In preparing for this review, my researcher had to watch Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. “Mattress Girl,” perform fellatio on an overweight man eleven times. He tells me that he is now seriously considering homosexuality.
Sulkowicz is famous for an extremely dubious rape allegation against a fellow student at Columbia University, and then staging a bizarre and attention-seeking “protest” at the university’s and subsequently local law enforcement’s stubborn refusal to find him guilty purely on her say-so.
She carried a mattress around with her on campus and refused to put a stop to her narcissistic antics until he was punished (for a crime he most likely did not commit) or she graduated (which, for reasons that escape the common man, Columbia has allowed her to do). The boy’s account of what happened between the night Sulkowicz says she was raped and graduation is harrowing, and serves as a warning to any student stupid enough to consider having sex on one of today’s college campuses, with their Twilight Zone extrajudicial rape hearings and the absurdities of Title IX legislation.
Naturally, Sulkowicz has become a feminist icon. But the activists and bloggers who supported her will be feeling a little uneasier this week, after she peeled back a few more layers on her own deep psychological dysfunction and apparently limitless ego by resorting to that age-old remedy for waning stardom: the sex tape.
Of course, like Sulkowicz’s previous psychiatric outburst, it’s all dressed up as “art,” else the men in white coats would already be on their way over to Morningside Heights. A website, titled “This is not a rape” (in French — ooh la la!) hosted, until earlier this afternoon, the video, which we may as well do the courtesy of examining as a work of creative activity, as Sulkowicz insists, rather than a sordid cry for help.
Good porn never starts with a pop quiz so we’re off to a poor start with the site’s bizarre and incomprehensible statements which reach for, but fail to grasp, profundity. Sulkowicz’s inner nine-year-old is never far from the surface: questions she asks visitors include “Do you think I’m the perfect victim or the world’s worst victim?” and “Do you hate me? If so, how does it feel to hate me?”
And then it’s down to business. If you absolutely must watch the video, you can, at least for the time being, find it here. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. Porn star Mercedes Carrera described it earlier today as “a bad amateur sex tape from an attention-seeking histrionic.” She was being too generous… but let’s plough on.
At the start of the tape, Sulkowicz enters a dorm room, blue-haired — for that is the uniform of the Internet feminist and masturbatory social justice warrior — pursued by a bear. Online critics have expressed dismay at the fact she hasn’t bothered to make the carpet match the drapes by dying her pubic hair blue. It’s a recent innovation known to the social justice community as “the full San Francisco.” Perhaps this fashion-forward intimate grooming trend is yet to appear on the east coast.
What follows is punchy. By which I mean Sulkowicz gets punched, though she insists in the unhinged copy on her website that everything in the video is consensual. There follows much quivering of flesh and a deeply unsatisfactory blow job. As a queer, I can tell you it is probably the most lazily and messily administered head I have seen in years. If this is the sort of oral sex straight men are getting, can anyone blame them for retreating into pornography and video games?
Emma gets on top and grinds around for a minute or so, trying to show off her sinewy, sexual side, but leaving this author wondering if she might need a scoliosis brace. Then there’s a bit of punching, and a bit of apparently forced sex — which Sulkowicz says has nothing whatsoever to do with her alleged real-life rape, not at all, not one bit, don’t you even think it!
If you know what hentai is, you’ll be familiar with the spectacle of a blue-haired Asian woman screaming for it all to stop whilst not really meaning it with a man pounding away noiselessly like a mechanistic rape engine. It’s not exactly an original set-up.
Perhaps the most despicable section of the film is the creepily self-conscious fetal position into which Sulkowicz places herself after her sexual partner has left the room, clothes in hand. She’s practised that for hours, has our girl. For how long, one wonders, did she rehearse?
Readers anxious for more granular detail will most likely already have followed the link above. We shall pass over gorier specifics, save to observe that for someone who has previously urged a sexual partner to “Fuck me in the butt,” Sulkowicz doesn’t seem to particular enjoy this activity, nor show any special aptitude for it.
It’s telling, I think, that in Sulkowicz’s purported college dorm room there are no books. She has the same lack of interest in aesthetics as she does in intellectual enrichment: both in her choice of sexual partner (apparently satisfactory member notwithstanding) and the grim, bare walls with which she surrounds herself. Though I expect the austerity of her room reflects her barren emotional interior really rather well.
You can tell “dad bods” are in fashion because both of the people in this video have one. But you do at least have to give an actress credit for doing nude scenes with a man who has larger breasts than she does. Sulkowicz’s size queendom apparently extends to love handles and leave the viewer sympathetic to the travails of her infamous mattress.
It’s revealing of her vanity that she insists on being filmed from four angles. Every crevasse of her unappealing naked body must be considered. Her congressional interlocutor is a gruesome sight in three dimensions, chosen, probably, to make young Emma look thinner. Which doesn’t work, I’m sorry to say.
All in all, it’s a tawdry, miserable encounter that tells us nothing about sexual assault or sex itself but quite a bit about the quasi-demonic inner workings of one Emma Sulkowicz.
This tape is not a depiction of rape, even a fictional one. (She puts the condom on him, for a start. Later, she entreats him: “Hit me again.”) It is a clumsily choreographed exercise in self-love designed to propel Sulkowicz into the public eye again, just as her original false allegations and mattress-carrying did before. It obliterates the line between guilty pleasure and revolting spectacle.
And, just as her mattress fiasco damaged the real victims of rape by making it harder for women everywhere to report crimes and be believed, so too does this narcissistic sociopath’s latest pseudo-intellectual endeavour make life worse for other women. By subordinating every element of the video’s production to her own intergalactic ego, Sulkowicz trivialises rape by leveraging it as a trivial plot point in the continuing melodrama of her own self-obsession.
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