The title was "Click Here For Your Worst Drunken Nightmare" and, basically, it was about the "girls gone wild" genre of porn (that is, drunk and crazy candid amateurs, rather than professional porn stars in a studio), and the promoters who plan parties, encourage women to drink their inhibitions away, direct certain behavior, and make a profit of selling the results, generally through porn websites. One woman tells the story of being at a party, drinking way too much, and having a sexual encounter with her best friend, while her boyfriend begged her to stop. She says that she wanted to stop, but, between the alcohol and the other partygoers cheering her on, she felt she couldn't.
But only the image of her boyfriend kneeling over her and begging her to stop stands out in her mind. "I just looked up at him and said, 'I can't,'... in retrospect, it was a weird thing to say. But that's how I felt. Between the booze and the crowd, there was no way to stop. I cheated on my boyfriend in front of his face."
The guy filming the incident gave her a hundred dollars and had her sign a release. The entire incident ended up on the internet and she felt humiliated.
One of the points the article makes is that for as long as there has been alcohol, there have been regrets about drunken mistakes, but that it is a bigger problem now when your mistake can be so quickly and easily posted on the internet.
I mean, compare it to when I was in college, which was less than ten years ago. If a girl got drunk and did something stupid, most likely there would only be a rumor about it ("You won't believe what I heard she did!"), and if she ignored it, it would eventually just go away. Even if everyone was talking about it, there was rarely photographic evidence ingrained in their memories. And even if photos existed, most likely only a few people saw it, because it was unlikely that anyone was ever going to take it to the photo shop and have duplicates made. And a xerox can only do so much.
These days, obviously, thanks to the internet, it's much easier to take and share photos and videos. And we're not even talking about hidden videos here - every woman in the article knew she was being recorded.
While the article does put some of the responsibility on the women involved, I think it puts too much blame on the men who profit off these women. For example, one of the section headings is "Can women be protected?" But I think the question really should be, "How can women protect themselves?"
I have a problem with the way the article portrays the men who arrange these tapings and the industry in general. While it may be distasteful, are they wrong to try to make a profit off something women are so willing to do? Look at prostitution - commonly known as "the oldest profession." As long as their are women willing to sell their bodies, there will be men trying to find a way to cut themselves in on the profits.
To blame it on parties, or alcohol, or the people serving alcohol or encouraging drinking is wrong, and just plain sexist. We don't let men get away with blaming their mistakes on alcohol - why should we, as women, be allowed to use it as our excuse? I have clients charged with domestic violence or sex abuse, and if they were to tell me, "Oh, I only did it because I was drunk" or "Some guys were cheering me on, so I had to do it," I would tell them that's not good enough, that's not going to get anyone's sympathy. And it shouldn't fly when it's a woman giving the same excuse.
Instead of focusing on laws that criminalize the mens' behavior, the article should instead discuss how women can protect themselves (i.e., when you're getting wasted, stick with a friend you can trust to say, "Hey, put your clothes on, there's a creepy guy with a videocamera here") and why they should want to protect themselves in the first place (i.e., just because it's cool at the party when all your drunk friends are doing it, doesn't mean you won't be ashamed of it the next day, or when your parents find it, or someday when you want to run for congress, unless, of course, your life's ambition is to be a porn star.)
Perhaps I was most appalled though, when someone quoted in the article compared it with rape. Here's the quote: "Saying a drunk girl deserves to be filmed is like saying a drunk girl deserves to be raped." So, being filmed is somehow equivalent with rape? If you do something consensual and regret it later the next day, it's rape? I suppose I can see a small similarity - that the women live with some sort of humiliation after... but I think the similiarity ends there. A drunk girl being filmed has the option of putting her clothes back on! The girls in this article got paid and signed releases! The one woman went back with the cameramen to the website's offices so that they could copy her driver's license for the release... that's somehow comparable to rape?
Again, just as it sets women back to say that we can't think for ourselves and can't protect ourselves by simply staying sober while a camera is running, it does a disservice to all women to minimize the violent crime of rape by analogizing it with a consensual act.
Who's with me?