• Sex

An Open Letter To The Parents Of SlaneGirl, The Teen Who Gave Blowjobs At The Eminem Concert & Got Slutshamed Across The Internet

Who Is Slanegirl?
slanegirl eminem concert blowjob
She's an Irish teenager photographed giving blowjobs at a concert. Read More »
Be Sex Positive!
Eight ways to be positive you're sex positive. Read More »
On Slutshaming
It's about controlling women through guilt and shame. Read More »
open letter
slanegirl gives blowjob at eminem concert

Dear The Parents Of SlaneGirl,

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had this week about your daughter. You know her as a baby girl you brought into the world 17 years ago. The Internet knows her as SlaneSlut or SlaneGirl. This week, her full name and photographs of her performing oral sex on two different men at an Eminem concert made their way around the world. They were posted on every social media site you can think of and shared repeatedly (with little regard to the fact your daughter is under 18 and the images technically constitute child pornography). The two young fellas she fellated have mostly enjoyed high fives from the universe. But your daughter? She’s been called a slut, a whore, a dumb bitch — every stinging slur in the book. She was hospitalized this week from from her reaction to all this negative attention.

When I’ve been thinking about your daughter, I’ve really been thinking about you — her parents.  I’ve been thinking about what I would do or say if I were in your shoes, about you could possibly have to say to her about all this.

I don’t think anyone really needs to explain to you, or your daughter, that what these young adults did was stupid on several different levels.  They were engaging in sex acts in public, at a concert, when everyone surrounding them is carrying cameraphones and linked to several social media accounts. It probably took less than five sections hit “upload” and change all three of these kids’ lives forever. Furthermore, they could have gotten caught by police or security and kicked out of the concert under the best of circumstances. I’m not familiar with Irish law, but my educated guess is that performing sex act in public is illegal and they all could have walked away with indecency charges. There’s no doubt that what they did was legally wrong. They’re all guilty of bad judgment for doing it in public.

But what they’re not guilty of —what your daughter is not guilty of — is doing it. That a 17-year-old girl gives blowjobs  — that your daughter is a “slut” — shouldn’t be a surprise. Anyone who is actually surprised that teenagers are having oral sex needs to wash the sand out of their ears. (One particular Frisky blog comment sticks out in my mind: the commenter was more appalled by the fact that SlaneGirl has given blowjobs to two different men rather than the fact she chose to polish these people’s knobs in public.)  Perhaps this fact is uncomfortable to sit with. And while you may not want to hear this, but your daughter is actually a normal teenager.

Certain rules about sexuality dictate your daughter’s life. She’s expected to LOOK sexy and sexual and be desirable by men and boys alike. But she’s also not to supposed to BE sexual. She’s supposed have an air of sexual knowledgability and an enticement to young men around her, but not actually seek out sex or enjoy it too much.  Your daughter exists in a world where corporate overlords compelled pop stars like Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears to trumpet their virginity and talk about waiting until marriage while writhing onstage in hot pants and cone bras, singing “Oh pretty baby, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do.”  Your daughter exists in a world where public school systems teach abstinence-only in sexual health classes while TV shows like “16 & Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” are some of the most popular on television. For young women like your daughter, sexual experience is standard they’re supposed to live up to, but it’s also a taboo. That is the truth of your daughter’s life.

Our society has a rather paternalistic attitude towards sex. I don’t doubt that you yourselves are being blamed as crappy parents, the father particularly for not “watching” his daughter. We enforce these ideas that sexuality in young women needs to be caged and suppressed.  Some of that paternalism, problematic as it may be, is well-meaning: none of us want to see young people, either men or women, do “things” they don’t actually want to do. But the truth is I don’t know whether your daughter actually enjoys giving oral sex.   Unless your daughter was completely wasted, blackout drunk and therefore incapable of consenting, she was aware that she was going down on these dudes in public and was probably lapping it up (no pun intended). She was aware other people were standing around her watching and, perhaps, photographing her. She wanted to be looked at.  She wanted, on some level, to be seen as sexual and get attention for it.

The rest of the world isn’t going to agree with me on this, but I’m telling you THAT IS TOTALLY OKAY. Your daughter isn’t supposed to enjoy sex, pursue sex, be sexual, or enjoy getting attention for her sexuality — as she learned all too harshly this week. But the key phrase here is that she wanted it “on some level” — and only your daughter knows what that level is. Only your daughter can say whether she’s seeking out sexual attention  because she wants to be desired by guys. Only she can say whether that’s where most of her self-esteem comes from. Only she can say whether she feels like young guys care more about her as a blowjob-giver than a student or an artist or a kind person. Only she can say whether she feels ultimately good about what she was doing or what she’s done before.  What I’m telling you is that as your parents — and us as a larger  society— we need to be accepting of the fact that she just might have fucking loved it.

As someone who was herself a 17-year-old girl not too, too long ago, I remember this I’m-not-supposed-to-like-this-but-I-do! duality well. (And I can’t tell you how many adult fantasies have been fueled by playing with that “bad girl” shame. But I digress.)  No one talked to me about my own sexuality other than a few health classes about how babies get made and birth control. I was horny as shit and curious. Around 14 or 15, I bought my first vibrator and learned how to give myself orgasms. Throughout high school, I was easily very sexual aroused and loved making out with lots of different boys. Even though I only started performing and receiving oral sex from a boyfriend, and lost my virginity with that same boyfriend,  I had a “slut” reputation in my peer group because of how much I had liked and pursued  hooking up compared to the other girls.

I had to learn how not to give a fuck what other people think or say about me. (And I’m still learning.) But I’ll be frank: I liked the attention, just like your daughter apparently does. My self-esteem wasn’t hinged on the attention — I was a star student at school, involved in a bunch of school activities, etc. — but I really liked standing out rather than blending in.  I stood out not as a “slut,” per se, but as someone who owned her sexuality in an age group when I was supposed to be as virginal and inexperienced as Britney Spears claimed to be. The attention that came from being a sexual teenaged girl, both positive and negative, only reinforced how sex was taboo — and fun!  I didn’t understand slutshaming then and I don’t understand it now: I felt more like I was the one who had things figured out — sex is fun, we should do it if we want to do it, and if you’re bottled up about your sexuality or ashamed of it, that’s your problem.

The problem here, as I see is, is that your daughter and the two men crossed over from “taboo” to crime. That was dumb, but I struggle to see how it’s worth such a fuss. Perhaps that’s because I’m  not always proud of the way that I behaved as a teen either. For example, I once took off all my clothes and streaked at a party. I’m embarrassed about having done that! I have topless photos floating around. But I’m still a happy and functional adult, as I hope your daughter will grow to be as well. Besides, who amongst us can say we’re proud of everything we did in our teens?  The truth is your daughter, and I, never hurt anyone materially or emotionally. If giving a couple blowjobs at a concert is the worst thing your daughter ever does as a teenager, you should consider yourself lucky.

The truth is that other people’s condemnatory reactions to my sexuality said more to me about them than it did about me; the same is true for your daughter as well. I’m sure you’ve seen the comments where your daughter is called a slut  in one breath and invited to come over in another breath. That’s  hypocrisy and misogyny.  I most certainly don’t care if anyone else, girl or boy or something else entirely, decides to have sex — lots of sex, no sex at all, gay sex, kinky sex, it doesn’t matter. Sex would be a lot more fun for us all if there weren’t so much shame and judgment attached to it.

It’s been a rough week for you and your daughter.  I can’t imagine what any of you are going through. But takeaway from SlaneGirl shouldn’t be that she’s a slut.  It shouldn’t be that sex is bad, or that giving blowjobs is bad, or that giving blowjobs to multiple people is bad (although it most certainly is not safe). She and her two male compadres made some spectacularly bad choices by having sex in public. But whether we want to accept it or not, your daughter is a reflection of us and the position we put young, sexual women in: right now, there’s no way to win.

Sincerely,

Jessica Wakeman

Follow me on Twitter. Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com.

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