I wonder how many disappointed people are going to end up on this blog post after a Google search flags that title…
Anyway, Chuck Wendig has a blog post that says a lot of what I’ve wanted to say on this topic: A PSA About Nude Photos.
A few highlights:
“If you don’t want nude pics leaked, don’t take nude pics with your phone —” *Tasers you* *steals your shoes* SHOULDN’T WEAR SHOES BRO
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) September 1, 2014
It is not rape, but it is deeply demonstrative of rape culture because it is an act that exploits a woman and her body without her consent. And then, as if to vigorously rub salt into the wound with the heel of one’s callused hand, the judgey-faced shitty-assed judgments of countless men follow in the wake of the violation: victim-blaming, slut-shaming, Puritanical finger-waggling.
“But wait!” the commenters say. “I’m not blaming the victims, but the reality is that there are bad people out there, and you have to be prepared!”
Here, have a quote from Diana Rowland:
Here’s the problem. Let’s say I’m a celebrity. I have a photo that I took of my boobs. It’s on a password protected phone/computer/drive what have you. But according to your line of thinking, BECAUSE I’m a celebrity I should be prepared for someone to steal that pic and post it (which is, of course why I have it behind encryption, etc.) Yet some clever soul manages to get through my encryption, steals the pic and posts it. But, hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right?
Let’s say I’m still a celebrity. I have boobs. I keep them covered up in public, and I even have personal security. But some clever soul manages to defeat my personal security guard, rips my shirt off, and gropes my boobs. But hey, I should have expected that to happen because I’m a celebrity, right? I should keep boobs under even MORE clothing and hire MORE security or, hell, just not go out because, after all, I’m a celebrity. I should have been better prepared.
It all boils down to this: I should be *prepared* to be assaulted, and when it happens it’s obviously because I didn’t *prepare* enough, no matter what steps I took, and I didn’t “recognize the reality.”
No. That’s wrong.
“But the internet isn’t secure! If you take nude photos on your phone, you have to know there’s a risk of them getting out!”
And if you order something online, you have to know there’s a risk of your credit card information getting stolen or your account getting hacked. If you carry a wallet, you have to know there’s a risk of someone stealing it. If you leave the house, you have to know there’s a risk of getting hit by a runaway ice cream truck. If you inhale, you have to know there’s a risk of swallowing a freaking spider.
This isn’t about people living in the delusional land of marshmallow-flavored unicorn farts and spontaneously rainbow-generating kittens where nothing bad ever happens. We spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy teaching women to protect themselves. “Don’t walk alone, don’t walk at night, don’t go on a date alone, don’t let your drink out of your sight, don’t take a drink from anyone you don’t know and trust, keep your hand over your drink , don’t drink at all, carry mace, carry pepper spray, carry a gun, don’t wear revealing clothing, don’t wear headphones, don’t carry too many packages, lock and deadbolt every door and window in the house, close every curtain and blind, and so on.”
And yet somehow if a crime is a) in some way sexual and b) committed against a woman, all a lot of people want to focus on is what she did wrong. As if they haven’t heard these messages all their lives, and if they’d only follow all the Right Steps, then they would finally be 100% safe and secure.
The idea that women would be safe if they’d only follow these steps? That’s your land of unicorns and rainbows and ignorant naivete right there. And the assumption that they’re not already taking precautions? That’s just arrogance and ignorance on your part.
And if you’re one of the people who immediately went searching for these photos? Did it ever even occur to you that you were getting off on the sexual violation of another human being? Or that every time you share those pics or increase the page counts for the websites hosting them, you’re rewarding the people who committed those violations?
Let’s keep the focus on the fact that stealing and distributing someone’s private photos is a crime. It’s not just the price someone pays for being a celebrity. Or for being female.