Once again I have a new post at Global Comment
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.
We live in a sexist patriarchal world and while this may seem liberating in that Natalie is wilfully 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.
Men are not valued for their bodies, they are valued for what they produce economically; whereas a woman’s worth is intrinsically tied to her ability to sexually titillate and produce offspring. The vagina becomes the sole measurement of a woman’s worth, often obscuring the ways she provides value to her community and family.