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The Pot Calls the Kettle Black

Updated: Dec 24, 2022

There’s something to be said about the inappropriate parasocial bonds individuals make with celebrities and the sense of entitlement people feel regarding others' personal lives. This matter however goes far beyond that. These women were modern-day examples of a toxic cycle that has been perpetuated far too long. Only half a century ago, Marilyn Monroe’s nude photos were used without permission and against her expressed concern to launch Playboy Magazine's first cover issue. Time and time again, her sexuality was exploited and her discernment was disregarded because men decided she had done it to herself.

Barely a few decades later, the same thing happened to Pamela Anderson. Because she had posed for Playboy previously, the courts and countless people across the globe dismissed Pamela’s distress. Photos taken consensually of her were presented as “evidence” that she could not retract the nonconsensual, private, and intimate release of her sex tape. Many accused her of intentionally leaking the video for profit. Yet, what makes it all worse is that when Hulu thought to make a series about this tragic event (they too dishonored Pamela’s wishes). After suffering the intense anxiety and emotional turmoil of the actual event, to have it recreated, dug back up, and told not only without your permission but without your perspective is disgusting.

If you happen to be one of the 45 million people subscribed to Hulu, then there’s a good chance you caught the recent Pam & Tommy release, as well as the newest Kardashian show. Within the very first episodes of The Kardashians, we immediately delve into Kim’s traumatic realization that over ten years after her first sex tape with Ray J was leaked, there’s a chance a new sex tape of her may be leaked, as well. The show allows viewers to see the havoc this wrecks on Kim’s family and well-being. In the years since the video first surfaced, Kim has launched several successful businesses, covered countless major magazines, had four beautiful children, hosted SNL, and biggest of all - she passed the baby bar and works to fight an unjust criminal system. That sex tape could have absolutely destroyed her and any chance she had at a successful future, but she took that pain and betrayal and turned it around in an incredibly empowering way. It’s clear in these episodes, however, that the repercussions of how others perceive the tape still haunt her. While Kim herself seems to have come to terms with the incident, she realizes that others won’t feel the same and this will have everlasting effects on her children.

From Marilyn to Pamela to Kim, it seems that these women suffering once wasn’t enough. The shows are just the latest example of how society never stops obsessing over others’ business, especially their most private affairs. They are a reminder of how every few years, history repeats itself or is dredged back up, for the sake of the public eye’s entertainment. If someone near and dear to you were to have their sexual autonomy exposed, you would be outraged and do anything in your being to protect them. Yet, with these women, in particular, we feel entitled to know their stories and see their bodies. These women are told they chose this life when they became famous. How many male sex tapes can you name off the top of your head? If Tommy, from Pam & Tommy, is the only one that you can muster up, then it just further proves the point that these events don’t affect both parties the same. The men are congratulated and praised. It appears to improve their appearance. While the women are practically burned at the stake.

The honest shame is that after this many years and women, it’s still the men leaking the photos and videos, it’s still the men creating the exploitative works, but it’s not just the men tearing the women apart.

Regardless of whether an adult film is created or distributed with or without consent, it does not mean that the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Consent is that yes means yes and no means no. Consent can be revoked whenever and we are never entitled to anyone else’s body. If events like the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade have sent you spiraling into a rage of fighting for change, remember that change starts with you. Remember that these little things all add up and make a big difference. And remember that something as simple as streaming a show does more harm than good. Because as long as we continue to click articles with insane headlines degrading women, they’ll keep writing them. They’ll keep making these shows. And they’ll keep profiting off the destruction of women and the attack on women’s sexualities.


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