Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality
Before starting, I think I should be transparent and say that I have my own issues with nightclubs and consent, you can read more here.
Unless you live in one of those wonderful bubbles in which the popular “news” of the day passes you by, you will have probably seen the stories today circulating around Magaluf Girl. If you have missed it, the story is about a young woman on holiday in Magaluf who was filmed performing sexual acts on 24 men in a bar. There are various versions of why this happened and the conclusion is that it was either to win a bottle of wine or a cocktail called a ‘holiday’ – some reports suggest that the woman involved was made to believe she would win an actual holiday.
As part of the No More Page 3 team, we’ve had several comment pieces sent to us discussing the media’s obsession with policing women’s sexuality and behaviour. I was this week on a panel with Reni Eddo-Lodge who talked about ‘Unruly Women’, the women (usually working class, often associated with black culture) who don’t fit the box that the media, particularly the tabloids, has decided represents what a woman should be/do/wear. Magaluf Girl (and I hate calling her that, but it’s right that I don’t use her name) fits squarely into this pattern at first glance. Here is a young woman in a popular holiday destination for those with a limited budget – I’m not going to assume that she’s working class, but I’m certain the journalists will have done. She having fun, she’s drinking, she’s apparently being sexual on her own terms. Someone filmed it and the whole thing went viral – oops. Enter the tabloids with their guidebook to acceptable women’s behaviour and pronounce her unclean, apparently we’ve found a “new low” (coming from The Sun that must be low). It’s not long before social media is calling her “actual vermin” and a “repulsive slag”. I failed to find anyone (other than feminists) criticising the men in any way, the woman in question has had her name and photo all over the internet today; where are the men?
The question of whether or not this is blatant sexism and double-standards is kind of obvious to me, the answer is yes. A man receives a sexual act in a bar, he’s somehow passive, certainly blameless. A woman performs sexual acts in a bar she’s a “slag”, a “whore”, her life is ruined which is what she “deserves”. The next time anyone says to you that there is no longer a stigma around women’s sexuality, just point them in this direction and ask them to have another think.
But (and this is a big but), there is a huge question of consent here, HUGE. We know that in the UK the law on alcohol/consent is clear and is the reason why there was justice for Ched Evans; his victim was too drunk to give consent. I have no idea how much the woman in Magaluf had drunk, I don’t know how alcohol effects her as we’re all different. However, I do know (because every story is the same) that she was drunk. What if, rather than being just drunk enough to let go of her inhibitions and be the sexual exhibitionist she always wanted to be, she was in real terms too drunk to consent? Did anyone check that out? Did those running the bar even care? Were they clear what she could win in exchange for performing? Were they explicit in what they expected of her? What if she had, too late, realised what she was going to have to do? Could she have stopped? What would have been the response?
I know that’s a lot of questions, but that’s what happens in a case that isn’t clear cut. You ask questions, you don’t assume an answer and you certainly don’t leap to a conclusion that could, potentially, cause more harm to a victim.
So let’s say that there is an unclear question of consent around the act itself (also, it appears that at least one of the men is held in place by his friends, clearly he was uncomfortable with the situation) which a responsible media would think about and perhaps choose not to leap straight into shaming the potential victim. Then there is the issue of the video being shot and posted online. Did those involved agree to its release? Were all the participants prepared for it to go viral and the scrutiny that followed? Can you consent to having your life ruined? Was the women involved warned that she would be on the front page of The Sun with a picture that it was fairly easy to identify her from? Who is supporting her today?
So, to summarise...
Best case scenario: sexual exhibitionist, has an amazing time doing what she loves, which now the whole world is watching and is vilified by the press and public for being drunk, female and enjoying herself, despite feeling herself that she has done nothing wrong – nor should she.
Worst case scenario: victim of a serious sexual assault is dragged through the press and attacked by the public for being the victim of a serious sexual assault which now the whole world is watching.
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An excellent article and one which should br read by many more. I have tweeted this and hope it helps a little. Please keep up your writing it is IMO very important.
Excellent piece. I am so grateful I was young at a time before digital cameras and the internet and my drunken nights out have been allowed to be forgotten. This girl must feel utterly dreadful today. I hope the hypocritical self righteous media are pleased with themselves.
This is a brilliant piece of writing Totally agree with every word. I also really hope this young woman has the support of friends and family today.
One glaring question not raised is the fact 24 men engaged in sexual acts with one young woman and was she subjected to male sexual coercion because she was outnumbered by 24 adult men?? Did these men sexually harass her; pressurise her into submitting to their male sexual demands? Why did these men target one young woman who was drunk? Is it because men know that targeting a woman who is drunk means it is much easier for the male sexual predator to force a woman to submit to being subjected to male sexual violence.
What does it say about these 24 men that they queued to have their sexual organs masturbated by one young woman?
Let’s turn the scenario around – 24 men performed sexual acts upon one young woman. Notice the difference – it is not the young woman performing sexual acts on passive men but the reverse.
Issue is not ‘sexism’ it is blatant male hatred/male contempt for women because men can engage in whatever sexual acts they wish and other men will applaud them but when a woman supposedly of her own free will engages in sexual acts men demonise her as ‘evil incarnate!’
A neat way of deflecting attention away from the sexual behaviour of those 24 men.
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Has everyone forgotten Jodie Foster in ‘The Accused’?
Wasn’t The Accused a fictional story? I don’t see the relevance.
“The Accused” was based on the true story of Cheryl Ann Araujo.
Don’t forget, this happened in a club, so the propietors should also be held responsible for allowing this violence to happen on their premises. Did they know what was happening? I’m really scared by these stories and the apparent increase in violence against women, especially amongst the younger generation (I’m 40). I think easy access to violent, hardcore porn is the main culprit, within an already sexist and patriarchal system. It’s a recipe for fuelling more hatred against women, and I believe this will only increase unless evryone who cares about it stands up and fights against it. We can’t allow the Porn Industry to dictate our sexuality and the narrative, we have to reclaim sexuality (and not bukkake or facials, that’s just NOT NORMAL).
I’m glad you see it as violence towards young women and place it in the context of Bukkake and facials and all these other horrors where “sex” is reduced to a women’s being a mere receiver of semen, and the almost total exclusion of her body/sexual existence.
How does one stem the tide of this kind of porn though?
Totally agree with this article.
The only criticism of the girl I have is that she put herself at risk of catching STIs (or worse). I’m 100% for people being as sexually active as they want to be, but keeping yourself and your health safe is what’s most important. Obviously alcohol is most likely a major factor that impared her judgement (I can’t be certain, but I’d bet that she wouldn’t have done this exact same thing sober). I just really hope for the sake of everyone involved that nobody had any sexual health problems.
This could have been a brilliant example of protecting women, in light of the recent sex cases coming out of the 70s/press. Shame on the press for being such wankers, and shame on everyone else who is slut-shaming this girl. Drunk or not (and that’s some mean feat, 24 men in two minutes! ;D) I hate the way society shames women and ignores me. YES to the #yesallwomen. This is a classic example!
[…] young people daring to enjoy themselves outside the prescribed norms of patriarchal acceptability. There is a good post here on the right to make sexual choices, as well as the complexities of consent when alcohol is […]
Thanks for this thought provoking piece. Although I agree with much of the content, I am slightly uncomfortable with what seems to me to be an overly simplistic or unduly polarised reading of the girl either as a victim (of rape, deceit…) or a woman defying patriarchal gender expectations and roles in charge of her sexuality. She could easily be both. All of us ocillate between acceptance and rejection of patriarchal expectations, because they are internalised to a large extent and also because there is a huge price to pay for those who challenge them. This is what makes such scenarios even more complex and dare I say compelling? I hope that she’s coping with the backlash of her actions and that of the men (and women?) involved. One thing, I am indeed very concerned about as you point out, is the support, I hope she is getting (a part of me cannot help but be worried for her, perhaps I am part of the problem too…)
As I read more about this and understand the scenario it was a game. There was no ‘sex’ involved and if there was it is something extraordinary to be able to fellate 24 men in 2 minutes. I suspect this young lady was emboldened by alcohol and was entering into a game which the misogynistic british press deemed to be wrong in relation to their moral code. It is not the girl who is at fault it is the press surely and if this young lady chooses to enjoy a risque party game so be it. Why aren’t the pictures of the men published? This I think gives some creedence to my comment that the press is at fault and ahould look at their misogyny before making moral assertions about adult games.
Michael Weipert, call me old fashioned but I think “a risque party game” is probably something more like Spin the Bottle than Swallow 24 Sweaty Alien Penises… I think this 18 year old was over the limit and way out of her depth. I think the comments suggesting she’s a liberated young woman in control of her sexuality are wishful thinking (*delusional). I feel sad watching it. I hope she’s ok. It must have been the mother of all hangovers… :((
Very interesting and thoughful response to whole thing! I feel sometimes as a feminist in the modern world I face a dilema..My reaction to this story in the first place was to cringe. On a very basic level I felt revolted at the notion of 24 flacid strangers penise…in a hot sweaty night club with a bunch of young men who are hardly likely to be freshly cleaned. I feel very strongly all parties are “at fault” in the situation and that the main culprit is the bar for allowing and encouraging it. But havnt we as a society created this situation where young women feel pressured to be sexual and attractive and not “up tight” because hey it’s 2014 and everyone is liberated! But also then they must deal with the hate and disgust from everyone else. Now personally I watched the video and I really REALLY don’t think she looks like she’s having fun. Men are rough handling her and FORCING each other to take part (one guy has 3 friends pull his penis out when he obviously doesn’t want to). At the very end she refuses to give number 25 a go and he gives her the finger. It’s not a respectful consenting enviroment, if she enjoyed it she showed no pleasure. I hate the response by the media for bad mouthing her so cruelly but more so I hate that it even happened and perhaps happens regularly. Respect and love for others but mainly for YOURSELF is needed by every single person in that video.
[…] Magaluf Girl: Consent and Sexuality, by @Seja75 – Ending Victimisation and Blame. […]
Unfortunately, this is not a one off. The girl & friends had been drinking for 4 hours and the bars encourage something called “mamading” exploitative sex games for ‘entertainment. This case just happened to be filmed and put on line.
I have issue with whoever filmed and uploaded it, the slut shaming, the men taking part being anonymous and the bars for taking advantage of drunken women. It’s assault, in my opinion.
By the way, the man giving the girl the finger is a z list ‘celeb’ from a reality TV programme, no doubt he relishes the publicity.
Thanks for a great and balanced article.
[…] contributor to everydayvictimblaming.com pointed out the double standards applied to men and women in these cases: ‘A man receives a sexual act in a […]
[…] with DJs swearing at them to get on with it because ‘this is what we do’. (As an aside, this is a very good analysis of the broader issues raised by the Magaluf girl story.) To use a few crude […]