Monday, July 03, 2006

Camilla saw the turkey slap coming. I am fascinated by the divergence in the coverage of the Big Brother sex scandal: according to the broadsheets it's an "alleged sexual assault" or a "sexual incident"; according to the denizens of bulletin boards and YouTube it's a "turkey slap". I'm not going to link to the video; you can google "big brother turkey slap" and you'll find it easily enough.

Although I still think Ashley and John's behaviour was calculatedly contemptuous and that they were deservedly kicked off the show, the video makes things considerably more ambiguous. Because Camilla saw the turkey slap coming.
Cammy, come over here.

Cam, come over here.

CAMILLA: (sounding excited)
What? What are you doing? (suddenly suspicious) You're not going to fart on me, are you?

Nup, better.

CAMILLA gets into bed between the two of them, giggling.

Lie down and shut your eyes.


Just lie down and shut your eyes.

What are you going to do? You're not going to turkey slap me, are you?

ASHLEY (laughing)

You are, you liars! Lemme in. (She gets under the covers.) I'll hurt you if you do. I'll bite it.
There's some general giggling between the three of them during and after the "incident". Immediately afterwards, Camilla protests "Heyyy!" and says something indignant and indistinct: "You boys..." Someone else across the room (Krystal?) says, "What happened?" and Camilla says, "I just got turkey slapped!" in the sort of voice you'd use for "I just got egged!"

The boys laugh raucously. Camilla lies back down.
I need a hand.

CAMILLA (sounding wounded)
No. You guys are mean to me.

It's funny, though.

CAMILLA (still wounded)
You're mean.
She sticks her hand under John's side of the bedclothes, but I don't think she is giving John quite the "hand" he's after, because at the same time she's saying in a stronger voice, "That was so mean," and he squeals, "Fuck off!"

The actions of these three people are being caught up in an external attribution of 'blame'. The mainstream media, including the Crider, trod the line that it was an unacceptable incident of sexual assault. So did many bloggers. Blog comments and bulletin boards, however, brought out the really repugnant people. (Jess has the best round-up at Ausculture, which, combined with the shutdown of the official Big Brother forums, brought all the spastics to her site.) These comments suggested, in their semi-literate way, that the incident was a joke that had been blown out of proportion, and even that Camilla had solicited and enjoyed it because she is "that sort" of woman. On the flipside, there has been disappointment and shock because Ashley and John weren't perceived as "that sort" of man.

It's troubling but not at all surprising that men and women still have preconceived sex roles. 'Slut' versus 'nice girl'; 'predator' versus 'gentleman'. As I've commented before, it's particularly troubling that women police these roles more than men, tending to think the best of men but the worst of other women. Personally, I was erring towards the view that the incident had bothered Camilla, too, but that she had tried to downplay it in the interests of making her life in the house easier. But then I saw the video.

Camilla is by far my favourite housemate and I totally want her to win, but after seeing the video, I am trying to avoid taking a stand on who is to "blame" for the "incident". Rather, I'm wondering what I'd do if caught in that scenario. I'd probably be caught between feeling pleased that I was being invited to interact with two people who'd previously indicated that they particularly didn't like me, and being suspicious that they were deliberately humiliating me.

I mean, if I'd spent the last week being sexually humiliated -- by my own drunken admission that I wanted to "pash Ash", by Ash's subsequent play for Claire, and by Big Brother's challenge to kiss the entire household in an hour -- I would welcome any vague gesture that I belonged. And if the gesture did turn out to be an unwelcome turkey slap, I'd feel so acutely humiliated that I would just want the whole thing to go away.

But that's just me.

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