Footnotes to a Scandal


This post is about a leaked sex video of a well-loved, powerful figure in Pinoy Rock and his artista-search girlfriend.

Call me a prude but I feel uncomfortable about the idea of internet sex scandals. It’s the same feeling I get when I hear torrid secrets about someone. I feel like I’m violating the privacy of living, breathing people who I might bump into in the mall one of these days. But that’s just me. I understand why people get a certain thrill peeking into someone’s private moments. What more if the video features someone who is immensely cool?

 But this post is not about how right or wrong the existence of the video is, it’s about how people reacted to said video.

I heard about the video from a friend over a plate of longsilog. He shared how his “rocker” friends felt about the scandal. They felt upset that this highly respected figure, not only got robbed of his laptop, but also of his dignity. They felt no sympathy, however, for the girl. Slut-shaming words got passed around the lunch table. My friend did not say whether he shared his friends’ opinions. But, by repeating their sympathies, you can guess how he felt about it.

“Why?” I had to ask.

Our lunch party, most of which had watched the video, reasoned that it was she who did all the work. Another round of slut-shaming, please.

After being gobsmacked for a good two minutes, I tried to sound as light-hearted as everyone did about the scandal. “I’d be sad if I did all the work and my man just lay there.”

Someone had to joke “I salute the guy for having his girl do all the necessary work.”

Once again –me —  gobsmacked.  MUST.  REMIND. MYSELF. These are my friends. I know them to be highly intelligent people who have established a career in an egalitarian working environment. This is 2013, not 1952. I could not think of a word to say.

Would it be different if the guy was not the pop-rock superstar of the last 10-20 years (and more years to come, I bet)? Would it be different if she were not a reality show starlet that I’ve never heard of until now? Maybe yes, maybe no. But this sounds eerily familiar to how husbands merely raise eyebrows when they cheat… but wives raise hell when they do. Power breeds reverence. The powerful can do no wrong.

Should we feel bad for these celebrities who got exposed? Sure. Should we call them stupid for keeping that video in an easily-nicked-away laptop, therefore, in effect, exposing themselves? Should we point the finger, instead, to the person who uploaded the video on Facebook. Sure. Maybe.  Who am I to judge?

If we are to feel scorn or sympathy towards the people involved, wouldn’t it be fair to pour it equally on both the male and female stars of the video? After all, (pardon the cliché) it takes two to tango. She’s not just some groupie or a one-night stand. As it turns out, she’s his girlfriend. They were having sex just like millions of other couples do.

 I’m not super worried about the public life of the couple (their private life may be a completely different story) A sex video has not hurt someone’s popularity in the long run. In some cases, it may even boost it. (Hello Maricar? Hello Hayden? Hello Kim Kardashian?) His music will still be as awesome and his band popular in the many years to come.

 I’m more worried about us. How we expose ourselves by making “harmless” jokes and comments about famous and distant people.

 I don’t exactly blame my friends for making such comments.  They were said in jest over a nice lunch group date. It’s not easy to break off from a patriarchal society where boys will be boys, but girls who initiate and enjoy sex are always sluts. We were all raised to think that way.

Sorry if I sound preachy. I hate it when I take things way too seriously, but living in a patriarchal chauvinistic society is no joke.

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