UQAM’s sex scandal explained
Hélène Boudreau, a student at l’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), recently posted an explicit picture of herself featuring the UQAM logo. This resulted in UQAM suing Boudreau for $125,000.
Following the lawsuit, countless women came and showed their support for Boudreau by posting similar pictures of themselves. Evidently, the university could not sue that many of their students.
A lot of the criticism UQAM is receiving pertains to whether or not they support sex-work and the hypersexualized female body. Boudreau operates an OnlyFans account, and there were speculations that she used UQAM imagery in her content on the adult site. UQAM sued Bourdeau for defamation.
Many female students asked if the university would have had the same reaction if the subject of the photograph had been a white man. However, UQAM argues that a university is a professional environment, therefore it is no place for nudity.
In response to the lawsuit, PhD students Cato Fortin and Stephanie Roussel started an online campaign posting pictures similar to that of Boudreau’s. In Fortin’s Instagram captions, she explained that the research she does directly relates to how literature and institutions try to control women’s bodies. In her opinion, UQAM’s reaction to the events is a clear example of this.
Marie-Anne Richard, a student who recently got accepted to UQAM, expressed her concerns.
“I love initiatives like this because it’s women supporting women, and I really think that if we want change, we won’t get it from the ‘system,’” Richard said. “So it’s amazing that women come together to make a statement like this. But I just don’t think it was the right situation.”
She explained that although there is nothing wrong with sex work, she doesn’t believe a university is the place for it.
“It’s still a place for high education, so I think it’s so understandable that they don’t want to be associated with nudity. Not because the body of a woman is shameful, but because it’s a university.”
Alongside Fortin, others are of the opinion that wanting to disassociate from the sex-work environment allows the taboo surrounding the industry to thrive.
UQAM and Hélène Boudreau have settled the lawsuit out of court, and set the matter to rest. As part of the settlement agreements, Boudreau has agreed not to post explicit pictures of herself featuring UQAM’s logo.
Photograph by Kit Mergaert