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Why is Casey Anthony being asked to do porn? Sex, scandal and punishing bad girls

Posted on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011 at 12:42 am

Author: Feature Writer

Gc contributor: Sady Doyle

It is very possible that Casey Anthony killed her daughter. Before we say anything else, we should say that: the fury that was unleashed over Anthony’s July 5 acquittal is based on some very understandable outrage. Anthony did not report that her two-year-old daughter Caylee had gone missing for 31 days; she lied to the police on numerous occasions, including one occasion on which she told them that a non-existent nanny had stolen the girl; the girl was found dead by the road, and several people said they’d smelled a decomposing body in Anthony’s car. Even after the verdict, no-one really believes Anthony was uninvolved in her daughter’s death. So quite a lot of people hate her, both for what they believe she did, and for the perceived lack of punishment she faces now. And, in the absence of a guilty verdict, America has turned to what it considers a suitable punishment for Casey Anthony: Porn.

Vivid Entertainment was the first to make an offer; they wanted Anthony to star in one of their films, with Steve Hirsch telling the press that “we believe we can help [Anthony] make the transition into a new life.” They later rescinded the offer. Now, Larry Flynt is taking up the cause, telling Nancy Grace that he’s prepared to pay $500,000 to get the Hustler spread of Anthony that “droves of men” have apparently requested. Hugh Hefner says he’s also received an “amazing” number of requests to feature her in Playboy.

Of course, offering Casey Anthony a job is an easy way for porn companies to get coverage, and it’s tempting to stop there. “The more you write about people offering Casey Anthony money to do porn, the more you encourage them to pull such crap stunts again,” Fleshbot editor Lux Alptraum Tweeted.

Alptraum is very smart about the dynamics of the sex industry, and I’ve no doubt that she’s correct. Still, despite the hazards, I think it’s worthwhile to explore why this is happening. Because, the fact is, from the moment her trial started, Casey Anthony’s sexuality has been a public good. And this has revealed some very ugly truths about women, about sex, and about the role sex still plays in the cultural imagination. When we, the people hate a woman, we want more than anything to see her get fucked.

Anthony’s sexuality has always been at the center of her trial. The prosecution called her a “party girl” who killed her daughter so that she could be freely promiscuous, and the press ran with that, reproducing whatever provocative photos of Anthony they could find. Just try to form a logical connection between these two sentences:

Casey is charged with murdering her toddler daughter Caylee and the Orlando case has made national headlines for months. Now, these new photos show her out of control, the shocking life-of-the-party, engaging in some passionate kissing with a girlfriend.

There is none. The photos in question are not relevant to the case. They were taken well before Caylee’s death. Casey Anthony may have killed her daughter, Casey Anthony made out with a girl at a party–there is no connection between the two ideas. Unless, that is, you buy the idea that being sexual — impermissibly, “shocking”-ly sexual! In public! With a girl, even! — makes you a monster. Or the idea that, for a woman, enjoying sex is a moral offense that can be fitted onto the same scale of human evil as murdering a toddler. If you buy that, the connection is perfectly clear.
Plenty of people roll their eyes at terms like “slut-shaming” or “sex-positive,” and that includes some feminists. But the fact is that, culturally, we maintain a virulent hatred of sex that does not follow the standard rules. You can see it in the legally supported oppression of GLBT people. You can see it in the hateful and borderline-violent reaction to women who speak too freely about their own sex lives. You can see it every time a woman presses rape charges, as both the press and the defense scramble to find some way to paint her as “promiscuous.” And you can see it when women are the ones who stand accused of crimes.
No-one wants to defend Casey Anthony, no-one can defend what she may have done to her daughter. But it’s profoundly dangerous to ignore the implication that her “out of control” sexuality contributed to her capacity for murder or abuse. When we argue that women murder because they’re “promiscuous,” we’re also arguing that promiscuous women are more likely to murder. And when we act as if a woman’s “sluttiness” is evidence that she is a criminal, we legitimize all of the hatred and violence against “slutty” women who have committed no other crime.
And yet, even as we use Casey Anthony’s sexuality as evidence against her character, we want to lay claim to it. Those provocative photos of Anthony weren’t just printed to feed into the public’s hatred; they were printed so that the public could get off on them. For the same reasons, blogs publish pantiless “upskirt” photos of loathed female celebrities, Vivid has pursued “Octo-Mom” Nadia Suleman relentlessly, former sex blogger Lena Chen’s ex posted naked photos of her online without permission, and Hustler made a porn film based on Sarah Palin’s career. When we find ourselves a bad girl, a nasty girl, a girl we hate, there is one surefire way to re-assert control over her: Strip her down and make her get us off. Take her sexuality away from her — it’s dangerous — and make it serve us instead.
This isn’t an anti-pornography argument. Pornography is just explicit, unsimulated sexual imagery; that can be made under good or exploitative conditions, and with any sort of ethics or politics. But, though feminists have cried out for decades that sex need not be a means of domination, it continues to be used as a means of punishment and humiliation for women who have stepped out of line. The attempts of Vivid and Flynt to get Casey Anthony naked on-camera — and the “droves of men” apparently asking them to do so — are just one expression of this fact.
It’s understandable that people hate Casey Anthony. But when people start to use sex as a means of expressing that hatred, that is where the question of Casey Anthony’s guilt stops, and the question of their guilt begins.

Front page photo: Casey Anthony’s mugshot, 2011, public domain.

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  1. Nice post… I think I agree with you.

    Fact: anyone who followed the trial closely knows the real reason Anthony offed her kid was not to ‘party like a slut’, but to destroy and/or get even with her mother. In fact, I think a major reason the trial went viral was because so many grandmothers are raising so many grandchildren of single moms; the situation struck home in alarming ways. I also believe Borderline Personality Disorder is becoming very common in young women of Casey’s age and class (as girls are encouraged to ‘split’ their inner and outer selves more than ever; now we have girls wearing stripper outfits by age 7, who are nonetheless expected to act like ladies… say what?).. and for many of us, the whole thing was simply hypnotic from beginning to end.

    The “slut” tag was assigned when she claimed she didn’t know who her child’s father was. (I have never believed her, but most people did.) And FTR, the “Hot Body contest” photos of Casey and the other dancer exchanging pleasantries, WERE taken during the 31 days Caylee was missing. If there were other girl-on-girl photos, I missed them… but those photos looked very joyous and free, and that is why the prosecution wanted to use them, since they went to the heart of what they believed was the motive.

    Since the motive was actually hurting her mother (Cindy), the prosecution should have dredged up all correspondence and phone calls between the two; the whole debacle (Caylee’s disappearance) started after a major brawl between the two women and Casey melodramatically removed Caylee from her mother’s house. Another witness also testified to “a mother-daughter explosion” that happened in her presence. The fact that the prosecution was so intent on the slut theory, means they ignored the real motive, which was to wound Cindy. So this whole slut-shaming thing might be why they lost the case!!!!

    So, you are onto something.

    But see, if they’d just gone for the mother-daughter angle, would there be the high ratings for the trial? Remember, there is money to be made, and that comes first.

  2. I think this also says something about the immense prejudice behind sex work. Namely, that we think of people who engage in sex work as so bad that a good portion of society will go as far as equating sex work to punishment.

  3. “This isn’t an anti-pornography argument. Pornography is just explicit, unsimulated sexual imagery; that can be made under good or exploitative conditions, and with any sort of ethics or politics.”

    Maybe theoretically, but we live under a Patriarchy. Porn is about misogyny.

  4. Even gay male porn, Hazel Stone? What about porn made by and for women? What about lesbian porn made by lesbians? Porn made by feminists? They’re harder to find, but they do exist.

    I absolutely agree that the majority of the porn out there–porn produced by and for cisgender (usually white) men–is about or contributes to misogyny. But to say that all pornography does might be too broad of a statement and ignoring the voices of more progressive pornographers.

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  8. Hazel is right, of course. Porn is about humiliating and degrading women so the fact that so many men want to see Anthony featured ( f***ed) makes complete and total sense.

    Gay porn has its own issues, wildcat. However, even the most submissive bottom in gay porn is treated a hell of a lot more respectfully than women are in het porn.

  9. Can porn be about degradation and control? Sure it can, but it isn’t always about that, in fact there are a lot of porn site depicting women in control over men. Why is it humiliating for women gayle? That is such a narrow minded view as it often empowers the starlets enabling them to go on and do wonderful things with their lives.

    As for the article itself, why does this all have to be about punishment? Could the reality be something far different from what is proposed in the article? Maybe Casey Anthony is just a very attractive(physically) woman with notariety(though for something so hideous). I am a man and I love the female body. It is not about getting off, but about experiencing the mysteries of each unique woman’s body. It is about seeing what she looks like as she orgasms, or performs various sexual acts. Not every man gets to sleep with jennifer aniston, but most wish we could ever be lucky enough to experience that moment with her.

    Casey is very pretty, at least as attractive as just about any woman you might pass on the street. So for most men, seeing casey in porn would be very much like they were seeing those some women, but seeing casey also brings with it the ability to say youve seen it. If i told a friend i sawsome random woman having sex, or even naked, it would not carry the weight as my friend would not know if it is true or if she was even “hot”. The notariety is what allows men to have a connection with one another, to somehow create a bond. That is why we “kiss and tell”. Not to humiliate women, but to bond with our peers in much the same ways many women themselves do.

  10. Casey Anthony is objecting to a proposal that she sell her life story as part of her bankruptcy. Her attorneys filed a motion this week in federal bankruptcy court in Tampa asking a judge to reject the proposal.*

    So long
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