January 16, 2009

Selling virginity

If you haven’t already hear about 22 year old Natalie Dylan’s virginity auction, start reading here, here or here.

Not surprisingly, the San Diego resident begin the auction on the Howard Stern (the talk-show personality with a reputation for upholding sexism and patriarchal values) show and claims that not only is this an opportunity to pay for her Master’s degree in marriage and family therapy but that she is a feminist and this is, indeed, a feminist act.

More accurately, this is a cultural statement. It speaks volumes about the relationship between the mass media, culture and women’s sexuality. It is also makes lucid statements about the nature of possibilities for women in terms of access to rewards, resources and power. I don’t think it is a benign statement when more and more women see selling their sexuality, their virginity and their eggs for cash to pay for school…or anything else.

Dylan states:

“We live in a capitalist society. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to capitalize on my virginity?” she added.

So far, the bids have exceeded 3.5 million. When people pronounce feminism as dead and/or unnecessary, ask yourself and those people why so many young women still mistakenly confuse selling or giving up their pussies as empowerment and then tell them to read Ariel Levy‘s book Female Chauvinist Pigs: The Rise of Raunch Culture.


  1. I am not even a little bit surprised by this. To be honest, I’m not even surprised by how they defend and articulate WHY she’s doing this. Ugh.

    Comment by lanichristine — January 27, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  2. A feminist. Selling off her virginity. Uh-huh. Whatever she says…

    I’m not sure about the recommendation of “Female Chauvinist Pigs”, however. Admittedly I haven’t read it, but I’ve had the strong impression from a variety of sources that by condemning the ‘lipstick feminists and loophole women’, it condemns all the women who like to feel sexy and, gasp, attract men. It pushes at a very valid point but seems to bring it back to ‘women can’t be actively sexual, the thought!’.
    Of course, I think a woman who defines her entire worth by the men she’s able to attract, worrying constantly whether or not she matches up to the impossible beauty standards set by the media, is hardly a well-developed individual and certainly not a feminist. But on the other hand, there are plenty of women whose pride in themselves comes from their achievements, their skills, their confidence and acceptance of themselves, and yes, sometimes they quite like to wear make-up and pretty clothes and go out to pick up a guy.

    I am not one of them myself, but I have respect for those who are after having a good friend who is a woman like this: she’s studying for her master’s degree, wanting to go into quantum mechanics, she’s a wonderful artist and outspokenly feminist. She, however, likes to feel pretty on her own terms and quite likes it when men find her attractive.

    I think that to say this makes her a faux-feminist is to insinuate slut-shaming. Weren’t we trying to move past that one?

    Comment by Amelie — March 24, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  3. I’d suggest actually reading the book. I have never walked away with the sentiment you expressed above and that isn’t the analysis in my post either. I appreciate your feedback and raising concern but your commentary is about an entirely different issue, not about this woman auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder. Most feminists don’t have an issue with lipstick or women adorning themselves, neither does Ariel Levy.

    Comment by Melanie — March 24, 2011 @ 7:26 am

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