The thirteen-year-old camgirl

An article was published recently by a woman who was a camgirl at age 13. She describes the experience as her choice and a way of freely exploring her own sexuality. The only negative part of this experience, as she describes it, was the reaction of the people around her, who shamed her for it while letting her male viewers off the hook. The way the author describes this story stays in line with the dominant sexual narrative we are seeing among liberals. Girl “discovers her own sexuality” by performing for the male gaze, some uptight prudes “slut-shame” her, and she goes on to fight for the right of girls to perform for the male gaze without being shamed for it. (Also see: Slutwalk.) This analysis specifically leaves out the sources of the problem: the girl was groomed into this behavior by porn culture, and porn culture is maintained by capitalist patriarchy. Porn culture benefits men and male power by training girls to perform for men sexually so that girls and women think they are making their own choice when they are doing exactly what men want. This narrow focus on the choices that girls and women make is a deliberate way to avoid naming patriarchy as a problem.

Liberal women who write these kinds of articles often inadvertently leave little clues as to the real source of the problem within the article. McArdle gave us some information about the grooming she experienced before becoming a cam girl, although she doesn’t name it as such. She first started looking at pornography at the age of 9, and she started getting sexually harassed by men at age 11. She makes an interesting comment here: “I was aware not only of my own sexual desires but also the desires of others.” Now, when you are eleven years old and you are aware of the sexual desires of male harassers, that’s an obvious problem. Eleven year old girls should actually NOT be aware of the sexual desires of the men around them.

Girls are trained right from childhood to understand that our primary purpose is to be pretty and pleasing to boys and men, and that we should measure our self-worth in terms of how pretty and pleasing we can succeed in being. When pornography went mainstream, the sexualization got much worse. We now have an entire popular culture that looks exactly like soft-core pornography, and that means hard-core pornography has to keep raising the bar to new levels of degradation in order to differentiate itself from all the other media. Everywhere we look, from television, movies, music videos, to magazines, advertising and fashion, girls and women appear as sexualized objects for the male gaze. We are presented as perpetually sexually available and eager to please male consumers, and girls pick up on these messages.

The 13 year old camgirl started watching porn at age 9. It did not horrify her; instead it aroused her. After being trained to see soft-core porn as normal in popular culture, it is easier for someone to find hard-core pornography sexy, even though it is not friendly toward women. Once a child starts watching porn, that’s when the real grooming begins. The main theme of pornography is a sexually experienced man initiating or corrupting an innocent girl. The female bodies that are celebrated in porn are young bodies, usually teenagers who are made to appear even younger than 18. A nine year old girl viewing these images does not have the social criticism skills to understand that what she is looking at are the fantasies of sex offenders being acted out on real women who are often coerced into it. She is simply curious to find out what it looks like when people have sex, and this is what she sees because these are the images that pornographers create. She sees young women with small, hairless bodies performing in a way that pleases men, and she understands that this is what sex is. She is aroused simply because images of people nude and engaging in sexual acts can be arousing, despite the fact that there is sexism involved. She may not see the sexism, because sexism is everywhere around her, so it is difficult to see and analyze.

By the time she turned 13, McArdle had been groomed by pornography for four years already. Some of the lessons she learned are that teenage girls have the best bodies, that exhibitionism is sexy, and that sex consists of women performing for men. All teens are insecure about who they are and looking for validation. It can feel exhilarating and wonderful to receive the validation from your peers that you are indeed hot, sexy, and fuckable, as you have been taught you should be. The young woman who has been groomed by porn culture feels pleasure and satisfaction in knowing that her body is what men want. She won’t understand until she is older that this approval she is receiving from boys and men is superficial and fleeting, and does not represent any real respect for her as a person. These boys and men who approve of her looks would be quite happy to abuse and mistreat her, and she doesn’t see that yet.

When she began camming for her peers at 13, it felt like her own choice. No one was directly forcing her to do it. However, the culture that she grew up in ensured that the conditions were just right for her to make this particular decision.

McArdle claims she was freely exploring her own sexuality. I would like to propose that if a person is freely exploring their own sexuality, then there is no need for anybody else to know about it. Your own sexuality is what makes you feel good; it is what sorts of touch feels good on your body and what sorts of fantasies turn you on. If performing in order to arouse another person is your own sexuality, I think what you’re saying is that your sexuality is not for you, it’s for your audience. Your sexuality is based on what pleases others, rather than what pleases you. We aren’t seeing any boys and men claiming that their sexuality is for other people’s benefit, we are only seeing girls and women making this claim. Boys and men know their sexuality is for themselves. The girl or woman who thinks that her sexuality is for men’s benefit will find it normal when her boyfriend uses her body to achieve orgasm but does not care about giving her the same pleasure. Women are supposed to feel pleasure at the idea of giving men pleasure, rather than fulfilling our own bodies’ desires.

When McArdle was caught by parents, she was made to feel ashamed for what she had done. The reaction from her own parents, as she describes it, was anger, disgust and disappointment. The reaction from her peers was to ostracize her. This is a very common response. Although our culture teaches girls to behave in this manner, when they do, they are punished. Nobody looks at the social forces causing this, they only punish the girl. They look at her individual behavior instead of looking at the social system. Her parents should have directed their anger toward the pornographers who groomed their daughter into this behavior. They should direct their disappointment toward capitalist patriarchy, because guess what? The pornographic pop-up ad she clicked on at nine years old was legally placed there with the express purpose of luring internet users onto pornographic web sites. It was placed there by businessmen who were engaging in the normal business practice of advertising their product in order to reach new customers. They do not care if their new customers are nine year old girls. In capitalism, anything at all is acceptable if it makes money. There is no regard for what is good for the human community or the environment. Parents should try being upset with the fact that there is a multi-billion dollar industry that sells images of girls and women being sexually abused and that the businessmen who benefit from this operation are legally allowed to advertise to their young children via Internet ads. Instead of directing anger at the children who are groomed by these predators, let’s challenge the porn industry.

The 13 year old camgirl should not feel guilty or ashamed of herself. It is not her who committed a wrong. A wrong was committed against her, and it continues to be committed against all girls and women. As long as it’s socially acceptable for businesses to engage in unethical/misogynist practices, and as long as men have social power over women, we will keep seeing these kinds of things happening. I blame the system of capitalist patriarchy, not the choices of girls who are caught in the system.

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7 thoughts on “The thirteen-year-old camgirl

  1. This. Right here. A young girl is groomed by an abuser, and then shamed for ‘acting out’ what she has learned is ‘normal’ and ‘acceptable.’ This is a main reason why abuse victims don’t speak out…we are shamed and blamed when we do so.
    😦

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Horrible. Those parents ought to ask themselves how it is possible that their daughter accessed pornography at the tender age of 9, or had a webcam. Responsible parents would not have allowed that to happen.
    People seem to forget that thirteen year old girls are children. Children who are not yet capable of making informed decisions, because they do not know how the world works. Teenagers would do anything to get attention.
    Of course she’d feel shamed, too, if the parents just explained to her that they are worried about her wellbeing and don’t want her to continue doing this – much like adult “sex workers” accusing feminists of “whorephobia” – but to blame a child for doing what porn culture tells her to do … just horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am reminded of late 90’s Jenny Jones “My Teen Daughter is Out of Control” episodes by this article. Really? Will shaming your daughter on TV solve the problem?

    But who I really wanted to see were the dudes going after these teens. Yes, expose them, let them talk. That’s a much more interesting story than shaming a 13-yo.

    Like

      • Maybe I should have said “important” rather than “interesting”. But really, shaming a teen or preteen girl? Not that interesting except for a few dudes watching and many more women who want to pat themselves on the back for escaping patriarchy’s severest trap.

        So let’s see the DUDES. Let them speak. Their words will hang them.

        Like

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