Virginity Auctions and the Freedom to be Bought


Photo via Independent.co.uk

Some people say that a woman’s virginity is an extraordinary gem worth protecting and saving. Some would say a woman’s virginity is a virtuous gift from God. Some would say that a woman’s virginity is simply priceless.

Others would say it’s worth at least 400,000 bucks.

That’s where a 27-year-old medical student is setting her opening bid when she puts her virginity on auction April 1st of this year. Going by the alias ‘Elizabeth Raine’, she’s 97.7% sure she’ll be selling come time the auction starts and, in the process, she is leaving this writer in a profound state of confusion.

It’s not the auction itself though, that is nothing new. Online virginity auctions have been gaining traction since 2005 after Graciela Yataco put her virginity up to pay her mother’s medical bills.

Some of them even go through with it.

What really started to pique my interest was her motives. Her website is well-developed and articulated, she even went through the expense of getting an agent for the endeavor. “I am not under the slightest bit of financial pressure and instead view this to be a practical financial opportunity” she wrote on her website’s homepage. Unlike past stories like this, she’s not acting out of necessity and she’s not doing it for publicity, (she’s hidden her identity, save for the winner of the auction). She’s doing it because she put thought into it and felt that, “the potential sums involved are too large to be dismissed.” And views this as a chance to marginally improve her life while undertaking a new exciting adventure.

In short, she’s doing it because she wants to.
And in truth, who can judge? If this woman wants to auction her virginity and there’s a market of willing consumers, who are we to stand in her way? In fact it would seem downright un-American to oppose an entrepreneur looking to make a profit as well as gain a unique life experience. The real question I’m left with is why is this such a reasonable undertaking? See, I’m sure all of you reading have an opinion one way or another on Elizabeth Raine’s decision to sell her virginity-

But I doubt any of you think she’ll fail.
Come April 1st, people will be bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars (perhaps more), all for the opportunity to have sex with an inexperienced woman they’ve never met before. Sounds crazy doesn’t it? But that’s the value our society has on a woman and her sexual inexperience.

With cultural sayings like, “taking someone’s virginity” and “deflowering” it’s clear that even though a woman’s virginity belongs to the woman, we have viewed it as an item for men to take. I remember in High School listening to my peers proudly exaggerating tales of all the ‘v-cards’ they had claimed in their many sexual conquests (Of course, overly sheltered Tony thought these girls were literally giving cards away after they slept with these boys).  But this is our culture; a woman is viewed as a symbol of purity and morality until she loses her innocence to a man.

Then she’s just like the rest of us.

But why hasn’t this changed? Why are the mainstream ideas around women and virginity as archaic as the idiotic paranoia found in ‘reefer madness’? Tradition still holds us all in a death grip, preventing any kind of full perception-shaping. We still have our brides dress in the ‘pure’ white to be “given away” by their fathers. Because despite the strides we’ve taken towards gender equality, virginity is still all about ownership.

The typical American wedding via Weddingsbylilly.com

But Elizabeth doesn’t share this strange notion of putting a woman’s virginity on a pedestal, “it pleases me to view my virginity as a small feat of social rebellion.” she stated on a written interview for her website. And to this I thought, bravo! It’s about time we reassessed our tired old views on a woman’s sexuality. However the more I thought about it, the more the idea began to feel…incomplete.

Is this social rebellion? Is Elizabeth Raine finding a new source of feminine power while she embarks on this lucrative journey? By putting a price on her virginity she is reclaiming ownership of it; instead of saving it for a man to ‘take’ she’s selling it for herself. By bidding, the men would have to accept Miss Raine’s sense of value for her virginity and herself. On her blog she revealed that she won’t necessarily have sex with the highest bidder, placing her own feelings of safety and respect above simply making the most money. So really she holds all of the cards here and the bidders just have to hope they’ve got a good wallet and better character.

The only issue is that her rebellion is made on the foundation of the very societal norms she’s come to detest. Sure she’s the overseer of her own auction, but it’s still an auction. The competitive nature will have men competing through their finance, (as has often been the case through the years) to be the special one she shares her first time with. Not because they care about the woman, but because they want her virginity. Ideals aside, her attempts to challenge some of our culture’s ideals have seemingly affirmed others.

Elizabeth Raine may be making a statement against society by playing the game at her table, but she’s still playing by their rules.

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