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Natalie Dylan, what is the price to pay?

There has been a lot of recent controversy regarding Natalie Dylan. Dylan is a 22 year old female who plans on completing a master’s degree in Marriage and family therapy. However, what has sparked a great amount of controversy has been her decision to sell her virginity online. At first glance, I thought it was in a lot of ways immoral, but after reading through the articles, I realized that this brings up a lot of social issues and in the end may actually be somewhat beneficial to the woman activist movement.

The article “GlobalComment” noted that sex is something that is seen as empowering to men and degrading for women. In other words, men are praised for the number of sexual partners they have had, while women are looked down upon. This brings out a long debated issue that men are the one who supports financially the family, and the women are far less dominant in social standards. While I believe that society is attempting to move forward, this is still a big problem. Lindsey Riddell of the San Francisco Business Times noted that regarding CEOs, “a lot of women are opting out, more so now than they were 10 years ago.” In terms of the social ladder, society still seems to put women one step below men. Dylan is trying to change this by using her “virginity in to something that allows me to gain power and opportunity from men.” Even though her method is unorthodox (i.e. many women try to change the social status by having higher positions with their jobs), it may prove to be very effective. I am not saying that after she does this, every woman will go and sell their virginity, but it will cause a ripple through society. Word of this will make people (especially men) realize that society is underestimating them.

Many parallel this to prostitution. While there is an obvious similarity, the two ideas are not substantially related at all. The motives differ. Prostitution is intended as a last means for getting by (paying rent etc.), but Dylan’s act is a social experiment in many ways. She indeed does that need the money as a last resort. In my opinion, money may not even be the whole point of her experiment. She says that “the winning big won’t necessarily be the highest – I get to choose.” As noted earlier, the whole point is to expand her power and dominance in a society that readily does not think high of women.

As written in the article “GlobalComment,” sex can be judgmental at some times. In other words, just like any other issue, it is often unique in the eye of the beholder. Saying that society as a whole demean women in relation to sex provides only a general image. It does not account for the many who feel opposed to this. One person may say that sex is a situation where there is equal appreciation from the male and female. So it is not dominant in any way for males and females have an equal say in it as well. However, no one really takes much account into what an individual believes. They tend to stick to the crowd and worry what many others think. This is why people are worried about what society as a whole believes. There may be many others who believe Dylan is doing this to stretch her power, but society as a whole will believe that she is greedy and has no self respect for her body.

Dylan is attempting a social experiment, but the public have not had a good reaction. Selling her virginity online seemingly is degrading, and non appreciative of her body. But, a close examination will reveal that she is merely trying to improve the outlook of women in the society. This problem has plagued us for many generations, and Dylan is trying to kick start a rebellion against this. Many will view her actions with a keen eye, and notice that women are beginning to revolt against the current social ladder, where women are below men. Her act is not prostitution, but a means of empowering women in society.

Sources
http://globalcomment.com/2009/natalie-dylan-and-the-worlds-most-expensive-hymen/
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cgi-bin/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&id=175686&blog_id=9791&saved_added=1
http://sanfrancisco.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/stories/2008/09/15/focus2.html?b=1221451200^1699235


Comments

I don’t really agree with you on this being the next feminist movement. I mean if you really wanted to be sexually empowered or whatever, why wouldn’t you just wait and give it up to someone you love and care about dearly? And not to the highest bidder. And maybe doing that shows that she’s in the boys club or whatever, but frankly it’s idiotic. A response from one of the articles was, “For one simple reason: if you don’t like patriarchy, then don’t feed it!” and I completely agree. She’s feeding the double standard as the responder said. Natalie is being quite the opposite of a feminist and is putting herself out there for the man’s taking. Natalie said, “When I learned this, it became apparent to me that idealized virginity is just a tool to keep women in their place.” I actually have never thought this, the idea of having sex was always my decision, when I’m ready. I was never waiting for some man to make me an honest woman. And I’ve never really met any girl who has thought this, I think Natalie is strongly misguided with her intentions. I think she has a point that yeah woman are still unequal to men, but selling your virginity is not the solution, it’s feeding the problem, and quite possibly more degrading then if she had lost her virginity to some frat boy at a kegger. Because it’s quite likely that the guy who buys her, is just doing it for the media attention.

I like how you said that “sex is something that is seen as empowering to men and degrading for women.” Like Dylan said, in this situation, it is interesting to see who is actually in the more powerful position. Miss. Dylan, is actually the one with the power. She is choosing this for herself. No man told her what to do, but she is in fact picking the men. In addition she is increasing her empowerment by gaining the attention of the media and the attention of the public. She is the one in control of the situation. But in no way am I condoning this or saying that it is alright. I found it interesting how you defined prostitution as a last resort, to getting money. Since when are prostitutes only women who are desperate and will do anything to get by. I’m pretty sure prostitution is selling sex. There are many high end prostitutes that stay in the business because the money is so good. Either way, prostitution is wrong and illegal, and that is exactly what Miss. Dylan is doing, selling sex. I am concerned that this is what our society is coming to, that we are allowing prostitution. She may be calling it a social experiment, but deep down, what she is doing is illegal, and she shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

You bring up some very interesting points in regards to the article. The first comment you made that really peaked my interest was that this story was addressing major social issues in favor of women and is beneficial towards their movement for equality. I don't see how selling her body is going to gain respect for her fellow women? Is this not just a glorified sexual act? Her story is intriguing, never had sex and wanting to sell her virginity to pay for college. And you say that, "she is merely trying to improve the outlook of women in the society"? Wouldn't improving women's outlook be more effectively achieved if she were to work a job, intern, bartend, or find some other way to make ends meet? If there were a group of women that I believe should be look at as an important part of gaining equality it is single mothers. My mother, by any means necessary, found a way to take care of my sister and I and put us into a safe neighborhood and a solid school system. The idea this girl thought of to sell her virginity was an innovative one, but not a step towards equality in my eyes.

I have not checked in here for some time since I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess Iˇ¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)