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Girls Gone Wild Can Strip You Without Your Consent

In 2005 a woman goes to a bar, planning to drink and party.  Turns out the "Girls Gone Wild" video team is there.  Signs are posted.  However, she refuses to sign the consent form.  If there is a more clear way to signal "I do not consent" than refusing to sign a consent form, I can't think of it.

As she's dancing, the video camera is moving through the crowd.  As she turns away from the camera, a hand reaches out from behind it and pulls off her shirt. 

She says "No no no no," pulls it back up, and turns away.  Again - that's a pretty clear sign of not giving consent.  Saying "no" and putting your top back on.  

But somehow she ends up on the Girls Gone Wild tape anyway.  And when she sues?  The jury finds in favor of Girls Gone Wild.


Incidentally, there is a lot of talk of "the hand" or "a hand."  One article identifies it as a female hand.  I have seen the footage (thanks to - choke - Fox News) and it looks to me like:

A)    A male hand
B)    The hand of the person holding the camera.  In other words, the Girls Gone Wild cameraman.

The phrase that's getting thrown around a lot - including by the reprehensible Fox News anchor guy in that clip - is "implied consent."

Now, I agree that sometimes it's difficult to know whether or not consent has been implied.  In this case, people are arguing that she implied consent because there were signs posted at the bar that the Girls Gone Wild crew would be there.  The signs did not say "We may pull down your top, and by being here you agree to that."  The signs did not say "All your nudity is belong to us."  

A lot of this rests on slut shaming.  She's blonde and pretty and wearing a low-cut top, and in a bar dancing with a drink in her hand.  So obviously she deserved it.  In the words of the "Fox News Analyst," she implied consent by "jiggling those breasts around."  So of course she consented.  Heck, she asked for it.  She probably wanted it.  Why else would she have been there in the first place?

Sound familiar?  Yeah.  The same set of rationalizations are at work here as in rape cases.  I'm not saying that pulling down her top and filming it against her stated wishes (that pesky "No no no") is equivalent to rape.  But it does exist on the continuum of "unwanted sexual behavior."  

And it makes me wonder, how far do those little signs go?  What exactly do they cover?  If by staying in that bar she was implying consent to being forcibly stripped and filmed for commercial purposes, what else did she imply consent to?  What if that hand that reaches out from the camera pulled down her pants?  

For some reason, the fact that this case is about women and sex just throws logic out the window.  But I guess it's good to keep in mind that apparently a "We are filming" sign is equivalent to "We can strip you and sell the tape for profit."