not leaked when they are given to strangers (in fact I'm fairly sure that most personal sex tapes are not given to strangers at all), but are leaked by one of the participants in the video.

    If you're in a sexual relationship with a person, they're either a) already someone you trust to treat your body with care or b) there's a degree of power imbalance that pressures one partner to do something with the other despite the lack of trust. Either a reasonably high level of trust is already established, or trust is not a motivating factor.

    Both partners would have the same claim to the video, and might each have their own copy, so there's no justification or opportunity to withhold the video, as you suggest.

  31. #31

    Gawd, the Broadsheet writers are terrible. They try way too hard to be, as somebody said above, "witty and topical"; with the end result that they do a snarky but ultimately pointless post about everything Lady Gaga or Kim Kardashian does. There isn't a genuinely thoughtful one in the bunch.

    "I wrote about the ubiquity of the sex tape as a career leverage, and honesty questioned how we’re turning ourselves into voyeurs in our sex lives." Actually, "we" are not doing any such thing. Voyeurism has always existed in various forms, but the fact that people occasionally photograph/film themselves having sex doesn't have some magical power to prevent "us" from enjoying the sensations, intimacy, or other non-visual aspects of sex. My boyfriend has taken a few sex pictures of me, & vice versa, yet neither of us has become wildly addicted to voyeurism & we really don't think about it all that often.

    The idea that b/c a woman lets a sex tape be made, she *must* be using it for career leverage, comes with a lot of revealing assumptions. First, we assume that it's just natural & not particularly "dumb" or crafty if a guy wants to film himself having sex -- you know, because guys love sex so much, & they're kinky like that. But women don't have kinks & don't like to look at tapes of people having sex; they only use sexuality as a means to an end. & then there's the idea that it's "dumb" for a woman to make a sex tape, but not a guy. Because the woman will be humiliated when people see it (rightly humiliated? it doesn't matter, because she's so dumb in the first place! hey, I just found some circular reasoning). But the guy will look like a huge player & get off on the attention.

    I mean, that's the *reason* people think these scandals are dumb/embarrassing for the women concerned. But it's not a GOOD reason. It would be much easier for society to accept that lots of people like to make sex tapes, & make it harder to release them without permission.

  32. #32

    "You can, but make sure you control the tape (ie, have it in your possession)."

    Well the other person in the video can make the same claim for it.

  33. #33

    @ Jesus Son

    When someone owns intellectual rights, they own the rights to the content. Not the object that contains the content. You can write a book, and give the manuscript to someone to read without handing over the rights to the story itself.

    Furthermore, who has legal rights to the images is entirely irrelevant. We're not talking about copyright violation here. The offence is constituted by the use of the images to harass, intimidate, and humiliate.

    The actions and motivations of Kim Kardashian should not be assumed to be representative of all celebrities and pseudo-celebrities. Kim Kardashian does not constitute a representative sample of the population in question.

    However, I do think that that particular logic fail on your part is representative flaws your reasoning is rife with throughout your comments. So while I'm tempted to point out each one (because apparently I find shooting fish in a barrel entertaining) I have things I should be doing and will leave it at that.

  34. #34

    @ Mary Beth

    Amanda didn't represent "dumb sluts" as "your term." It's clear in the article which parts are directly quoted from your piece and which are not.

    What Amanda did do was use the phrase to succinctly describe the way you write about women and men whose sex tapes are leaked. She makes explicit what was implicit in your writing.

    What you communicated in your blog post was clear. You do not need to clarify your main points. As a feminist you should know that a sexist remark is no less sexist in its effect if the speaker of the remark claims they "didn't mean it that way."

    Nor do you need to accuse Amanda of misrepresenting what you wrote. We read your post. We almost all reacted the same way as Amanda did. The problems and assumption in your piece are glaring, even without Amanda's commentary to point it out. (I actually just asked a friend to read your post without seeing Amanda's take on it, and the first thing he said was that it sounded like victim-blaming)

    I hope you take the time to engage with the substance of the criticism here; I, for one, would really appreciate it.

  35. #35

    @MissA

    Regarding your first post: I never claimed that strangers are the ones who leak sex tapes (if I did, my bad). I'm telling you what I understand to be the legality of the situation. My understanding is that both people have a right to the sex tape and to sell it. Both do not need to consent to the sale. That's my understanding from the mass of failed law suits. What happens in a lot of these cases is the aggrieved party is sometimes paid from the sales of the video. So what's your point? That laws should be changed? Okay, but I'm not arguing that. I'm saying laws are they way they are and to act as if they aren't is idiotic.

    Your second post:

    I'm not sure where I said the Kardashian case was representative of all cases. I'm making two separate points: 1) You should own up to the decisions you make. 2) There is nothing inherently slut-shaming about saying No. 1. What I said was relating to the criticism of the main point of MEW's article, ie. should we criticize the women who do leverage sex tapes for fame? I'm saying yes, it's kind of pathetic to use an intimate moment to cash in and feed public voyeurism.

    Regarding intellectual property: I'm not a legal expert, but it seems clear from legal decisions THAT have been already made that either party is free to sell a sex tape for profit without the express consent of the other party. That's just what happens, right or wrong. What I'm saying (PLEASE READ this): is that given this information and knowing the risks, you should be able to make smarter decisions. That's all.

    If you want to change the law be my guest, maybe it should be changed (however, I doubt it will). Until then fuck your boyfriend/girlfriend/dildo on camera and be prepared to deal with the consequences of what happens.

    Please, read what I write and respond to my points and my points only. Don't assume anything I haven't stated.

    And spare me the "I'm too busy to refute all you points" BS. Either do it or don't. Until you do, you haven't refuted shit.

    @kza

    Dude, it's not about what I think is right or wrong. I'm arguing about making a decision based on legal precedent.

  36. #36

    So, basically, Jesus son, what you're saying is that anyone who ever makes a sex tape has no right to complain when it's released to the public, right? Assuming that your partner is likely to have a copy (because, hey, she/he is in it, and was part of creating it, too, so why not?), you're saying that nobody should ever consider themselves to be making a 'private' sex tape.

    Legally, this seems to be true, but I would argue that the law is out of step with reality, here. I'm not going to call everyone who has ever made a sex tape stupid. Sometimes people trust their partners more than they should. It happens all the time. Is my best friend just 'stupid' for lending money to her boyfriend, given that he broke up with her and refused to pay it back? I'd argue that he's the one who did wrong, not her. Is a man 'stupid' to use a condom provided to him by a woman, because she might have sabotaged it in order to get pregnant? Again, I'd argue that his trust is usually reasonable, and that in fact it's her violation of that trust that is deeply wrong.

    So if you trust that your partner loves you, and wouldn't hurt you by revealing something that would make you feel uncomfortable, then making a sex tape is no more stupid than all manner of kinds of trust between partners. People who regularly have sex with each other usually take the risk of trusting each other. Often, that trust is justified. Sometimes, it's a mistake. But in the case of sex tapes, as in many other cases, it's the person violating the trust who should be vilified, not the person who was willing to trust in the first place.

  37. #37

    @Jesus son

    Please stop pretending that you understand the legal situation. You clearly don't. I don't know why you keep asking for legal precedents when the tiniest bit of research proves you wrong, but I'll provide a few.

    First off, Paris Hilton decided to share the profits before the release of the tape. There are plenty of celebrities who sued for invasion of privacy and received punitive damages. Not a sharing of profits, but punitive damages: Pamela Anderson, Fred Durst, Daniela Cicarelli, to name a few. Cicarelli won an injunction requiring removal of the footage, but it had already gone viral. Plenty of celebrities have successfully blocked the release of a video: Colin Farrel, Ulrika Jonsson, Carolyn Murphy. Carolyn Murphy's ex-husband was actually arrested in Arizona when he threatened to sell the tape. Police raided his home and confiscated the camcorder with the recording. One of Kid Rock's sex tapes was prevented from publication by one of the women involved.

    Finally, this quote concerning Paris Hilton:

    "Had she sued Mr. Salomon or Red Light District, Ms. Hilton may have had a case, according to some legal experts.

    "Mr. Salomon may have been the creator and may have owned the copyright to the tape, but if Ms. Hilton had a reasonable expectation that this tape of her intimate behavior with him would remain between the two of them, she might well have a viable claim against him for invasion of privacy," said Kevin Goering, a partner and First Amendment lawyer at the firm Sheppard Mullin."
    source: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/fashion/sundaystyles/19tapes.html?pagewanted=2&_r=1

    Your argument is similar to saying that because a woman allowed someone to watch (one time) her partner can invite his friends to hide in the closet anytime. If you want to continue your argument that people should expect it anyway, then at least acknowledge that you're coming from a position of victim-blaming. But stop saying there is legal precedent that possession equals right to distribute. Consenting to make a sex tape is not consenting to its widespread release: morally, ethically, or legally.

  38. #38

    @amellifera

    Please, stop. You haven't read what I've written and are instead behaving like an idiot. I'm not sure what I hate more, that I spent 15 minutes searching this shit up or that you were so blatantly intellectually dishonest.

    I am not referring to cases where sex tapes have been stolen or some other crime has been committed. As even MissA noted most of the sex tape leaks (I'm including non-celebrities) are done by a consenting party.

    In the cases of Pamela Anderson and Fred Durst, the tapes were stolen and then sold by a third party. That is clearly a crime. In the case of Daniela Cicarelli she was filmed without her consent by a paparazzi.

    Carolyn Murphy's husband was charged with extortion in his attempts to sell the tape, not invasion or privacy or anything else. He was charged because he was extorting Murphy by threatening to sell the tape (same as in the David Letterman case), not for actually selling the tape.

    The Colin Farrell case is complicated, but both consenting parties claim that they did not try to sell the tape and that it got into distributor's hands through some other means.

    I don't know who Ulrika Jonsson is and I can't find a credible source mentioning how the case went down in a US court. Same in the case of Kid Rock (which I'm assuming is a different case than the one in the NY Times article? ), I can't find anything with a quick wikipedia search since I don't know the woman's name. I'm assuming Kid Rock wasn't trying to release the tape and neither was his consenting partner. Therefore this was most likely yet another third party case.

    And coming to Paris Hilton: We can't possibly know how it would go down since she decided to get paid. That you have one legal scholar saying she "may have" a case isn't legal precedent. I'm sorry.

    In most of these cases (such as with the recent playboy bunny) one consenting party releases the tape and the other either deal with it or agrees to take some of the profits.

    So legally speaking, yes, you are full of it, because in all of these cases sex tapes were blocked primarily over charges such as theft or extortion, not privacy.

    You're right that releasing a sex tape you made with someone who trusted at the time is ethically and morally (redundant?) wrong, but the legality is still in question and while it is don't be an idiot about it.

  39. #39

    Last one and I am done for good.

    @Lynet

    You can complain, I've just become less and less sympathetic to it as the cases upon cases of regular dudes uploading sex videos online has increased drastically over the last decade. Once again, let me reiterate, the dudes are scumbags, but I mean, what do you expect to happen when you trust a scumbag?

    And once again, I personally have no moral issues with women who make sex tapes for fun/profit, or think making a sex tape makes you a slut. My issue is the idea that people are entitled to their sexual freedom (and in this case carelessness) without any of the consequences.

    I understand what you're saying about trust, but all that silly crap aside, you are ultimately responsible for your own sexual choices and sexual health. For instance, I have little to no sympathy for a woman who lets a man have sex with her without a condom because he he promises to "pull out" or a man who has sex without a condom because his lover tells him she's hasn't been tested but she's "clean."

    Part of being a grown adult is learning who to trust and when to trust them. After all, it's a cold world out there.

  40. #40

    Okay, was just reading the comments on Jezebel, and wow. A lot of, frankly, sexist hatred towards pseudo-celebrity women. One that actually said that Amanda's commentary missed the point, which was to complain about "tacky bitches" not "dumb sluts". I mean, WTF? It didn't read as tongue-in-cheek at all.

    I knew that there has been backlash towards Jezebel and Jezebel commenters for insensitivity to racial issues. But I had always thought that it was a generally sex-pos community. Even without all the victim-blaming language (which is a pretty big hunk of Williams' piece) what the post basically amounts to is a complaint about how other people conduct their sex lives. Which, assuming that no one is being harmed in the relationship in question, and Williams clearly does make that assumption in her piece, really is not a very pro-woman thing to do. But apparently Jezebel commenters don't have a problem with that. My opinion of that blog has just plummeted. Again!

  41. #41

    Reading the comments on Jezebel versus reading the ones here is like night and day. I couldn't agree with this one more:

    'I get the desire to poke holes in an opinion you disagree with (A LOT), but to repeatedly characterize your opponent's pov as "you are dumb sluts" is a pretty cheap trick.

    I don't think the original was particularly nuanced (apparently you're either a sexual mercenary who does everything in order to further your career, or you're just too dumb to realize what a sex tape is for, that is, watching), but that doesn't mean you get to give it the least charitable reading possible. And don't "translate" for me, asshole, I can read. Apparently better than you can.'

  42. #42

    @ boombapsteve

    If no one knew who Williams was, they wouldn't bother to give it a "charitable reading" because there is nothing redeeming about it whatsoever.

    Tell me, which part should be charitably interpreted, the victim-blaming, or the telling other women how they should be having sex?

  43. #43

    Can someone please tell me what reliable indicators there are to know that your lover, with whom you have a good, trust-based relationship today with lots of fun, enthusiastic sex will turn out to be a "scumbag" three, five, fifteen years down the line when he's cash-strapped and you've become famous enough that he can market the sex tape he stumbles upon in the back of his closet? Clearly women should be responsible enough to recognize some trait of this latent, future-manifesting scumbagness, if they're to be held responsible for the release of old sex tapes, so what is it that they're supposed to be looking for, exactly?

  44. #44

    My main objection to Amanda's piece is the use of the term "slut" (her term, not one that Ms. Williams uses). The implication of Amanda's piece is that Ms. Williams is making a moral judgment about the sex lives of the women who are in these sex types. But she is not questioning their morality, she is questioning their motives and common sense. No one is judging these women for having active sex lives. They are being judged either for using their sex lives for self-promotion, or for being foolish enough to assume that a tape with them having sex will never be seen by anyone they don't intend to see it. And this has nothing to do with someone selling your sex tape to a porn company. That's the exceptional case. The kind of man who will sell a sex tape to the highest bidder because he is pissed off at his ex is the kind of man who would send a copy of the tape to all of his friends because he is pissed off at his ex.

  45. #45

    @Stewart

    Dude, why are you even bothering?

    @Amadi

    If you don't think you're a good enough judge of character (and don't want other people seeing you fuck), don't bother making a sex tape OR maintain control of it. It's that simple.

  46. #46

    @ Stewart

    But she is not questioning their morality, she is questioning their motives...

    Impugning someone's motives is a moral judgement.

    No one is judging these women for having active sex lives. They are being judged either for using their sex lives for self-promotion...

    Why should a woman be judged for either of those things?

  47. #47

    Jesus son, it's a shame MissaA doesn't have time to point out each of the flaws in your reasoning (I'm going to use the "you're so wrong I don't have time to refute your argument, ergo I'm right" argument more now), but still has time to read the Jezebel comments, read the article with a buddy, etc.

    So I'll chime in: I think one of her points is that while the person whose sex tape is unwillingly released may not be a victim in the legal sense (I agree with you there, if it was made with mutual consent, not stolen, etc), they're still a victim at least of seriously degrading, malicious behavior.

    But if the woman in question releases the tape, feigns shock & dismay, then uses the fame/infamy to get a TV deal, Playboy spread, &c, I can't say I have a lot of sympathy, so call me judgmental there. Celebrity dudes do plenty of scummy things too, and I don't see what's wrong with thinking they're trashy.

    I'll add though that using an inflammatory term like "dumb slut" in the OP's analysis/pithy summary seems pretty judgmental too. The internet! Judgment abounds.

  48. #48

    @MissaA

    The irony of course is Amanda impugned MEW's motives with her "analysis" (as she has also done with Hitchens and others). But let's not make people doublethink shall we?

    Additionally, the notion that we shouldn't moralize about anything is absolutely absurd. People moralize about other people's choices and stupidity all the time. Our lives are filled with small and big value judgments. And I have no problem with people making judgments about hypocrisy, narcissism, or common sense--which is what MEW did.

    Furthermore, the notion that we can't moralize about something (such as the topics above) just because the topic is peripherally related to sex is even more absurd and frankly idiotic.

    @Keith B

    Nowhere did I state that I thought men putting up sex tapes or private photos was morally defensible. In fact, I went out of my way to state it was morally reprehensible. I made the exact point you made in my posts. I'm not sure why you felt the need to correct me.

    MissaA has never bothered to address the actual content of my comments, which are in sum: freedom (sexual and otherwise) is great, bad people and bad things exist, realize this and use it to make informed decisions or go ahead and take a risk, but have the courage to stick it out when bad people do bad things.

  49. #49

    Once I let my boyfriend in college take pictures of us having sex. Lots of them. I didn’t think anything of it till I was thinking of breaking up with him, and then it hit me how dumb I was. I asked him to destroy the negatives (but let him keep two of them because he asked). I realized at 21 that it was very stupid to do something like that. Twenty years later, I'm grateful that I got rid of virtually all of the pictures (unless he lied!). In any case, being naive and young and trusting is one thing, but people who are older and wiser and famous or a semi-celebrity are indeed very, very stupid to do this (if indeed they truly thought it would be kept private, which I doubt) and it is a little silly to feign outrage when things like this happen. Especially these days with everything so digitized. I am with Jesus son.

  50. #50

    I think the point might have been that MEW is victim blaming, even if "victim" isn't used in the legal sense.

    BUT WE WILL NEVER KNOW

  51. #51

    @ Daphne

    and if he did lie... ?

    Of course you didn't think anything of it until you were breaking up. People don't tend to conduct themselves in their relationships with the expectation that they will break up. No matter how old they are.

  52. #52

    MissaA,

    Which is why people need to be careful. And when you see and hear about video after video being released, whether on purpose or against a female’s will, you kind of wonder about how clueless someone really could be to willingly have themselves taped or photographed. Especially someone older and/or a celebrity.

    What’s worse are females who are taped without them knowing it, which is what MRAs tell their buddies on their websites to do to protect themselves from false rape accusations. (Although I wonder if they think it’s also ok for their own daughters to be videotaped sex by a slimeball.) Being part of someone’s DVD collection against your will is the real gross violation of privacy. It’s too bad you can’t always trust your sex partners.

  53. #53

    Sounds like jesus son doesn't get out much.

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