home Current Affairs, Feminism, Sex, Society, Women Natalie Dylan and the world’s most expensive hymen

Natalie Dylan and the world’s most expensive hymen

St. Trinians dvd Natalie Dylan might have just blended into the college community as another woman’s study major had she not sought a unique way to pay her tuition. Natalie is offering her virginity online to the highest bidder. According to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada, the highest bid came in at 3.7 million dollars. Natalie will submit to a medical examination to prove that her hymen is still intact, as well as submit to a lie detector test.

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We live in a sexist patriarchal world and while this may seem liberating in that Natalie is willfully choosing to auction offer her virginity, the fact that it is valued at 3.7 million is indeed problematic. Obviously after “losing” her virginity, she will be viewed as used as goods and the price to have sex with Natalie will naturally decline.

Part of why virginity is so prized is because we socially construct sex as something men do to women rather than something both partners participate in equally. It is understood that men conquer and women submit and therefore the first man to enter a woman’s body is seen as having a claim of ownership upon her. Despite the advances of feminism, in many ways women are still understood to be the property of men even though this sentiment is very rarely graphically stated.

The cult of virginity spreads across cultures and ethnicities, whether it is the purity rings or the virgin bride demands; men have repeatedly asserted that a woman’s value is placed solely in her ability to deny sexual access to all but the one who will eventually control her – her husband.

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It is to patriarchy’s benefit to reduce women to f*ckable parts because of the way that we conceptualize sex. If we truly believed in the reciprocity that we proclaim, such gender specific reduction would not occur. Woman is demeaned by her participation in intercourse and not uplifted by it. Yet the more sexual partners a man has the more he is valued. Being sexually active is considered a validation of masculinity because of the conquest discourse that we apply to male sexuality. Therefore, even as a man is being affirmed he is devaluing the social worth of each woman he engages with.

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The binary view we have of sex as either an act of validation or degradation naturally sets women and men in an oppositional position to one another. Understanding that you can choose to live outside of the proscriptive construction of submissive female sexuality, is a divisive act. The issue is that such behaviour is often subject to social discipline. Natalie will be viewed as a spoiled identity after the transaction is complete, as much for losing her virginity as for placing it on sale in the first place.

Though Natalie has chosen to label this as an auction, in actuality the exchange is prostitution. There are some feminists that would say that what Natalie is doing is decidedly not feminist. Radical feminists in particular would take issue with the idea that women can find sexual freedom, autonomy, or agency, in prostitution.

The fact that her area of studies is women’s studies would be viewed by some as highly problematic. In the end, declared feminist or not, patriarchy survives because just like any other institution women support it. As feminists we like to believe that we are continually working to end patriarchal domination; however each day in small ways, we betray our principles thus allowing patriarchy to prosper on.

When we sit in judgement of women like Natalie without acknowledging the degrees to which we are complicit in the maintenance of patriarchy, feminism becomes a hypocritical movement. Natalie made this decision to pay for her education and while there are certainly other ways to finance higher learning, the point that should be understood and appreciated is that she made this choice willingly.

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13 thoughts on “Natalie Dylan and the world’s most expensive hymen

  1. I agree. Natalie capitalizing on the way demand is culturally structured won’t affect the structure. As long as there’s a gender gap re economic power, the most valuable asset for young, attractive women to trade will be physical. Natalie’s one-time trade doesn’t affect this gap in a systematic way, and actually has a positive effect if she translates her gains into empowering other women.

  2. “Radical feminists in particular would take issue with the idea that women can find sexual freedom, autonomy, or agency, in prostitution. The fact that her area of studies is women’s studies would be viewed by some as highly problematic.”

    Um, really? Cause I’m a radical feminist, and a sex worker, and I don’t see any dissonance here.
    The conclusion of your article I can get down with, but it’s incredibly patronizing to sex workers to imply that our work is a “betrayal of principles.”

  3. I get your point, Renee, but I still don’t think that what she’s doing is feminist.

    For one simple reason: if you don’t like patriarchy, then don’t feed it!

    When she auctions her virginity, she’s feeding a culture that says women are to be taken. She feeds the double standard — cuz I think we’d never see a man auction his virginity and, if he did, I doubt a woman would offer 3 million dollars for it. Also, Natalie’s feeding the idea that women are commodities, since the hotel where the “transaction” is gonna happen will get a share of the money. When she auctions her virginity like that, she’s counting on this unfair system to giver her money for her education. Some see that as a way to trick the patriarchy, I think she’s just feeding it.

    I hope I’m wrong with this one, but she’d have to do something absolutely GREAT for feminism once she gets her master’s degree, in order to get the same attention she got with the auction. I bet she won’t be remembered as a feminist who tricked the patriarchy or whatever. She’ll always be recognized as “the auction woman”. And that’s another way to feed the slut-shaming discourse, since anti-feminists will say “oh look at them. They say all that shit about equality, yet they auction themselves. They just want cock and blahblah”.

    I think Natalie is feeding the patriarchy in more ways than she’s feeding feminism.

  4. I really see no gains to our understanding of the value of female virginity from this “experiment.” The auctioning of virginity isn’t a new thing, not even auctioning it on the internet is a new thing. So what new insight is gained from this? Virginity is still valuable to some schmuck on the internet, just like it was when this happened the last time?

    Meanwhile, who has gained from this experiment? If she does agree to the act in exchange for the high bid, then she has reinforced to the man that she sleeps with that his money can buy what he wants from a woman. He gets to know that he has been the first for this young woman, and can take whatever rather messed up pride in that that he wants. Sure, he’s out the money, but clearly he considers this a sound investment.

    Natalie is willingly, and knowingly, consenting to an act that reinforces the patriarchal notions of virginity for the man she sleeps with, in addition to every one of those bidders online, and every young woman struggling to pay her tuition, and every young man who will gripe that HE has to WORK to pay HIS tuition, and gosh all she had to do was open her legs, and isn’t that just like a woman, controlling men with her vagina.

    I see nothing gained from the experiment, but I see losses from it.

  5. Well…if she donated a good chunk of the cash to Planned Parenthood, that would be a great start 🙂

  6. So some people in this country still believe that virginity can be ascertained by the conformation of one’s private parts? So they still also believe that if you are a woman, sexual activity means sooner or later having those parts injured, forcibly altered? Ick. Whatever the net gain for this woman and whoever she chooses to share the loot with (and how much is this outfit she works for going to take?), she is perpetuating some very harmful myths. Oh, and I seem to recall that lie detectors aren’t the most reliable thing around either.

  7. I agree with every word you have written. Apparently, this young women never read the “Feminine Mystique” and cares nothing about being a participant in a great crime against her sex, which is still chained by being valued only for the sexual services (whether through viewing, sex it itself, or reproduction) we provide to men. This young women makes the glass ceiling over my head thicker and makes it more difficult for ME to receive the respect I deserve in this society.

  8. All right, let me clarify that. She is not so much perpetuating the myths as going along with them, or pretending to, while taking some people for a ride (you should pardon the expression). I don’t yet know if her ultimate actions’ effect on women, sex workers, whoever, will outbalance the baleful effects of the pseudoscience.
    Lie detectors I don’t trust, and if I had ever seriously thought anyone was going to break any part of me, I’d get them first.

  9. I must say that I disagree with this “experiment.” Like user Esme said, it’s not like auctioning viriginity on the internet is a new thing. Why was this auction not taken down? It seems that the fact that she is a feminist and a women’s studies major is making this story even more sensational. It is sad that she feels like she must go to this extreme to pay college tuition. It’s called a loan! I hope she does something worthwhile with the left over money, like donated to Planned Parenthood or NOW. I think this just fuels the fire for the anti-feminists to call us hypocrites. No one is perfect and follows their political or religious beliefs to the T but this is just too over the top for me.

  10. Many of us DO make a conscious choice to be sex workers. Natalie is validating that argument very nicely. If she can get a man to pay her $3.7 million for one session, good for her.

    I would like to point out, though, that the idea that a woman has control over her own body and makes a choice about whom she will or will not have sex with, is pretty radical. Women’s physical attractiveness, virginity and fertility have historically been the property of their fathers, husbands and, sometimes in the case of widows, sons. These traits were not considered to belong to the woman herself, nor was she entitled to decide what to do with them.

    Natalie is making a choice. I hope she enjoys the time she spends with her client.

  11. Money is empowering. Better this than becoming a corporate whore selling her body/mind so the Wall Street moneychangers can profit off the sweat of her labor.

    If she made a video, she’d make even more $$$. (The deflowering video industry is very sad/bad.) If she tattooed “666isMONEY” somewhere, with the worldwide publicity she’s having plus the Truth at 666isMONEY.com, we could maybe save the world!

    If she wanted, she could donate $$$ to spay/neuter pets, fund M2F sex-change operations and fight wage/sex-slavery.

  12. (more than a) day late and dollar short but what Raquel (and others) seem to be saying regarding the possible spending of the money towards feminist causes is that the end justifies the means. . .(?)

    Just whore yourself this once or for a year or two and use the proceeds to empower yourself and other women and all the damage incurred in the interim is washed away? A rationalization used to defend all kinds of amoral behavior.

    And radical whore, women’s bodies have been historically considered not only the property of their fathers, husbands (private property) but also the property of the masses (as in public property). That’s patriarchy. The Madonna/Whore divide. Having to please one man (hubby) in order to survive or many (johns).

    Now that women can support themselves in ways that allow them to maintain their choice of who they’ll be sexual with. Men (and/or women) who they are attracted to and who treat them well for one thing. Mutuality. Human to human rather than purchaser to product.

    And, please, there are other ways to pay for college, start a new business, etc.

    I guess you’re saying you make a conscious choice to have no choice of with whom and how you will be sexual??

    Having sex on men’s terms is not feminism, you’re a foot soldier for the patriarchy. You’re perpetuating damaging stereotypes and misinformation about women. Giving credence to the notion of male privilege to have access to the bodies of others to use whenever they feel the urge. Contributing to the maintenance of men in arrested stages of development, incapable of understanding or participating in egalitarian relationships.

    As I read somewhere, you make a lot of money but we all pay. Too many women these days confuse narcissism with feminism.

    It’s not slut-shaming; it’s holding people accountable for their actions. There’s a ripple effect to everything we do. It’s so easy to do (use sexuality to manipulate men) it’s almost a crime to take advantage of it. The same way some men use emotionality (“I love you, baby, you’re beautiful, etc., etc.) to get into a woman’s pants. Base. Sad.

    Women who choose to prostitute themselves are not much different than the corporate CEO’s who engaged in short-term transactions that enriched them personally which eventually led to the downfall of entire industries and the people that depended on them. They got theirs. Maybe they write a check to a charity to make themselves feel better about it. Meanwhile they float away with their golden parachutes. . .

  13. As a North American male, (Canada to be precise), I do try to keep an open mind. I understand the extents women have gone to, in order to gain rights that equal their male counter parts. True there have been major strides forward, and although there has been progress, many in the feminist world believe that they haven’t come far enough.
    Sexuality, income levels, proper place with in the home are still openly debated. My personal polictial views aside, (clearly if I voice them here would either infuriate or fall on deaf ears), what this woman has done, is not out of the ordinary. Women around the world sell themselves every day to get what they need in life. Be it to strangers or their husbands, to employers, to any one that gives them what they want, women use their bodies and the “fairer” sex to obtain that which they covet most. A roof over their head, food on the table, and feeling that they are loved/wanted.
    She has in 1 act, managed to (if she is smart with the money), managed fulfill her needs for an entire lifetime. In reading this story, and in particular the posts afterwards, it wasn’t outrage, or simpathy for this woman I felt, it was pure unadulterated jeliousy.
    I try not to get offended from women like this who can make so much by a simple act, but we can all admit that if she was homely, flat chested, and wore braces, the prices she sought wouldn’t be a fraction of what she gained. Money and looks, despite all the work that has been done to advance the “cause”, still rule this world in almost all cultures.
    I feel alot of hatred toward the male gender on this website, more over hatred towards her attitudes that she is agreeing to sell sex as a means to support feminism.
    Tens of thousands of women and girls are trafficed every year in a multi-billioin dollar industry, forces in to dozens of acts per day that she has vollunteered to supply the highest bidder, 1 time.
    This is her body, her choice, and something she will have to live with for the rest of her life.
    If anything we should feel pity upon her. Whether she sells her body a second time or night, she will alwats have the stigma of a Whore the rest of her life.
    You should all feel better about yourselves as result, and not cast judgement on something was clearly a personal decision. Be it a good one or not in our eyes, it was hers to make and hers to live with.

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