Monday, February 22, 2010

Kim Krawiec on selling virginity

Kim Krawiec has a post commenting on recent news stories and linking to a new paper: Like A Virgin? We Sell That Here!

"A few days ago, an anonymous 19-year-old New Zealand student offered her virginity to the highest bidder on the Web site under the name "Unigirl," saying she would use the money to pay for her tuition. According to Unigirl, more than 30,000 people have viewed her ad and over 1,200 made bids before she accepted a $32,000 offer. Story from NPR. (HT: Tonja Jacobi)
Though the story is creating a ruckus, including international press, the attention pales in comparison to that bestowed on the very similar story of “Natalie Dylan,” a pseudonym adopted by a 22-year old UC San Diego graduate who auctioned her virginity on the website of the Moonlight Bunny Ranch, a Carson City brothel, in January of 2009 in order to foot the bill for graduate research in women’s studies. In contrast to Unigirl’s paltry returns, Dylan reportedly received over 10,000 bids, the highest of which was $3.8 million, receiving both condemnation and praise in the auction process. Critics have argued that she is degrading herself and women generally, risks exporting Nevada’s poor morals to the rest of the country, and is selling something (virginity) for profit that should be cherished and freely given.
In an article I posted to SSRN over the weekend, A Woman’s Worth, I consider the reactions to Dylan’s virginity auction plan and the possible motivations underlying those reactions. What drives the attention and controversy generated by the Dylan auction? What are the perceived harms associated with Dylan’s actions, and in what ways are they greater than the harms associated with similar common activities? "

And here's the abstract to her paper on SSRN:

A Woman's Worth
Kimberly D. Krawiec Duke University - School of LawFebruary 6, 2010 North Carolina Law Review, Forthcoming

Abstract: This Article examines three traditionally “taboo trades”: (1) the sale of sex, (2) compensated egg donation, and (3) commercial surrogacy. The article purposely invokes examples in which the compensated provision of goods or services (primarily or exclusively by women) is legal, but in which commodification is only partially achieved or is constrained in some way. I argue that incomplete commodification disadvantages female providers in these instances, by constraining their agency, earning power, and status. Moreover, anticommodification and coercion rhetoric is sometimes invoked in these settings by interest groups who, at best, have little interest in female empowerment and, at worst, have economic or political interests at odds with it.

Keywords: Sex Work, Virginity, Prostitution, Oocyte Donation, Sperm Markets, Surrogacy, Medical Marijuana

See also her related post Chicago Students Have All the Fun

1 comment:

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3.8 Million for virginity ? must be crazy for men. hahaha.