Thursday, May 10, 2007

An Actual Girl Gone Wild’s Story

Garance's barely-legal porn op-ed had stirred up a lot of talk in certain blogs, and Jessica at Feministing has also weighed in. What’s interesting is that “Colleen” posted a comment in Jessica’s blog about her experience doing Girls Gone Wild Denver.

I can't believe I'm about to admit to this...on of all places...but I once bared my breasts and made out with my friend on camera to get a GGW tank top.

I had just turned 21 and my roommates decided to go to a GGW party. I didn't want to go, but they talked me into it, so I went under the pretense that I'd be there to look after them. 2 of the 3 girls I lived with barely 18 and, drunk on their first taste of freedom, had a tendency to..well...go wild. So I convinced myself that I'd only be going to big sister them.

We had to sign consent forms before they'd let us in the building. I explained that I had no intention of being on camera but they made me sign it anyway in case I happened to walk in front of a camera and end up in part of a video. So I signed and we went in.
It’s a very interesting account and at least it’s something I think that has been lacking in the porn/age-of-consent debate is the voice of the women themselves from these encounters.

Reading it I understand exactly how they are talked into performing. I still feel like the best way to change the situation isn’t to suggest 18 year olds can’t give consent to show nudity but to change how consent to film nudity is handled. (Colleen’s account has them signing consent forms the moment they enter the building. So the moment where they give consent to be filmed nude is made perhaps hours before they actually AGREE to go topless or bottomless. There is a huge disconnect then between the initial decision and the secondary decision.)

Another part of Colleen’s account is that she mentions she had been raped. She actually says at the time she went to the Girls Gone Wild party she was sleeping around because of a past rape. One aspect I have wondered about is the correlation between past sexual abuse and participation in GGW. From listening to Loveline you notice there is there is a high correlation between past sexual abuse and sexual exhibitionism. And I’m perfectly willing to be told I’m absolutely wrong on this count, but a reoccurring pattern on Loveline is that adult rape victims often have suffered past sexual abuse or some other kind of advanced family trauma. The abuse of their past often has sexual abuse victims put themselves in dangerous situations where they are sometimes abused all over again.

I want to stress I’m not blaming rape victims! Nor am I saying all rape victims were sufferers of poor childhoods. I’m saying there is a high correlation between past sexual abuse and rape and past sexual abuse and sexual exhibitionism as former victims try to gain “control” over past traumas. Of course maybe my “correlation” is off because I haven’t studied this professionally.

Anyway I just thought that Colleen saying she was raped made me think about that connection between rape and being willing to be filmed for sexual purposes. Because I have wondered what percentage of women who do GGW have had sexual abuse in their past?

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