Here's my addition: it's not acceptable to slap someone in the face with your penis and call it a gag, irregardless of the dynamics of the show or the general exploitative nature of the whole Big Brother phenomenon. Last night's little chat with Gretel and the boys (which I only watched for about two minutes before I had to go and wash the urk off) emphasised that they were 'good people' and that it was a joke that got out of hand. What utter crap.
It reminds me of when I was in high school. I was chubby and awkward, and boys only tended to notice me to torment me. One summer afternoon just before school ended for the year, our class went to the pool for a free afternoon. I was standing at the shallow end, leaning with my back against a block, enjoying the warmth of the sun. One of the 'cool' boys in our class was standing on one of the other blocks and I barely noticed as he leaned over me. And stuck his hand straight down my swimmer top and made a joke about the size of my breasts.
I was horrified but all my friends started laughing at the hilarity of it all, and everyone felt it was a jolly good joke, especially as everyone knew he wasn't interested in fat, nerdy Kate. Of course I had no choice but to laugh it off.
The 'turkey slapping' incident with Big Brother contains the same mixture of adolescent male cruelty and the 'sexual' jokes, with, what I can gather, a girl who is not considered sexy (or wasn't by the men in the house). It's a complex mix and it makes me think of the Letterio Silvestri/Diane Brimble situation, in which a defense against claims of sexual assault is that women are unnattractive, and hence could never be raped/assaulted.
What John and Ash did to Camilla isn't sexual, because they're not interested in her sexually, it was just a joke, she knew it, etc etc. All of which is a complete fabrication, and bears no relationship to the way that sexual assault isn't actually about attraction at all: it's about power, and humiliation, and forcing someone weaker than you to do something they don't want to -- not about sexual desire. The flipside of this is the way women are shamed about rape: women are raped because they're asking for it, because they're too attractive and too sexy and men can't control themselves.
Beyond that of course I can't see it being the end of Big Brother and the ratings of the show have soared rather predictably. In my last post about marking the BB essays, one of the things I didn't write about was the issues of exploitation and 'consent' given in the context of the show. Can you really, as an individual, give full and knowledgable consent to be in a situation like the Big Brother house?
Unlike certain pollies, I don't see BB's focus on young hot people getting around half-dressed as an awful thing, and I don't blame the BB house for what happened to Camilla -- I blame the boys themselves, and our culture, in which (some) men think it is acceptable to do that to women. But I do think the idea of consent is interesting -- how much humiliation do people sign up for when they join this show? Can you know in advance if it's worthwhile? What responsibilities do the show's creators have for the people within the show -- ie, Camilla is obviously very distressed by this episode, but seems to be getting no support at all, meanwhile, John and Ash are out in public and able to give their version of events.
Anyway, as issues go this isn't a huge one but I think it has crystallised some of the discourse about sexual assualt, and it reminds me (yet again) that sexual assault is considered a rather amusing and trivial thing by some (many) people.