Magaluf mania. What about the planks?

There’s been so much huff and puff today about a viral video of a young British woman giving blow jobs to 24 men at a club in Magaluf.  Doubtless somewhere the video is still available, but it’s the discussion around it that’s fascinated me.

The debate, perhaps inevitably, seeks to point the finger of blame; was the young woman an ‘innocent’ victim or simply a dirty hoe? And of course was it ‘wrong’ or was it something we should accept as ‘just a game’ played by consenting adults? My summary of the arguments is:

  • Of course there are obvious comments centred on the girl being a low-down slut who had engaged in deeply humiliating behaviour the impact of which would be a ‘hangover that she’ll never recover from’. But contrasted with those focusing their comments on her alone, were others claiming ‘hey, there were guys involved too!’ The fact it happened in a public place, implicates the bar owners, the DJ and onlookers as well. Everyone in the video is culpable, not just her.
  • Then there was the debate about whether she knowingly did it for a free drink, or whether she was short-changed because she was led to believe she’d get a free ‘holiday’ (which apparently is a cocktail). The implication is that there actually might be a reasonable or justifiable incentive for taking part; a threshold of acceptability dependent on the participants’ personal motivation.
  • Some defend her by saying she was drunk, and possibly on drugs (not specified) and so she didn’t really know what she was doing and she was egged on. Others claim she was sober and knew exactly what she was doing. In fact, according to one commentator who’d watched all 2 ½ minutes of the video, she ‘seemed to enjoy it’.
  • There was outraged scare-mongering around the need for police intervention into this so-called growing ‘trend’ in Magaluf, which is being outed as a deliberate tactic to attract more ‘sexy’ tourists. But one blogger calmly noted that if this is such a common occurrence, given the millennial tendency to ‘post’ every mentionable occurrence (and many unmentionable ones), why is it only now we have evidence of this allegedly rampant mamading scene?
  • One blogger speculated that this one-off event was likely to be a hooker hired by the club specifically for that evening, and not as most people have assumed a student on her first holiday away without her parents.

What actually is going on here? Is anyone to blame?

Only the woman herself knows why she did it. But the fact remains that whatever those reasons were she (and the men involved) made a conscious and intentional choice to take part.

  • Conscious because presumably none of them had been rohypnoled. The guys particularity might’ve had a hard time keeping up their side of the ‘arrangement’ had that been the case. (No puns intended. Well, maybe just a bit).
  • And intentional because they had multiple other choices available to them and they chose this one. As one article put it ‘no-one had a gun at her head’. (A rather unfortunate expression given the nature of the video, but nonetheless we take the point. Oops there we go again.)

In all the range of reactions from caustic slut-shaming to laddish would-be comics asking ‘when can I get my tickets’, the bottom line is: she thought it was an OK thing to do.

She thought it was OK. They all thought it was OK.

And that’s why I can’t help feeling sad. Partly for her, but more so because it says something about us. Rather than standing in judgement over her, let’s be brave and recognise that in many ways it simply reflects what we think is OK.

We’ve become so detached from authentic intimacy that we are OK with sex being a commodity. We are so arrogant in our individualised consumerism that we are OK with humiliation as a form of entertainment. We are so conditioned by reductionist popular media that we’re OK with women being portrayed and ‘valued’ simply for their ability and availability to present themselves as variably-fake arrangements of holes to be filled.

For the record I ain’t OK with any of that.

Are you? Ignoring our culture’s obsession with sexual commodification because it’s not our personal experience, or because it’s easier to just write people off as ‘sluts’, is like turning on our judgemental heels and retreating into a fraudulent bubble of self-concocted superior morality. We might be comfortable there, but our eyes are full of planks. We are all culpable.

Several concerned commentators argue that one day the young woman in the video will deeply regret her actions. They wistfully speculate that maybe she’ll never be able look honestly into her husband’s eyes, or that her kids will find out and get mercilessly ridiculed at school. They conclude that this momentary ‘seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time’ event ultimately will cast a deep and lasting shadow over her life as a woman.

Two things to consider in response to that assertion.

Firstly, it’s possible she might not ever regret it. She (and the guys) might actually retain the belief that it was an OK thing to do. And secondly, why should our sense of regret only come in response to other people? Are our consciences or objective moral values so utterly corroded that they are impotent until someone we love is implicated?

And maybe that’s it. If we fail to love ourselves well (as opposed to superficially) then how will we hear, much less pay attention, to our inner moral voice; the voice of Him that speaks to us all softly in the storm?

Ephesians 2: 4-6

 

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