Cross-posted at Jezebel.
Tila Tequila has become famous through the strategic display of her culturally-idealized face and body. A quick Google image search reveals as much:
Her success and celebrity suggests that Tequila has managed to negotiate with sexism such that she, by capitulating to the male gaze, wins. But the idea that it is ever possible to successfully maneuver around patriarchy is challenged by Tequila’s most recent court battle. Nearly seven years ago she and her then-boyfriend filmed themselves having sex. Her ex is now threatening to release this sex tape against Tequila’s will. Tequila went to court to get an injunction against the tape’s release, but the judge denied her request, arguing that “Tila exploits her sexuality” anyway.
Tequila’s exploitation of her own sexuality (or, more accurately, her sex appeal), apparently, gives everyone else the right to exploit her sexuality, too. This is what it means to live in a society in which women are second-class citizens, specifically, the “sex class.” Women’s bodies are public property. Women are supposed to display them in public for men’s pleasure. If they do not, they lose: they are dykes, bitches, and ugly, fat, feminazi cunts. If they do, they lose.
Thanks to Stephanie Hallett at Ms. magazine for the tip.Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.