What the Stampede Threesome Backlash Says About Our Backwards Views on Sex

by | July 15, 2015
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Sex

Photo of a statue of a man holding a cowboy hat, riding a horse

Last Tuesday, a video of a threesome at the Calgary Stampede was shared to Reddit. Deemed “The Greatest Show on Earth,” this tagline took on a new meaning as the video went viral with more than 230,000 views. The day-time parking-lot romp was recorded from a distance, seemingly on a cellphone and unbeknownst to those participating. However, while the men were congratulated and called “heroes,” the woman – who was later outed as Alexis Frulling – was labelled “nasty,” and a “slut.”

Since then, Alexis has seemingly tried to get the upper hand by doing a radio interview and posting her own video to battle the negative attention. Whether or not you believe she’s handling the situation correctly, we need to remember that there really is no manual to prepare a young woman for finding a sex tape of herself online.

People seem to think they have the right to film and share whatever they happen to see in public. This creates moral grey areas. Someone may think sharing a video of, say, a parent mistreating their child is the right thing to do, while another may think the video should simply go to the proper authorities. In this way, sharing footage can be helpful when exposing the truth about important matters such as parental abuse, police brutality or other larger-scale crimes. However, the majority of what we see posted online is put there to entertain us. And what’s the number one thing people love to talk about? Sex. Specifically involving young women.

When looking to find leaked videos of young women having sex, the internet is a goldmine. Whether these women were taken advantage of at a party, filming a sex tape for their eyes only or, in Alexis Frulling’s case, caught having a threesome in public, it’s all the same thing – people care deeply about destroying these women’s lives.

Sexism is so embedded in our culture that we actually believe these women deserve the negative attention and downright abuse they receive because of the actions they took to get there. But the thing that we seem to forget while watching these videos is that there are other people behind these actions: The men who were also having sex in the videos. The people who took the time to share or even film the videos. And the people who went out of their way to out these women to be shamed. Not to mention the thousands of people who later posted hurtful comments about these women, whom they knew nothing about.

While debating this issue online, I was repeatedly told that actions have consequences, and that by having sex in public Alexis forfeit the right to respect or privacy. That she should know better because we live in the digital age, where everything we do is free reign, since people have the ability to videotape it – as if we need to walk around aware that anybody could film anything we do at any time. Perhaps the issue of privacy is a deeper discussion for another day, but when it comes down to respect, we need to re-evaluate how we treat women in society.

When it comes to the digital age, consent seems to be given as soon as someone else can see what we’re doing. But let’s talk about the real issue here – why do people care so much about young women having sex?  I’ll admit right now that Alexis isn’t the only woman to have had sex in public – and thank god nobody filmed it and put it on the internet then.

People seem to think that if Alexis hadn’t tried to save face and drew more attention to herself online that people would be talking about it less – but the video was uploaded because there is an audience in the first place. We’ve become so desensitized to the act of disrespecting women online that we treat the victims in these situations as if they asked for it by simply being sexual beings. Sure, sex is an entertaining subject – but it’s still an intimate experience, whether it’s held in a nicely furnished bedroom or a bright parking lot.

Bottom line: We can’t control the fact that people have cellphones – but we can control whether or not we pull ours out. And we can especially control what we say about these women online. You could compare this to choosing not to, oh I don’t know – cat call a woman, hit a woman or rape a woman.

There will always be apologists saying that these women deserved it because they were wearing revealing clothing, aggravated their partners or drank too much, but it doesn’t dismiss the fact that these attacks on them were wrong. Filming a woman having sex, posting the video online and then shaming them for what they were doing is an attack. It doesn’t matter that they were in public or having a good time or didn’t seem to care if anyone saw – it’s a breach of their rights. You could say this is what the new war on women looks like.

There are always going to be people out there whose morals some disagree with – but that doesn’t mean by going out in public women are consenting to anything that happens to them. Instead of calling out women like Alexis for being a sexual being, we should be calling out those who are disrespectful towards women. Let’s take this example to create a shift of consciousness rather than perpetuate the same sexist beliefs we’ve been doing thus far.

Photo of Calgary Stampede statue by Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Calgary Stampede Sculpture 2Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


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  • daxecutioner

    Fight the good power yay, as if woman already don’t have everything.

  • youngexecutive

    Nope. If you have sex in public… you are indeed consenting to being filmed because that’s what public means. Feminist are evil and stupid and spoiled.

  • NHLfarmteams

    While it is shameful that people posted the video, having sex in public should not be accompanied by any sense that you have a right to privacy. What is the video was captured by an 11 year old girl? Does that change you skewed perspective? You should step out of your gender feminist worldview once in a while.