Virginity Auctions

In 2009, Natalie Dylan made headlines when she auctioned off her virginity, with the highest bid offering a cool $3.8 million. Reactions varied. Some denounced Natalie’s morality, while others, such as one Fortune 500 CEO, lauded her “entrepreneurial gumption”.

To the opponents, the idea that virginity can be sold and bought as a commodity – in a niche segment of the prostitution market, if you will – is repugnant. It stems from the concern that a market like prostitution can be coercive for those involved and is an insult and degradation of human dignity. In other words, it is oppressive.

Yet, for others, Natalie’s project is a display of human liberty. Instead of being coercive, it is considered a break from the oppression embedded in the history of fathers marrying their virgin daughters off for financial and political ties. Natalie’s experiment is simply an exercise in free will over one’s own body.

What is oppression? Is it subjugation to immorality? Or can it also be our unwarranted arbitration over someone else’s actions and morality?

What is freedom? Is it the liberation from oppression? Or can it also be the liberty to subject yourself to what society currently stigmatize as oppression?

By the way, Natalie Dylan is a Woman’s Studies major.

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One Response to Virginity Auctions

  1. dorothea3 says:

    This post depicts a perfect example of why it is so difficult for women to overcome the harsh prejudices of society. I am always troubled to read about women who willingly sell their bodies to the highest bidder. It is such a subversive act when I think about all the hard work women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton accomplished during the women’s right’s movement to improve the status of women in this country. Furthermore, hosting virgin auctions does not send out a positive message to young girls growing up in a world that is already highly sexualized. Natalie Dylan’s actions reinforce society’s objectification of women. Naturally, every individual has the right to free will, but Natalie’s decision (and the decisions of women like her) still has serious consequences. As we discussed in class, women are not born into an inferior social class, but they become subordinate. With the pervasiveness of prostitution and these virgin auctions—and even in some cases, the influence of the media—men think it is okay to treat women like objects to be acquired.

    How are women supposed to overcome discrimination in the workplace if these customs are not banished? Women are more than just their bodies and deserve to be treated in that regard.

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