Amanda Marcotte nailed it at Comment is Free a couple of days ago.
A man’s right to privacy versus a woman’s right to live free of male violence: these two principles routinely conflict in modern society, with the former winning out most of the time…
This belief that men deserve a veil of privacy that makes it easier to harass, beat, and rape women is so ingrained in our society that it’s difficult to stand back and see how nonsensical it really is.
Most of our stalkers have their veil of privacy. They talk degrading shit about us day in and day out, and none of it ever touches them by so much as a drop. They have complete immunity and impunity to do their best to turn us into little piles of filth.
The inability to step back and see what’s really going on here is all over the online battles over non-consensual pornography being distributed on Reddit. Adrien Chen, a blogger for the popular news-and-gossip website Gawker, apparently threatened to out a popular Reddit user who goes under the name violentacrez, and who has built up quite a reputation as a reliable source of masturbatory fodder photos of non-consenting and often underage women. An entire subculture has grown up online, with male users trading these sexualised photos on subreddits with names like r/creepshots and r/jailbait, which are openly cherished by users precisely because the women in the pictures do not want to be in the pictures, and would be humiliated and mortified to find out.
When challenged on this, the users hide behind legalese, claiming that since the creepy photos are taken in public, they have a legal right to have them. The implication is that women and underage girls deserve to be humiliated and used sexually against their will for the high crime of leaving their house.
But men, on the other hand, have the right to consent. Women don’t, men do. Surely you can understand that – it’s so simple.
After Chen made violentacrez aware of the impending outing, violentacrez deleted his account. In retaliation, the r/politics subreddit has banned links from Gawker, calling outing violentacrez “completely intolerable”. At issue here appears to be – wait for it – consent. An online poster should not have their real-life identity revealed without their consent, it appears.
That is all good and well for most people, but the Reddit users in question have already declared that they believe that women don’t have a right to refuse consent to be participants in their homemade pornography. If women have to be in your porn whether they like it or not, it seems only fair that your name should be out in public, whether you like it or not. For everyone who feels bad for violentacrez and worries about how humiliated he’ll be if people find out, I beg you to start extending that sympathy instead to the women who have pervy pictures of them being traded online without their consent.
Harassers, rapists, wife beaters and now online creeps who make non-consensual porn rely on our discomfort with outing them to routinely violate women’s right to control their own lives and sexuality. The sooner we stop believing that men who deny women’s right to consent deserve a veil of privacy to do so, the sooner we can bring an end to these kinds of routine violations of women’s basic right to autonomy.
Silly Amanda, rights are for men.