Yesterday, an article written by Eilis O’Hanlon appeared in the Sunday Independent on the subject of the young woman who has now become known as ‘Magaluf Girl’. It made this blogger think. The title was given to a young woman after a video of her performing oral sex on more than 20 young men in a nightclub in the resort on the Spanish Island of Majorca popular with teenage holidaymakers went viral, and people tried to subsequently identify her as a result. Some of the internet comments were judgemental, full of outrage, and undoubtedly hurtful.
In contrast, the article yesterday was measured in tone, pragmatic, and sensitive to the situation this young woman found herself in, in terms of infamy the morning after the night before, when thousands of people, fuelled by curiosity, viewed the links to the video posted on social media sites. It’s well worth a read before reading on and can be found on the Sunday Independent site here.
I was one of those people who clicked on the Magaluf video link. I have no problem admitting I was nosy initially, but it left me feeling very sorry for the young girl. I also felt that it was an incredibly ill advised thing to do. For both the young woman, and the 20+ boys who got their members out in full view of the other club revellers, and now, as it turned out, the internet. Whoever filmed and posted that video should take a good look at themselves. Don’t even get me started on the “genius” who thought it would be a good idea to encourage that in a nightclub in the first place.
Most of the reaction to the article in question was positive, one or two from the left wing brigade of the feministas who hadn’t read it, jumped on the faux outrage bandwagon and took issue with the fact that the writer suggested that rules, or showing young people how to behave would help to protect them in an age where internet exposure means that any such action could end up similarly going viral and humiliating those in question… “Rules would have protected that girl in Magaluf – from hypocrisy; from exploitation; but also from her own confused and mislaid self”. When we pointed out to one outraged tweeter that this was in no way “slut shaming”, but rather a sensible approach to the topic, this site was accused of being “anti feminist”.
Firstly, Vixens is a collective of women who write on whatever they feel they wish to. We, like feminists are not a homogenous group. Every individual has their own opinions and views. Some are feminists, some not. The conclusion though that somehow a group of female writers must all be feminists and on left wing message, raises an interesting question about how both females and males view a site written exclusively by women, and gives a slight insight into how that microcosm expands the larger the group becomes. We’re not all feminists, and have never claimed to be, though admittedly, some of us identify with the f word (left, centre and right).
The other issue that was raised, and which is never properly addressed, is how the left feminist circle views those with more conservative feminist views, and the video in Magaluf is a perfect example. I challenge any woman to look at themselves and honestly answer the following question. Would you like your daughter to go on holiday, and apply herself to giving blow jobs to as many as she can do in an allotted time for a free drink? I very much doubt it, just in the same way as you wouldn’t like your son queuing up, taking out his penis and asking to have it sucked by the said female in front of him, while being egged on by those around him.
You wouldn’t want it happening, because as a parent, you try to protect your children through life. Your “job” is to try and instill enough respect in your child, both for themselves, and others around them. It’s about responsibility, and hoping that values instilled will stand them in good stead to come through life relatively unscathed, if such utopia exists. That isn’t to say that this writer is criticising the people involved. It’s done, and some, when the drink wore off may have found that they had a very good night indeed. But, in the cold light of day, it would be hard for anyone to wake up and think to themselves that that was the best idea they ever had.
Those who say that the woman in Magaluf can do whatever she likes with her body and anyone who states otherwise is somehow conforming to patriarchal structure, miss the point entirely, and shirk their responsibility to society. Yes, the woman in question was free to do whatever she liked, as were the males in that bar. There is no getting away from the issue, though. In that situation, in an act which in that context is viewed as a usage of females to confer a quick thrill for a male, there is something very sad about it – and equally so regarding what came afterwards for the girl. There is a distinction in how both the female and the males were viewed and treated when that video went viral. To be clear, that is completely unacceptable. But why is the context of Magaluf sad? Because society, both female and male, sets itself boundaries in which most self regulate, and the whole issue of the Magaluf episode finds itself stretching even the most liberal mind. That’s nothing to do with patriarchy, and everything to do with self worth, and choices which will help rather than hinder, aimed at people going through life learning from what has gone before. It’s also about learning how to protect yourself, and to minimise risk.
Wouldn’t it be a much better lesson for those who identify with the feminist label to pass on knowledge to the next generation of females in every area of life? No one is saying that people should say “you cant do this” – but rather, “if you do this, then the likely outcome is x, y or z, and the choice is yours.” The best gift that young females can be given is to be informed that they are in control of their own life, choices and body. Somewhere along the way society has forgotten to add in that with each choice comes responsibility, and consequence, and feeling. To beat your chest and exclaim loudly about “the patriarchy” every time a similar situation arises is to negate your own responsibility to those who come behind, and does a great disservice to those young people who would maybe think twice about the effect such behaviour may have on them when the drink and euphoria and peer encouragement wears off.
Life is hard enough for young people. For them to navigate their way through, knowledge is invaluable. The best feminist response to that, would be to pass it on, take a responsible approach and teach responsibility responsibly. Without it, we are unconsciously excusing the sort of behaviour which makes life ultimately more risky for females both at home, and abroad.
To have such a view doesn’t make you any less of a feminist, but it does make you a realist. And its inherently more helpful for women to hear it, because it may just help them to feel valued, and to think out strategies for when they find themselves in such situations. As one tweeter put it, there is nothing wrong with trying to dismantle patriarchal structure while also warning of potential dangers to girls. So, just why are some feminists attacked when they do?