Kiely Williams’ Spectacular Display of Rape Culture.

I finally got around to watching the much discussed Kiely Williams video, “Spectacular,” that is essentially a story of a woman that gets wasted and has a one night stand that she only partially remembers, but remembers that the “sex was spectacular.” Shortly after the video came out Williams tried to back track on her message and claim that it was a PSA, but I think it is pretty clear that it was not.
Williams claims (via Washington City Paper),

The fact is, that sometimes women get intoxicated and have unprotected sex. My video puts this issue front and center. It is absurd to infer or suggest that I am condoning this behavior. Are Lady Gaga and Beyonce advocating murder with the Telephone video? Of, course not. Was Rihanna encouraging suicide with Russian Roulette? No. Was Madonna suggesting that young unmarried girls get pregnant with Papa Dont Preach? I dont think so. Is Academy Award winner Monique a proponent of incest because of her portrayal of Mary in the movie Precious. Clearly, the answer is no.
I wrote Spectacular and made the video to bring attention to a serious womens health and safety issue. Dont shoot the messenger.

I understand that not everything an artist does or represents is something that they believe in or are endorsing and I understand that celebrities will go far to get attention, break into the mainstream or cause a stir and because I understand that I am more sad for Williams than anything else. As Latoya just said to me, she is obviously feeling the pressure of being a young woman and emerging pop-star and being put in the position of having to be overly sexual to get attention. And sadly, there wasn’t really anything about the video that appeared to be suggesting that this was a situation that you should stay away from. I think it is safe to suggest the video was in fact glamorizing sexual assault and date rape (or rather club rape), as the catchy chorus explains, over and over.
I agree with what Janna Zinzi said over at RH Reality Check. I am not interested in demonizing Williams, but I do think it is important to hold her accountable to her words and intentions. A catchy anthem that essentially says, ‘I got drunk and I don’t remember everything, but the sex was spectacular,” is normalizing a violent and dangerous epidemic that we are still fighting to get recognized as, what it is, rape.

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44 Comments

  1. Molly Silverstein
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Williams says “don’t shoot the messenger,” but what message does she think she is delivering? Williams gives absolutely no indication that she was upset by the fact that she “blacked out” and cannot remember any of her “spectacular night,” even when she acknowledges that she is not sure if her “lover” used any protection. I understand that it would be a bit of a buzz kill to include Williams’ subsequent depression, self-hate, and trust issues following her rape. Still, how could she not acknowledge that her video glamorizes rape, instead of simply putting it “front and center”? Spontaneous sexual experiences can be thrilling, but is being blacked out while a man takes advantage of you ever spectacular?

  2. Sex Toy James
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t taking this to rape one step too far? If your thing is self destructive, drug addled, half remembered hookups and that’s what you’re looking for, then I’d think that it’s consensual. If I go out looking to have drunken, possibly unprotected sex, and someone obliges me, then I wouldn’t call it rape no matter how much I regretted it the next day, so long as that’s what I set out to do. I’m not arguing that the situation could in no way be rape, but that it’s inferring more than is given. Maybe I missed something.
    Seriously, assuming that it’s totally legal consenting situation, it’s still glamorizing dangerous, seemingly self destructive, and stupid behavior. I think that there’s enough to criticize right there. So much of me wants to yell “That is not a good model for spectacular sex! Please nobody emulate or romanticize this.” It’s not so bad as romanticizing trying to catch HIV, but I think that it’s somewhere on the continuum to there.

  3. Tracey T
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    My first thing is to disagree. While I know some people are into sex where there is a degree of perceived “helplessness” as in Ambien sex,etc. I think that is never okay to put out the message it is okay to meet someone who is too intoxicated to give consent (in the song she ends up blacked out). Even if the person set out for it, the person they hooked up with in this situation had no idea of knowing it, so they where having sex with someone who could not give consent. And “they really wanted it” is a go to excuse for rapists and apologists.
    Bottom line, while I recognize different kinks and believe they are okay, I do not think it is ever okay to just meet someone who is on the verge of blacking out and have sex with them, even if they are very aggressive in “wanting it.” That kind of behavior needs to occur in heavily negotiated spaces, not in the context of a drunken hook up. Because if the behavior wasn’t discussed extensively while all participants were sober, and the things to occur including use of protection and prevention carefully laid out, then having sex with someone who is drugged up or drunk to the point of passing out is not consensual. You have every right not to call it rape in your situation, but I still feel that having sex without consent (again she explicitly says she blacked out) is rape. The situation she describes in the song does not come across at all as being similar to healthy Ambien,etc. sex.

  4. paperispatient
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    If I go out looking to have drunken, possibly unprotected sex, and someone obliges me, then I wouldn’t call it rape no matter how much I regretted it the next day, so long as that’s what I set out to do.
    But if you’re so intoxicated you can’t remember what happened, I don’t think you can know that it was consensual or really give consent because you don’t even know everything that happened. If I’m planning on going out and having lots of drunken PIV sex and am so drunk that I only remember bits and pieces, I likely wasn’t in any condition to articulate my desires and limits if my partner wanted to have anal sex. I can see what you’re saying about not assuming that drunken and casual sex is nonconsensual, and I agree, but even if that was what the person was going for, I think we still need to look critically at their state of mind during the act. Unless you go, “I’m going to get really drunk and try to find a partner and whatever happens I’ll be okay with, there’s nothing I don’t want to happen to me,” I have trouble seeing how it can be fully, genuinely consensual.

  5. rhowan
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    Lyrics of “Spectacular” by Kiely Williams:
    Last night I was drunk
    I don’t remember much
    But what I do constant pictures
    Thats how going I was
    But he was tall and he was buying
    So I gave him a trying
    Said he was like a stallion
    And the man wasn’t lying
    [chorus]
    Last I remember I was face down
    Ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off
    Even though I’m not sure of his name
    He could get it again if he wanted
    Cause the sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
    The sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular
    So it was the morning after
    I couldn’t get home faster
    Doing the walk of shame
    In the same clothes from yesterday
    I think he pulled a track out
    When he was blowing my back out
    What was I drinking
    I cant believe I blacked out
    [chorus]
    Last I remember I was face down
    Ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off
    Even though I’m not sure of his name
    He could get it again if he wanted
    Cause the sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
    The sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular
    You can say what you want but
    You can call me a slut but
    What he did to me last night felt so good
    I must have been on drugs
    I hope he used a rubber
    Or I’mma be in trouble
    Promise I don’t remember
    Except for
    Give it to me, give it to me
    Ooh baby what a ride ride
    Oh ride ride
    So smooth like it beats
    I like the heat
    Ooh baby what a night night
    Right right
    Cause the sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular (yeaaah)
    The sex was spectacular
    The sex was spectacular

  6. Maginola
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m pretty sure I heard in the song that she’s blacked out, passed out, or falling asleep and that’s all she remembers….how do you get spectacular sex from that? And yeah, if you’re passed out, you can’t consent – so it’s rape. These are some of the worst lyrics I’ve ever heard, separate from the awful message. This song was painful to listen to.

  7. Lydia
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    I pretty much agree with you but I wasn’t going to be the first one to say it. :-P
    I think there’s room for interpretation in this situation and, while there’s no way to make it not a fucked up situation, it’s not necessarily rape. People definitely need to take rape more seriously and realize that most rapes are not actually “strangers in the bushes” situations but I think there is such a thing as going too far in the other direction. There are women out there who do seek sexual experiences like this and apparently enjoy them. I’m not saying that isn’t sad. I’m not saying that such women don’t probably have serious issues with confidence and self-worth that are engendered by growing up in a society that glorifies female sexual passivity, encourages irresponsibility, and devalues intimacy and any aspect of a woman besides her sexual availability to men. I’m not saying it isn’t twisted that any woman could knowingly put herself in a situation like this and come away from it feeling like that was a good time. But it happens. So I’m not going to call every single encounter like that a de facto rape. To me it seems condescending to women to ALWAYS make them the victim, regardless of their own perspective, however flawed that perspective is. Some women make bad, self-destructive choices. The societal factors that lead them to make such choices are indeed a cause for concern and we should talk about them. But they’re still choices. So while this video was incredibly disturbing to me on about a million levels (“I hope he used a rubber/ or Ima be in trouble/ problem is I don’t remember.” Wow, really?) I don’t think the conversation about it necessarily needs to go straight to “rape.”
    And it should be noted that it IS possiblet to write a good pop song about that treats unsafe sex and other more sobering issues about sex in a realistic way. Remember TLC? Don’t go chasing waterfalls, folks! :-P

  8. nikki#2
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    So no woman ever goes out clubbing with the intention of getting pissed drunk and having sex with a stranger? It’s called hooking up. You may have heard of it before. What this music video shows is stupid and dangerous but it obviously is not rape.

  9. Lydia
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    This is a pretty damn depressing few minutes of video as I’ve stated elsewhere…
    But onto another issue that grinds my feminist gears, one way in which I think you’re being far too kind about this song, Samhita, is when you call it “catchy.” This has got to be a new low as far as the quality of popular music goes. It’s absolutely terrible. The lyrics are barely lyrics and there’s no real musicality to speak of. This sells because it features a beautiful, scantily clad woman gyrating and shaking her ass. That’s it.
    Last night I went to a fundraiser for the feminist magazine I work for. I wore a new pair of boots I bought last week on sale. I sat next to an English professor and a Montessori teacher at the tables and ate ziti. Then we had dessert. The cookies were spectacular. The cookies were spectacular. The cookies were spectacular. The cookies were spectacular.
    There, now I just need to say all that in a breathy voice over a really grating techno beat and I have a new pop single!
    This is yet another example of the music industry manufacturing pop icons out of stereotypically “hot” women with negligible to nonexistent music talent. Meanwhile there are a bunch of other women out there who can write and sing their asses off but will never be able to make it in the mainstream because they don’t have the right looks. GRRRR!

  10. middlechild
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    ….THAT counts as a catchy song? Look, I understand, if the beat is danceable or the video is good, you don’t need mind-blowing lyrics, but that whole thing….was just….STUPID. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And when the camera zoomed in on her “stallion,” it was just menacing.
    Are you sure she didn’t do this on purpose? She was originally in 3LW, a forgettable all-girl R & B group. The song/lyrics is crappy-sounding and the video is unoriginal. She has to generate publicity SOME how…why not with something so graphic and “edgy” it’s offensive?

  11. Anna
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    thanks rhowan!

  12. Lydia
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think James is saying situations like these are okay. I think he’s saying that they’re a different kind of “not okay” than rape (although perhaps a related kind). This is self-destructive behavior that certainly has a lot to do with the way women are taught to think of themselves and the way men are taught to think of women. In that sense I do think that it is accurate to say that this video is indicative of a larger rape culture. But the situation itself does not need to be called rape. (Personally, I need more information.) I don’t think that anybody can argue that this is a depiction of sexuality that is informed by twisted power dynamics and gender standards but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s rape. There are a lot of messed up things worth talking about out there that aren’t rape.

  13. Athenia
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    “I hope he used a rubber
    Or I’mma be in trouble”
    You know what Kiely Williams? F*ck you.
    We have problems with AIDS, teen pregnancy, and rape in this country—Alex Knepper saying that a guy can put it in your vagina if you’re wasted and in his room and you’re singing how the sex was spectacular?
    You know what is spectacular? AIDS is just totally spectacular. Having no money and trying to raise a baby is just totally spectacular. Having your friends, family and police not believe you were raped because you were drunk and on drugs is just totally spectacular.
    But you could probably could care less cause you’re making money off this stupid video.
    F*ck you.

  14. s mandisa
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    background to Kiely Williams.
    She was 1/3 of teen pop/R&B group “3LW” in the early part of the decade (like 2001-2004)
    THEN she became FAMOUS with the Disney crew as a member of the Cheetah Girls, which attracts young people aged 6-15 (rough estimate).
    Can you imagine this age group getting their hands on what can easily be perceived as a “Cheetah girl gone solo?” She already has a huge fan base and while, yes, it is true that this song is very different from the perky, Disney-friendly stuff, the point is the influence she has on young people.
    so, so, deep.

  15. Sloppy Sandwich
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    I think if you engage in sex with someone who is too intoxicated to consent, then that’s rape. And of course that’s one danger of the song is that it gives the message that it’s okay to do it with totally wasted girls because they’ll just remember it was spectacular. Which is awful.
    But Sex Toy James has a point, if a person sets out to have wasted blackout sex, can they really have been raped if they got what they wanted and loved it? And some people DO want that.
    There’s some problematic logical implications to calling that rape, a couple being
    1) you are criminalizing behavior between consenting adults. I know you can’t legally “consent” at the time you’re intoxicated, but if you set out to have intoxicated sex and you get it, I think you have a right to do that and not have it be a crime.
    2)this implies rape is sometimes not that big a deal. I don’t say this lightly. One reason I am a feminist is because rampant sexism is still so prevalent in our society, one of the most terrible ways being that so many women are victims or possible victims of sexual violence. rape is a horrible crime and it must stop. But where’s the horrible crime in this scenario? This woman had spectacular sex. I think the real offense many here are taking is that said sex was had in a non-feminist, non-socially conscious manner.
    I don’t even like this song, but there is a place creatively for this kind of thing, as fantasy. And I feel like a jerk for not elucidating it any more eloquently than “it’s just a damn song,” but it’s just a damn song! The post by Janna at Reality check actually says “the public health messaging here is abominable.” ITS A CLUB SONG! Do we all have to be 100% of our waking lives thinking about and priding ourselves upon our social responsibility? Can’t I just get loose at the club? The most public health messaging I want to hear at the club is “if you got a gun up in your waist, please don’t shoot up the place.”

  16. paperispatient
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Of course women do that. I’ve done that. But if you’re “face down / ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off,” how were you in any state to consent to sex? If you have to just “hope he used a condom” the next morning and you weren’t lucid enough the night before to insist that he use one or notice whether or not he did, how were you lucid enough to consent to sex? Hooking up is consensual; blacking out and passing out while someone has sex with you is rape.

  17. supremepizza
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I’ve blacked out while completely vertical & dancing wildly…Not a single person around me realized that I was that drunk. And the next day I couldn’t remember a thing after entering the club. Its often less than obvious how much liquor someone has had.
    And while I don’t tend to go in for drunk sex, as an occasional sort of thing I can really get into it. Aside from the obvious health issues, what’s wrong with that? Why isn’t it my choice? Sometimes we can go from being ‘sex positive’ to being as prudish as Jerry Falwell…in about a heartbeat.

  18. Sex Toy James
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    This is my reply to both you and Tracey T. I think that we’re running on different assumptions. From the song and her seeming to recall the sex I’m going with awake, consensual, drug addled, and the “dozed off” happening afterward. If the song was all “I assume the sex was spectacular, because it all happened after I passed out” then we’ve got a whole other issue.
    I don’t even like to compare the situation as I read it to anything responsible. I’m very kink friendly, but this whole thing looks self destructive. The whole safe and sane part is missing if it were consensual.

  19. nikki#2
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Not everyone wants all the talk and conversation. Sometimes they just want to get drunk and screw someone.
    “…while I recognize different kinks and believe they are okay…”
    It doesn’t quite seem fair to say I think your kink is okay but the people who help you with it are rapists. You can’t have it both ways.

  20. nikki#2
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Hmm, I don’t know if Tracey Ts attitude is so much ‘anti sex’ as it is ‘women are victims in everything they do’. I could be reading too much into her comment, but it is such a common attitude I can’t help but think that is where she is coming from.
    And a side note. You say prude like it’s a bad thing. Being a 24 year old never been kissed virgin who gets freaked out by most kinds of kink, I am about as prudish as they come. But I don’t care what other people do if it does not involve me. Get drunk and be merry. Have a fan-fucking-tastic time.

  21. Sloppy Sandwich
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Now I had a comment that had a very similar sentiment but I said Pat Robertson instead of Jerry Fallwell and they didn’t post it!
    Maybe it was because I also pointed out that Samhita says this is rape, and says she agrees with what Janna Zinzi said over at RH Reality Check, but if you actually read Janna’s piece she says QUOTE:
    “Many women (and men) see this as glorifying date rape. I won’t go that far because she may have wanted to go home with this man and have a night of casual sex. I’m not mad at that.” So maybe Samhita doesn’t even read all of the sources she referenced or maybe she doesn’t like having it called out that she’s making inconsistent statements.

  22. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Like I said, nothing wrong with drunk sex. But I still argue that if someone blacks out at the club, or on a couch, or if you can tell they are incoherent and you have sex with them, it is rape. If you see someone black out at a club and then take them somewhere and have sex with them, it is rape. In the song she specifically says she blacked out and even says she must have been on drugs (though that could be a reference to something like E which heightens pleasure).
    I have been totally wasted too, and prior to blacking out I could barely walk in a straight line or talk. If someone, who is more sober, sees someone like that and has sex with them, yes I find that problematic. Wasn’t the feminist blogosphere up in arms recently because someone said that by getting wasted at parties women where consenting to any and all sex acts? If someone can’t give consent it is rape and people who are blacked out can not give consent. I would argue that even if someone gives consent right before blacking out before engaging in sex (literally says “yes” then passes out a minute later), sex with them is morally irresponsible (and I would say rape). And again, the control issue comes up. What if someone is more sober than someone obviously completely wasted, and in control of the situation, and has sex with the wasted person?
    Yeah, there are occasions when people get drunk and have sex, but I seriously doubt this song describes such a situation (you know, the reference to blacking out). This song and her response especially sounds like the tired old meme of “If you didn’t want to have sex you shouldn’t have been so wasted. If you can’t remember what happened, how can you know you were raped? You just got drunk and did something you regret and now want to ruin some poor guy’s life.”

  23. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    It isn’t just a club song. The artist herself said it is meant to have a message and serve as a PSA. And since when did feminists have a problem with critiquing things that can be regarded as trivial? For goodness sakes, this is a blog that has a running series of reviews for romcoms. Romcoms!!!

  24. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    When I say your kink is okay, it means if safe, sane and consensual.
    And you seem pretty insistent on drunk and either passed out on the verge of passing out being one in the same. And if all that talk of “yes” is too much for a drunk person to get out, I’d say that is problematic.

  25. paperispatient
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    If the song was all “I assume the sex was spectacular, because it all happened after I passed out” then we’ve got a whole other issue.
    That’s more along the lines of how I was interpreting it. You don’t know if he used a condom, but you hope so? Not recalling significant details like that to me suggests that the speaker was too drunk to function well – I’m not interpreting what she’s describing as awake-but-drunk sex, because I’ve had awake-but-drunk sex and I would put it solidly in the consensual category.
    I think you’re right that our main disagreement is stemming from us reading the song different ways, which I think makes the song troubling. So many people see the lines between sex and rape in certain situations as really blurry, and it concerns me that this song is presenting them in a similarly blurry way. And either way, I totally agree with you on it not being depicted as safe and sane; I consider myself kinky and kink-friendly, but the situation reads as very out of control in a potentially destructive way.

  26. paperispatient
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    if a person sets out to have wasted blackout sex, can they really have been raped if they got what they wanted and loved it? And some people DO want that.
    I guess the issue that I’m still having in thinking about this is, how do you know what you got and if you loved it if you can’t remember any of it? Like I said in my comment, if your specific goal was to have ANY kind of sex you can’t remember and you’re okay with anything at all happening, then I agree a scenario like that isn’t rape.
    Maybe part of my difficulty in accepting that something like this can be consensual is that I can’t relate; I did a good amount of partying in college and definitely had drunk sex, but only when I was coherent enough to articulate what was and wasn’t okay, and I’ve never been in that place where I’m incoherently drunk AND want to have sex; when I’m incoherently drunk, I want to go to sleep.
    And I totally agree with you that there is a place for scenarios like this in fantasy; but like Sex Toy James said below, there’s no element of safe and sane in the scenario being described. I’ve talked about this with a friend, about how to responsibly depict fantasies of nonconsent, and I think it’s challenging. You can’t really include a disclaimer at the beginning of a song the way you do (or should in my opinion) in BDSM porn.

  27. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    “Because if the behavior wasn’t discussed extensively while all participants were sober, and the things to occur including use of protection and prevention carefully laid out, then having sex with someone who is drugged up or drunk to the point of passing out is not consensual. ”
    Saying that having sex with someone who is too drunk or drugged to consent without prior consent is victimizing women? Really? I didn’t say drunk sex, I specifically said passed out or on the verge of passing out and that makes me victimizing women? Having sex with people who are passed out or at the point they can not give consent is rape. Maybe I get drunk wrong but for me drunk does not automatically equal passed out. So drunk sex is not the same as screwing someone who is blacked out or can’t even give a coherent answer.

  28. Sex Toy James
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Lydia,
    I like your take on it too. I’m glad that I could break the ice so you could express it.
    I hope that I was clear enough that I’m not condoning sex with people who are passed out. I think that there’s a huge line between sex with someone who’s intoxicated but consenting and sex with someone who’s unconscious and can’t give consent. I don’t see how unconscious people would know how the sex was, so I didn’t think that was what was being discussed.

  29. nikki#2
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Some people don’t like safe. Some people don’t care if they can’t remember what happened cause they blacked out. If you say it is okay to have that kink, which I’m not positive if you are or not, then you can’t demonize the people they kink with.

  30. NapoleonInRags
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    How does it “grind your feminist gears” that Samhita, or anybody else, finds a song catchy that you do not? Aesthetics cannot be gauged either by objective criteria or by fiat. Many people find this song catchy, Samhita is one of them. But more importantly, how is whether or not one finds this catchy a feminist issue?

  31. nikki#2
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    As I said I wasn’t sure if I was reading too much into your comment. A lot of it jived with the ‘women as victims’ attitude that is irritatingly common in the feminist blogosphere. It’s true that your language was gender neutral but I just got that vibe about it. If I was wrong then I apoligize.

  32. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    I’m saying it is fine to have unconscious sex if it is in a consensual environment and the other person knows that is what you want before hand.
    If someone goes out wanting blacked out sex, and someone who has no idea that the person wants blacked out sex and doesn’t care, but just sees someone who is blacking out and has sex with them, I think they are a rapist. Because the person having sex with them HAS NO IDEA IF THEY WANT IT OR NOT. That is my point, no consent means not knowing that the other person consents.
    In other words, if someone has sex with someone without consent, they are a rapist. I have no problem demonizing them because I think the only people who are going to have sex with someone without that person’s consent, is a rapist. That is not the same as demonizing drunk sex, sex where all involved understand that someone wants to be blacked out and have sex.
    Yeah, the person may want to be passed out and have someone sex them, but the person who has sex with them doesn’t know and doesn’t care. They would be just as willing to rape anyone else. Without consent how do you know who does and doesn’t want sex? In other words, if you have sex with someone without their consent, it is rape. If you have sex with someone without their consent, it is rape. If they where able to give consent before blacking out and specify sex is what they want, great.
    But if you don’t think that having sex with someone who is incapable of giving consent, and has not given consent to unconscious sex before hand, isn’t rape, then we’ll just have to disagree. I still contend that sex without consent is rape and that the only person who will have sex with someone who is incapable of giving consent, and has not consented to blacked out sex beforehand, is a rapist. Because that rapists had sex with someone who was hoping it would happen that time, doesn’t mean they actually care and it is more than likely the next person they find passed out and have sex with will consider it nonconsensual.

  33. nikki#2
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I should clarify. By blacked out I mean what supremepizza said about being blacked out but no one could tell cause she was still very active and dancing. Unconscious as you keep saying would be passed out.
    “If someone goes out wanting blacked out sex, and someone who has no idea that the person wants blacked out sex and doesn’t care, but just sees someone who is blacking out and has sex with them, I think they are a rapist”
    Just curious, what would that make the person who went out with the intention of getting blacked out sex?(conscious or unconscious)

  34. Tracey T
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    “Just curious, what would that make the person who went out with the intention of getting blacked out sex?(conscious or unconscious)”
    I don’t know their motivations and if consent is given I don’t care. If they are unconscious and someone has sex with them without prior consent, I still think that is rape because the person having sex with them has no way of knowing if they wanted it or not. So personA can go out looking to purposely go unconscious and someone have sex with them, but if the personB who has sex with them has no idea ift unconscious person A would consent or not it is still sex without consent. I am saying that people shouldn’t have sex with unconscious people (without prior consent) or people unable to give consent because “who knows, they may want it?”
    If consent is capable of being given, and is given, then I see it as no different than Ambien sex or taking another form of debilitating drug and having sex.
    As for blacked out, we are working on totally different definitions. I have only heard blacked out to refer to someone once they are unconscious. If you are moving and such you may be on the verge of blacked out but you aren’t yet.

  35. nikki#2
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    The lyrics are not terribly clear. But saying “the sex was spectacular” over and over and over gives me the impression she was at least awake when it started but can’t remember how it ended. Sometimes people can’t remember huge chunks of time when they were very much awake if they had been drinking. Other people may not be able to tell just how far over the line they are. So not remembering what happened does not necessarily mean someone was unconscious and raped.

  36. Lydia
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    That’s not my definition of “blacked out” at all. I’ve always heard “blacked out” defined as not being able to remember. “Passing out” is being unconcious.

  37. Lydia
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s a tech problem. One of my comments wasn’t posted either it was pretty benign…

  38. Lydia
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, I feel the same way. How can you speak to the quality of sex if you were unconscious when it happened? That just makes too little sense, even for this song. lol. I think the confusing term is “blacked out.” A lot of people are interpreting it as “passed out.” To me, if someone says “I blacked out” it means they don’t really remember what happened. It’s not losing conciousness.

  39. Lydia
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Did you read the rest of the comment? What grinds my feminist gears is that women with musical talent struggle in the music industry and women with no talent get snapped up and turned into pop stars by a cynical industry that values sex appeal first and music last. Me mentioning Samhita’s characterization of the song as “catchy” is barely relevant. It was my way of saying even Samhita, who expressed clear contempt for the song, was being too kind. Because that’s how awful I think it is. It seems silly to explain this.

  40. A male
    Posted April 17, 2010 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    The LAST (not first thing) she remembers is being “face down” etc.
    She does remember it “felt so good” and “I don’t remember Except for Give it to me, give it to me Ooh baby what a ride ride” when he was “blowing [her] back out.” It is not her illogically assuming in the morning that the sex must have been “spectacular” while she was blacked out. Indeed why would she assume that if she did not remember?
    Also that “he wasn’t lying” when claiming he was “like a stallion” be it in proportion or performance.
    Therefore the actual blackout happened sometime after it already began, and perhaps even after it ended.
    How much she drank of her own will (blacking out is apparently not usual for her, as she can’t believe it), whether or not she was drugged (she apparently knows what being drugged feels like – “so good” or at least enhancing her sexual experience), how she got to the man’s bed, and how it started is unclear, and problematic. However, the video depicts her character as smiling making out with the anonymous man, and not appearing impaired, despite being so.
    I don’t believe many rape victims would describe a rape as “spectacular” likening their rapist to “a stallion” saying “give it to me” or that “he could get it again if he wanted,” after any impairment is gone.
    If we believe Williams in her defense of the song/video that it is a PSA, then the controversy is an appropriate response to that song’s character. She (the character) is an adult, but it’s not the kind of risky behavior you want a young fan base to emulate, and not what you want men to believe is the norm when drinking with women. Note the man was also STILL passed out face down and naked, not even stirring the entire time she got ready to leave.

  41. A male
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Also unclear in this song/video is what is meant by “blackout.” Is it what most people assume it to mean, i.e. passing out or losing consciousness? Using a clearly impaired or unresponsive partner without a prior understanding that it is what is desired, should be understood as rape.
    Or does it refer to alcohol induced blackouts, i.e. impaired ability to form long term memories? “Blackouts represent episodes of amnesia, during which subjects are capable of participating even in salient, emotionally charged events—as well as more mundane events—that they later cannot remember (Goodwin 1995).”
    http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm
    See any of numerous sources on alcohol induced blackouts or alcohol related amnesia.
    An alcohol induced blackout explicitly does NOT refer to the act of passing out or losing consciousness, and in fact, people who experience blackouts are capable of function, even having conversation, driving, and other complicated actions; but may simply not have memory of doing so later. Specifically to this fictional character of the “Spectacular” song/video: “It is usually less clear when these blackouts end because people typically fall asleep before they are over.” Something happened after drinking and going to the man’s room, and she woke up with unclear memories of the previous night after drinking. It is possible the fictional man did not take advantage of her condition at all.
    Unless the songwriter/performer wishes to be more clear about what message she wishes to convey, we do not know what happened to the character of the song/video.
    The documented effect (studies have been conducted since at least 1941) of being able to perform complicated tasks after drinking or while drunk, but later having no recollection of them, raises questions about what happened during the period people have no recollection.

  42. A male
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    In studies on the effects of alcohol, an alcohol related blackout (amnesia) does not mean passing out or losing consciousness, as it does in the colloquial sense. It is unclear from the song or video which is meant.

  43. A male
    Posted April 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    - if you’re “face down / ass up, clothes off, broke off, dozed off,” how were you in any state to consent to sex?
    If the character of the song/video simply fell asleep after appearing cognizant and functional, and woke up with little or no recollection of what she had previously done, as has been documented in studies on the effect of alcohol and alcohol related amnesia/blackouts.
    http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm
    Just because she woke up with a poor recollection of the previous evening after she drank, does not mean she was raped.

  44. Sex Toy James
    Posted April 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey Paperispatient,
    Just to clarify, I have much respect for you, and wouldn’t want you to feel differently.
    I think that I looked at the story in the song as someone who set out to get in the kind of situation that she ended up in, and seemed happy with it afterward. I tend to think of it as “being proud of having done stupid stuff.” It’s sounds like empowerment interpreted as being empowered to totally mess up one’s own life. I hear the condom reference as “I’m so cool and reckless because I’m only mildly concerned.” To me it sounds a lot like singing about the joys of drunk driving, where my reaction is all “Aaah, stop glorifying endangering yourself and others!” So I’m seeing her decision making being impaired while sober.
    When it comes to rape I like to clarify the blurry parts. I feel that it would be wrong to make any leaps to either side. I wouldn’t automatically assume that someone had committed a heinous crime that deserves jail time, or that someone was making stuff up. I feel that jumping to conclusions when you don’t have enough to go on either way just further muddies the waters when there is a serious situation.
    I also don’t like the way that our political and activist culture is going where everyone throws things to the extreme exaggerated level in order to further rile their base. Suddenly everything is shouting in terms of absolute good and evil when real life never quite happens that way. Then we get people pushing for laws and policies that only work for a black and white world. In this case I feel that there are enough real rapes without trying to makes something else into one, and in the process missing the very clearly unhealthy material that the song contains.

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