Thoughts on Sex Tapes

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The latest sex tape scandal to hit the media is one starring Girl's Next Door alum Kendra Wilkinson. I hadn't thought much of it truthfully, until last night when my roommate told me about an article that Jezebel did that discussed what actually occurs on the tape. To be completely frank, it doesn't sound like a sex tape - it sounds like a just-riding-that-line-to-rape tape. Throughout the whole video Kendra's saying no, that she doesn't feel comfortable, and many times she physically closes her legs (while still saying no) because she doesn't like what's happening. WHAT THE FUCK?! Why is this not being discussed? Does no one else see/care how wrong this is? There is no possible way Kendra could actually want this released, but since she can't stop it she's stuck getting a portion of the profits.

"It reminds me to some extent of the Paris Hilton sex tape, but even more so here. It's that space where young women have discovered and perfected their sexuality and its value, but haven't yet figured out how it's empowering. They just know that it's something people want from them; it's something people expect from them. Something young men expect from them; something, perhaps, that young men haven't learned how to ask for politely. It's uncomfortable and new and everybody's learning, and what happens, more often than not, is that the male partner's desires come first and more forcefully, and the young woman is disrespected and disempowered and left with a sense that she's less valuable and less capable of demanding respect and control than her male counterpart - a sense than lingers into her twenties and beyond, even though she might not recognize it as such."

- "Why the Kendra Wilkinson Sex Tape Should Make You Angry"

Personally I don't feel like any porn company,third party, or singular participant in a multi-person sex tape, has the right to release a tape of a sexual nature without the other party's explicit (written) consent. Everybody loves to talk about your rights, and what people can and can't do with your work, but women legally have no recourse to stop the release of a tape that shows them in sexual situations? Really?

In my opinion a sex tape is created with an implicit understanding that the tape is for the two people featured only. Any other use of the tape is prohibited without further permission. I don't care if you're Jenna Jamison, if you made a sex tape with a boyfriend when you were 18 in the privacy of your home and you don't want it released, it shouldn't be released. This isn't a matter of personal liability claims, I feel like this should be a criminal matter. If Erin Andrews could have prosecuted the man who took video of her nude in her hotel room, then anyone who is violated in such a way should have the same rights.

It's important for me to emphasize that - it shouldn't matter (though it might be more personally heartbreaking) that Kendra's sex tape is obviously a recording of someone coercing their partner into acts they don't want to participate in. Any kind of tape, especially one made between two people showing a sexually explicit situation, is created with the understanding that the tape is made for those two people. Any attempts at wider distribution without written consent, especially when that distribution is done with the intent of receiving material gain, should be a criminal offense. Victims should be able to prosecute under the full extent of the law to have distribution halted and the responsible party held accountable.


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