I'm a fan of Marie Claire, the UK edition. It’s topical, making sure to focus on womens’ issues and modern culture. It also has a feature on sex: the September issue talks about Piggy Bank Girls, the first of its kind in erotic crowdfunding. Basically, I’ve understood that the aim of the website is for women to sell erotic/explicit images or videos of themselves to people on line.
The article focussed heavily on one young women, suffering from a rare genetic disorder, who used the site to raise enough funds to buy herself a wheelchair. Who am I to judge this girl? I don’t want to judge her and I am happy that she managed to find a way to buy the wheelchair. However, on a larger scale I feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea of women being provided with a platform to sell their bodies on line. There is the argument of course that it’s the choice of the person in the body and that I should keep my nose out of it because it is none of my business. A point I’m willing to accept.
For me however, there is something frightening about women, who have the choice to not sell their body in order to make some income, actively choosing to ultimately do this. Is it really liberating? Or is it perpetuating the idea that women's’ bodies are to be continually viewed in an objective way? Or is it the next step in the fight to reduce human sex trafficking and prostitution?
There was simply no escaping all the headlines about the recent celebrity phone hacking scandal. There was a particular focus on Jennifer Lawrence and the internet was full of gleeful men, delighted to have such great material to masturbate to. I think of the men behind these tweets: they could be a male relative, or colleague, or (boy)friend. I would be so angry at them. Jennifer Lawrence, along with the other female victims had their privacy violated, and some of the responses to that violation showed how women's bodies are still expected to be on display for male ogling. Whether it is consensual or non-consensual on the part of the woman, both having very different implications of course, the objective remains the same: to arouse and satisfy the male gaze.
On a positive note, there was support for the victims: "Even worse than seeing women's privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy." (Emma Watson) Buzzfeed highlighted supportive Twitter messages from both men and women that were bang on point. I've included the links below.
What do you think? I'm incredibly open to hearing both sides of the argument, but I have to agree with the closing statement in the Marie Claire article, by feminist writer and author Bidisha : "The idea of women putting across the message that a woman's body, or the image of it, can be sold for money is depressing."
I would love to hear your thoughts on this.