Many parents reading the weekend furore about Magaluf Girl will have experienced emotions ranging from pity to anger. So might any 18-year-old reading the same sad story or viewing the tawdry video. William Blake’s “The road of excess leads to a palace of wisdom” once again rings true.
Middle-aged parents like me are lucky. For most of us, there are no YouTube videos depicting youthful debauches; no tweets posted in haste, repented at leisure; and - unless you are really unlucky or went to Oxbridge – barely a fading photograph of any of us in a nightclub, party or festival, letting it all hang out. That’s “most” of us.
We didn’t think to lumber a camera or dictaphone around with us as we partied; partly because “lumber” would have been apt for the technology, and because we were more content to live in the moment with those we were with. There wasn’t the “share” imperative. The closest back then to the thoughtlessness of today’s smartphone being those disposable cameras at wedding tables.
But you can only go so far today in blaming technology and the media for disseminating images of “Magaluf Girl”, who performed fellatio on 24 males in the hope of winning a “holiday”; or the 17 year-old “Slane Girl” this time last summer, who also performed a very public act of fellatio on a bragging male at an Eminem gig; or the endless stream of What Happens in Kavos… type shows. The line between personal choice and victimhood is actually not so thin.
Of course there is hypocritical “slut shaming” behind both “Magaluf” and “Slane”. Why no “Slane Boy” outrage? Why are the 24 foolish Magaluf boys who happily dropped their pants “lads” not “slags”? And, of course there is the hypocrisy of being exposed by The Sun a page before Page 3. But…
Blaming the media is a lazy, knee-jerk alternative to taking personal responsibility. In what societal universe is fellating 24 boys for a holiday acceptable? If it’s “unfair” that someone filmed and shared it on social media, don’t put yourself in the position of inviting such humiliation. If drink is to blame, don’t drink so much.
Such parental admonishments have of course been ignored by insouciant teens since the dawn of time, so let’s move on to a more modern aspiration: that Magaluf Girl would have had better friends around her to step in and save her from humiliation. The boys too.
It’s too easy to paint her as a “victim”; too easy to blame those boys, the nightclub, social media, her “religious” parents. What’s at fault is a total breakdown in education: the sex education that would tell them that 24 sexual “shares” should mean a trip to the clinic for all 25 of them; the University of Life education that should tell her that you won’t win a real holiday for putting 24 penises in your mouth; and, above all, the desperate need for drinking education to help change the appalling booze ‘til your blotto culture that blights Britain at home and abroad.
Every time I write that, loads of you rush to defend bingeing: for Americans’ right to bear arms, read the British right to get absolutely mullered. Never mind “Magaluf Girl”, we all need to take a long, hard look at our culture.