An Open Letter To Dumb Sluts (Updated)

Yesterday, Mary Elizabeth Williams wrote an open letter on Broadsheet to all the "celebrities" who appear in leaked sex tapes. Short version: You are all dumb sluts.

She begins:

Today's revelation that Hustler is releasing a 75-minute opus of "Real Housewives" star Danielle Staub doing the nasty is just the latest in a genre that wore out its welcome long before Dustin Diamond popularized the Dirty Sanchez. At this point, if you're a contestant on "Survivor," ever ran for president or have the name "Kardashian," we just assume there's a video out there of you making your O face. And our fatigue from your narcissism has actually finally won out over mere prurient curiosity.

Believe us, when it comes to the getting on of anyone's freak, we give a really wide berth. But call us cynical, we just can't shake the suspicion that what was once a private, loving act between an aspiring model and an aspiring DJ has now become something else-the pilot for a new Bravo series. Spare us the outrage at how you feel sooooo betrayed, how you have no idea how this could have fallen into the wrong hands. At least Jesse James admitted that, deep down, he wanted to get caught. This whole pretext of "I didn't really make and distribute my own little porno here" so you can give the public something that appears furtive and dirty and secret while still showing off how weird you look in night vision? Enough. And if you are actually dumb enough to make a sex tape and think it won't get leaked, you are too dumb to ever have sex again.

Allow me to translate for all the dumb sluts reading along here: You were asking for it. You saaaay you don't want the sex tape of your boyfriend coercing you into making a sex tape revealed to millions of downloaders, but we know better. You say no, but you mean yes. And if you can't figure even that much out-well, you're a dumb slut, after all.

We would like to just let this slide, but it turns out that your dumb sluttiness is getting veeeeery, very inconvenient for us sex bloggers out there in the business of covering dumb sluts. This business: Let me tell you, it is rough. We are routinely chained to our laptops and forced to watch Dustin Diamond, Kim Kardashian, various Survivors, and all manner of one-time political candidates pretend to not want us to be watching them do it, and then pen Internet posts detailing our displeasure with this scenario. We tolerated this, for a time. But now: A Real Housewife? For 75 minutes? This, it is too much to bear.

Perhaps you are wondering whether people who are tired of being forced to watch celebrity sex tapes are actually just too stupid to use the Internet? And to that we say: Quiet, dumb sluts. We are very busy judging you right now.

There may have been a time, long ago in the Tommy and Pam era, when simultaneous horniness and access to technology was a novelty. And there are no doubt still many, both in the celebrity spotlight and here among the rabble, who just want to mix it up a little in the bedroom now and again. There's no shame in wanting to watch yourself blow your boyfriend, I suppose. As far as attention-getting ploys go, though, the sex tape makes going out without your underpants look downright classy.

Of course, there are exceptions. There's "no shame," we suppose, in making a videotape of yourself having sex, as long as you ensure that your last name never becomes famous, you never run for office, you never appear on television, and you never participate in any beauty pageant. There's no shame in it, as long as you never attend middle school. There's no shame, as long as you never blog about sex-just like us dumb sluts. But if visual imagery of you engaging in sex ever comes anywhere near the periphery of possible Salon blog topics-well, prepare for a thorough public shaming. It's a long, lonely road, shame: We will not also be shaming the ex who leaked the tape without your consent, nor the porn company that's profiting from it. The dumb sluts will have to go it alone on this one. If you're lucky, you'll be joined by people who do not wear underwear. There's a special place in hell for both of you.

As a friend pondered recently: What happened to the eroticism of imagination? Whether you're a Real Housewife or just plain folk, a transitory adventure, with no record beyond the smile you just can't wipe off whenever you remember it, can be pretty goddamn awesome. And if ever there were a moment to stop self-promoting, to worry less about how cool this looks and more about how nice it feels, that'd be while you're doing it.

And where would a good round dumb-slut-shaming be without an Andy Rooney moment to cap it off? Sex was just better in the good old days, before some dumb slut got her hands on a video camera. Of course, there's always the possibility that you dumb sluts aren't videotaping yourself each and every time you have sex, that you're not all ignorant to the peculiar pleasures of sex with the lens cap on, and that you're actually quite aware of how nice sex feels. If so . . . Well. It looks like you're even sluttier than we thought.

Mary Elizabeth Williams responds: "I guess I don't think it's fresh or different to totally misrepresent another writer's words. Mine wasn't a story about 'sluts' — Amanda twisted it into one. I've been an editor at an adult magazine, I've written extensively about feminism and sexuality and my own sex life, I posed nude in a magazine just this year. "Slut" is not a word I toss around lightly — unlike, apparently, Amanda. And in my thesaurus, 'dumb, 'narcissistic,' and 'slutty' aren't cross referenced."

Photo via makelessnoise, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

This post originally appeared on The Sexist. Republished with permission.

An Open Letter To Dumb Sluts (Updated)

The author of this post can be contacted at ahess@washingtoncitypaper.com.