The World's Most Expensive Hymen
Learning about 22 year old Natalie Dylan’s business venture/ “social experiment” to auction off of her virginity over the internet was at the same time both problematic and puzzling for me. I, like so many others was very quick to condemn what she is doing, but perhaps it would not be fair to not try to consider this matter from her point of view. Natalie herself writes in “Why I’m selling My Virginity” that after being brought up to believe that her virginity was to be held onto until meeting the right man, she learned in college that such teachings were “just a tool to keep the status quo intact“, and that the act of deflowering is “historically oppressive.” I can agree with that argument, however I think that even though the value of preserving your virginity might have once been a way to keep women as the property of a single man, it could also be considered a useful value for both men and women. Instead of just telling women that they should wait for marriage (or the right person, or until they‘re emotionally mature) I think the fair thing to do would be to stress that to both sexes. I think it would do much better things for our society than having women realize the value of their virginity only so that they can sell it for money, or dangle it over boys‘ heads like a piece of meat.
Natalie says that instead of having her father as her pimp (referring to the old fashioned way) she is being her own pimp. (With the help of Dennis Hof and the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, of course) I understand what she means by this, but really, should she be proud of the fact that she is “pimping” herself, and that she is also essentially being her own whore?
I find it problematic when Natalie says she is turning her virginity into “something that allows her to gain power and opportunity from men”. I don’t think it makes sense to assume that because she receives an incredible sum of money for sex one time (or even several) she is going to have either power over men or power within our society as a whole. In reality, I think she’s going to get a bunch of money this one time, for something that she will never have again, and afterwards she will be immortalized as “the woman who auctioned off her virginity”. (and that’s probably one of the nicest things she’ll be called) Once the deed is done, she’ll no longer have this “prize” to sell to anyone else, she’ll be a non-virgin, like the majority of society. Unlike most of society, however, she won’t be turning in her V-card quietly, she’ll be known, very publicly, for selling her body for money. Even though she’s getting a very substantial amount of money, I feel that that’s the only positive thing she’ll end up with out of this.
I also feel strongly that this enterprise will effect how she is later viewed in the academic and professional world. By participating (very openly, no less) in prostitution, and doing something that is frowned upon and viewed as immoral, radical, and definitely illegal by society as a whole, her future reputation as a scholar and a professional is probably already tainted. Also, because she’s sold herself for money this one time, who’s to say that later more men aren’t going to try to proposition her for sex? What will she do then? How will she feel if after completing a post-graduate education, men are treating her like a call-girl? And if it was okay this time, what‘s to stop her from doing it again?
It also bewilders me that it has come to this for her financially. Looking at her (and even her sister as they appear on The Tyra Show) she does not seem like a girl who wants for anything. Higher education is expensive, but why a smart woman would turn to this sincerely puzzles me, especially since I am doubtful that she is in any especially difficult financial situation that most college and grads students aren’t in.
The last thing I find puzzling about this matter, and perhaps the very most confusing, is why any person, sane or insane, would be willing to pay over three million dollars for sex? It’s a given that virgins are valued and sought after in many societies, including ours, but is sex with anyone ever worth more money than some people see in their entire lifetimes? That amount of money is a very incredible chunk of change. Really, I am quite interested in the man who is willing to spend that much money for a one time sexual encounter. As much as you may want to criticize Natalie for what she is doing, the men who are buying into this (quite literally) deserve partial responsibility, as well. While I don't agree with what this particular woman is choosing to do, I think any men involved need to be held just as accountable.
"Natalie Dylan and the World's Most Expensive Hymen" Global Comment, Jan19, 2009. http://globalcomment.com/2009/natalie-dylan-and-the-worlds-most-expensive-hymen/
"Why I'm selling my Virginity" By Natalie Dylan, The Daily Beast, Jan 23, 2009.
Natalie Dylan appears on the Tyra Banks show. Dec 07, 2008