Men deserve their veil of privacy


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.

 

Comments

  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    Well this old man would like to see this pervert’s picture all over the internet,complete with concise back-story so everybody who sees it is in no doubts over what he is; then I’d like to see thousands of the pictures printed off and plastered over the offices where he works and on telegraph poles around his neighbourhood.
    And that’d do for starters.

  2. mickll says

    Hang about…isn’t privacy about protecting my right to invade yours anonymously?

    It isn’t?

    FREE SPEECH!!!11!!1Eleventy

  3. Francisco Bacopa says

    Amanda almost always gets it right. I have commented on Pandagon almost since day one many years ago in Internet time.

    I really hate that the new Pandagon at Raw Story does not accept WordPress Gravatars.

    But back to the main point of Amanda’s article. How could rapey sex be hotter than consensual sex unless you are a rapey guy for whom the rapey aspects are exciting.

    As a non rapey guy I have only been in a few situations of questionable consent. The first was when I got a little too gropey with a woman who didn’t want to go there. I apologized and let her know we could do all this again with more privacy. Never had that much contact again and I did not try to contact her again. Similar situation a couple months later, I backed off and gave her space, and we got along quite well.

    Was in another rapey situation with an ex and decided that the negative trauma she might experience and my own perception of my belief in consent meant we had to cool things down. This shit happens, though I never thought it would happen to me. Me? a date rapist? Hell no, I would never go there, but it really happened, and I made the right choice.

  4. Rodney Nelson says

    From Ophelia’s earlier thread “Creepshots” here’s the link to the Gawker post exposing violentacrez.

    His speciality is distributing images of scantily-clad underage girls, but as Violentacrez he also issued an unending fountain of racism, porn, gore, misogyny, incest, and exotic abominations yet unnamed, all on the sprawling online community Reddit. At the time I called Brutsch, his latest project was moderating a new section of Reddit where users posted covert photos they had taken of women in public, usually close-ups of their asses or breasts, for a voyeuristic sexual thrill. It was called “Creepshots.”

  5. bad Jim says

    I wonder about the legality of some of the stuff going on at Reddit. Reposting Facebook pictures has to be a violation of copyright, unless the terms of service somehow permit it. It was my impression as well that consent was required for publication of photos taken in public, outside of certain defined circumstances.

    Looking at the range of offenses Brutsch committed, I’m far more disgusted by the prospect of pictures of victims of violence than pictures of kids in bikinis, but then I live in a beach town, and the only thing that can keep me from seeing toddlers, kids, teens and adults of all ages in bikinis is bad weather. Nobody could innocently enjoy “Chokeabitch” or “beatingwomen”.

  6. says

    I don’t get this. non-consensual sex illegal? It’s called sexual assault and/or rape! And with underage girls, consensual or not, that’s kiddie porn. WTF is going on here? Why not tell the cops who it is if you know, and get the guy(I’m assuming) put away?

    This is fucked up.

  7. Lyanna says

    Definitely violation of copyright, and it’s also child porn in some US states.

    There are laws prohibiting, or at least allowing lawsuits for, the use of your image without your consent.

    There is no law saying that every site you go to on the internet and every person you interact with on the internet must protect your privacy.

  8. says

    Oh, it is surreptitious photos of women, and children, being posted. That is still illegal around here. You aren’t allowed to use media of anyone without their consent. Never the less, it certainly is a case of boys will be boys mentality, and of course that’s bullshit.
    There is a serious double standard in society, as that phrase/meme illuminates.
    And anyways, doesn’t a picture of someone constitute ‘outing them’ or revealing who they are by having someone possibly being recognized? The only thing I can see to do would be to publicize this covering up of anti-social activity by reddit, much as this type of notoriety has forced Facebook to change their policies.
    This is seriously sleazy policy for reddit to follow.

  9. chrislawson says

    Of course he has a right to privacy, but all rights have conditional limits and he has transgressed the boundaries so egregiously and so hypocritically (given his attitude to other people’s right to privacy) that he has completely lost any such right. My only caveat would be against outing his home address, phone number, etc, and that’s not because I care about his privacy but because I don’t like possible vigilantism.

  10. says

    I wonder how many people on creepshot or jailbait reddits are in positions of authority over minors. Communities deserve to know so they can make choices about personal safety.

  11. says

    Ah yes. Fascinating. Pictures of your mostly naked butt and/or breasts lifted and reposted for obviously prurient purposes, this requires no consent…

    … But publishing the identity of someone who posts such things does, so far as the Reddit people are concerned…

    No problem. Let me handle this:

    (Clears throat, pulls out megaphone…)

    Attention, Reddit: investigative pieces revealing the identities of net creeps are my porn! That shit totally turns me on! Oh, yeah, baby! More! More! I want a drive full of that stuff!! Free speech 4evah babee!!

    (Pause…)

    ‘Kay. I think you can assume that distant sound of muffled explosions and tormented, buckling sheet metal is the Internet breaking.

    (/You’re welcome.)

  12. Tony Sidaway says

    From Amanda’s article:

    “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.”

    Fortunately the courts are becoming wise to these creeps. One Tyneside voyeur visited the Green Fair and the Fun Run using a concealed camcorder to film women urinating in public. Arrested thanks to an alert woman and her husband, Christopher Swyer was publicly exposed as a pervert and convicted of voyeurism. He complained that the urinating women were the ones breaking the law, but that didn’t go down well in court.

  13. Armored Scrum Object says

    @xmaseveeve #5:

    ‘jailbait’? WTF?

    It’s a slang term for girls (and, rarely, boys; the term has occasionally been used to describe e.g. Taylor Lautner and Justin Bieber) under the local/presumed age of consent who are nevertheless viewed as sexually attractive. The idea is that they are tempting, but you’ll go to jail if you actually pursue them. Hence “jailbait”. Wikipedia and TV Tropes have whole articles on it if you care to explore it further.

    The underlying concept has arguably been a staple of pop rock for decades. Just off the top of my head*, Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock and Roll”, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “What’s Your Name”, Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded”, The Cars’ “Let’s Go”, Benny Mardones’s “Into the Night”, and Heart’s “Magic Man” all imply it pretty heavily, with IIRC at least half of those songs having an explicit reference to the age of the object of the narrator’s affections. Just in case you held any illusions that this is merely some recent and obscure Internet thing…

    *: No, seriously. I did briefly look them up on YouTube, but only to check that I wasn’t getting the artists/titles wrong or even lying through my teeth based on half-assed confirmation-bias-filtered memories. American “classic rock” playlists are surprisingly limited. The Benny Mardones reference comes from a relative — for whom I once made a mix CD — being a fan of that song, in which the age reference is in the first line. It’s not like I know all the songs word-for-word, but given that list of tracks, one could dig up the relevant lyrics.

  14. barrypearson says

    Something weird is happening across the Internet that leaves me puzzled. Using a pseudonym or false name appears to have become the default, even where there is no apparent reason to.

    If most of us routinely went around in public disguised so that we would could not be recognised by others, directly or via CCTV, would that change public behaviour? Are we all bottling up nastiness until we can express it anonymously?

    #11 chrislawson
    Of course he has a right to privacy, but all rights have conditional limits and he has transgressed the boundaries so egregiously and so hypocritically (given his attitude to other people’s right to privacy) that he has completely lost any such right.

    I won’t argue with that in this case. But someone malicious might (spuriously) use similar arguments to suppress valid political statements of whistle-blowing or unwelcome opinions. Who decides?

    I can’t formulate a general policy (or even a coherent opinion) here about anonimity and exposure of identity. I’m very confused!

    (I always blog and comment under my own name. But I have the luxury of having views that won’t get me shot or vilified. Or is that just a pretense?)

  15. Tony •Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze• says

    barrypearson:

    (I always blog and comment under my own name. But I have the luxury of having views that won’t get me shot or vilified. Or is that just a pretense?)

    I think you’re both right and wrong. There are indeed people that hide behind the anonymity of a pseudonym to indulge in questionable activities (unethical and immoral in some cases; I imagine there are situations where some people engage in illegal activities too).
    However, there are many people who feel the need to use a pseudonym for protection. There are people who fear retribution if the wrong person found out about even the most innocuous of activities. Take some of the commenters here at FtB. There are a great many atheists who post at the various blogs here and some of them live in areas, or work in environments where-if the wrong person found out they were atheist (or even frequenting atheist sites)-their jobs, lives and/or families could be threatened. Each poster decides for themselves what risk they’re willing to take online. Myself, I’ve chosen to use my real first name. Others I’ve spoken to are justifiably afraid of actions taken against them if they used their real names.

  16. Armored Scrum Object says

    Something weird is happening across the Internet that leaves me puzzled. Using a pseudonym or false name appears to have become the default, even where there is no apparent reason to.

    In large part, it’s a lingering and/or resurgent tradition that dates back to before cyberspace was synonymous with the Internet. You probably only find it “weird” because participation in cyberspace is now “normal”. For quite a few people who are currently active online, it was a formative experience to be confronted with a blank “Username” field where the only restrictions were things like “must begin with a letter, be 6-12 characters in length, and contain no punctuation other than underscores and dashes”, and where the system was run by a pseudonymous authority like “The Adventurer” or “Big Boy”. Particularly when you’re a nerdy middle schooler who hasn’t even truly established a real-world identity yet, that represents a kind of power, and not one you give up lightly.

  17. mildlymagnificent says

    Anonymity on the internet is the only way people who are escaping an abusive partner can participate without being easily identified or located.

    Likewise for people in certain jobs. Cops, teachers, many public servants are obliged to not state their personal, political views publicly. A pseudonym is very handy sometimes so people can’t link your statements back to your employer.

  18. opposablethumbs says

    I always blog and comment under my own name. But I have the luxury of having views that won’t get me shot or vilified.

    And you’re also a bloke, it would seem. As Tony pointed out, many people need to protect themselves for any number of reasons (employers’/society’s rejection of atheists in some parts of the world is just one example). You may not have noticed the testerical reaction in some quarters to the mere act heinous crime of posting while identifiably or presumptively female.

  19. carlie says

    (I always blog and comment under my own name. But I have the luxury of having views that won’t get me shot or vilified. Or is that just a pretense?)

    It doesn’t even have to be any of the other more serious reasons people have mentioned – do you routinely tell everyone you know everything that goes through your head? Really? Are your conversations with your spouse the same as the ones with your mother, are those the same as those with your boss, the same as those with your friends? You reveal different amounts and types of information to different social groups, and you keep those spheres separate. That’s simply necessary for society to work. The only way to keep those spheres separate on the internet is to use a different ‘nym for each.

  20. johnthedrunkard says

    Invoking privacy is a cheap excuse for inaction. When I was impersonated online–a whole website in my name, promoting notions I find disgusting–every attempt to identify the creep was blocked. Because privacy.

    These people didn’t grasp, even when I used small words, that the privacy that was violated was mine; that the impersonation was illegal and defamatory.

    Add blokism and sex and bring to a boil (or maybe a carbuncle).

  21. barrypearson says

    #18: Tony •Queer Duck Overlord of The Bronze
    …. There are indeed people that hide behind the anonymity of a pseudonym to indulge in questionable activities (unethical and immoral in some cases; I imagine there are situations where some people engage in illegal activities too)…. However, there are many people who feel the need to use a pseudonym for protection. There are people who fear retribution if the wrong person found out about even the most innocuous of activities.

    Perhaps in #17 it wasn’t clear enough that I recognised those cases. I made the point there that while we may “out” really nasty people, others may “out” people we might think are not nasty, for the purpose of suppressing valid political statements or whistle-blowing or unwelcome opinions. And I recognised that I had the luxury of not risking being shot.

    But I read and write to such things as photography forums, where the topics are what cameras are best and how to archive your images. And many people there are not using their own names.

    I accept fully the statements of “mildlymagnificent #20″. And to a lesser extent “opposablethumbs #21″: I’ve never seen personal attacks on women in photography forums, and given the pioneering work of women in photography (and the nature of the topic) I wouldn’t have expected to. Besides, in respectable forums abuse simply would not be tolerated. But if they get abuse elsewhere, they may choose not to take the risk there either.

    #19 Armored Scrum Object
    In large part, it’s a lingering and/or resurgent tradition that dates back to before cyberspace was synonymous with the Internet.

    I remember the pre-web days. (I remember pre-Internet days!) But I would have expected things to move on. The web has opened up the Internet/cyberspace to a less technical community who weren’t there before. Different conventions could have evolved, but appear not to have done.

    #22 carlie
    You reveal different amounts and types of information to different social groups, and you keep those spheres separate. That’s simply necessary for society to work. The only way to keep those spheres separate on the internet is to use a different ‘nym for each

    I “sort of” agree with this. But I’ve encountered respected people, who are writing about their field of expertise and have nothing to fear, who still write anonymously or with a pseudonym. (I once created a Wikipedia page, then found myself co-editing it with the UK’s – actually the world’s – leading expert on part of the topic without knowing who he was until he got in touch later).

    I had those in mind when I said: “Using a pseudonym or false name appears to have become the default, even where there is no apparent reason to.”

  22. Kels says

    I think one other reason for pseudonymity has been missed, and while not serious like the other reasons I consider it quite valid – having a nifty username is fun!

    Now I’m not using one here, but I do elsewhere like the art forums I’m on, or certain other forums. Generally speaking, I use things like “mouseface” or whatever as just an amusing diversion, and I expect an awful lot of other people do too. And, of course, sometimes it’s just a simple habit. Someone who’s used a specific name for a long while may continue to use it in the future on other forums, and will be recognizable thereby. Nothing particularly wrong with that either, but nothing terribly deep about it.

  23. says

    Also, there’s a difference between posting a picture of someone walking down the street vs. a picture taken up someone’s skirt or down their shirt. Those are invading privacy that is not given up by simply appearing clothed in public.

  24. jb says

    I love Amanda Marcotte

    pandagon was my first exposure to feminism online

    and this violentacrez guy deserves everything he gets
    i hope he is humiliated hardcore

  25. Rodney Nelson says

    barrypearson #26

    Perhaps in #17 it wasn’t clear enough that I recognised those cases. I made the point there that while we may “out” really nasty people, others may “out” people we might think are not nasty, for the purpose of suppressing valid political statements or whistle-blowing or unwelcome opinions. And I recognised that I had the luxury of not risking being shot.

    No it wasn’t clear enough. You made it obvious that you thought using pseudonyms was cowardly and unethical, albeit you admitted there might by chance be some highly unusual cases where perhaps it could be possible, unlikely as it might seem, that some misguided weaklings might mistakenly think they have almost semi-quasi-legitimate reasons to hide behind pseudonyms.

    I use pseudonyms for my own protection but it’s none of your damn business why I use them. Sorry if reality doesn’t match your wishful thinking.

  26. says

    Hey. He didn’t make it obvious at all – that’s not what I get from reading his comment.

    Let’s not get all self-righteous about pseudonymous commenting, ok? Yes, a lot of people need to be pseudonymous for good reasons. But at the same time, a lot of other people use pseudonymity to abuse people who use their real names, with total impunity. Both are true.

  27. leni says

    But if they get abuse elsewhere, they may choose not to take the risk there either.

    I do it simply because if I want to include someone in my “real” life I’ll make an effort to do so. There are a lot of people I don’t want to know hence usernames unconnected to my legal name. I don’t want personal emails from people I don’t know. For me it’s just more a matter of trust and making an effort to not expose myself to annoying or potential dangerous people. If I become friendly enough with someone online and I trust them, I’ll share my info.

    In any case, while I’m glad I have this anonymity, I also realize that the rug could be pulled out from under my feet at any moment. Anyone who wanted to could find out who I am easily enough, I’m sure. If I were using my anonymity to harass others or post creepy pictures of them I would fully expect someone to get pissed off enough to do it.

    Makes me wonder, though, wtf did he think was going to happen? Even that jackass had to know this day was coming.

  28. Rodney Nelson says

    Ophelia #31

    I have a legitimate reason for using a pseudonym and pseudonyms have been an established part of the internet for years. So I get annoyed when someone says:

    Something weird is happening across the Internet that leaves me puzzled. Using a pseudonym or false name appears to have become the default, even where there is no apparent reason to.

    If most of us routinely went around in public disguised so that we would could not be recognised by others, directly or via CCTV, would that change public behaviour? Are we all bottling up nastiness until we can express it anonymously?

    I read that as “I don’t understand why anyone should use a pseudonym.” Later barrypearson admits he spends most of his internet time discussing technical aspects of photography. If that’s what I did on the internet, I wouldn’t use a pseudonym either. In fact, there’s a couple of sites where I do use my real name because they’re strictly professional sites (one is the website of my professional society) and we’re discussing purely professional topics. But I’ll use a pseudonym at an atheist website like FTB because I don’t want to be outed as an atheist (actually for professional reasons, my boss is a fundamentalist Christian).

    Perhaps I was too harsh with barrypearson, but I don’t think he realizes the majority of people using pseudonyms are not predators.

  29. says

    Ok, but then you could tell him that, without getting huffy.

    My view on this is no doubt warped by the way pseudonymous shits use their freedom and safety to fuck up my life. No doubt. But then this is my blog, so you could keep it in mind. My blog isn’t the best place to get all truculent about the rights of the pseudonymous.

  30. eric says

    Its so wierd to think there are people defending such practices ‘in truth,’ when very likely the professionals who started the whole business wouldn’t. P o r n is basically like WWF wrestling: if you think its real, you’re being naive. The same, I’d expect, goes for 99% of all the supposedly illicit photos professionaly produced by companies that want your money. Its an entertainment business, people; the folks you are watching are acting. No laws or bones were actually broken, they just pretended they were for effect.

    These reddit guys are like people who jump on their little brothers in the back yard, and when someone gets hurt, complain that they saw The Ultimator do it last night. Grow up – the Ultimator did not actually do what he claimed he did, and neither should you.

  31. barrypearson says

    #33 Rodney Nelson
    Later barrypearson admits he spends most of his internet time discussing technical aspects of photography. If that’s what I did on the internet, I wouldn’t use a pseudonym either.

    No, I didn’t say that, not do I do that!

    I was commenting that even in photography forums, it is common to use pseudonyms.

    I probably spend far more time criticising Islam, Christianity, and religions in general, and generally saying what I think about the pillocks trying to run the UK and other things.

    I have the luxury of living in England where I am unlikely to get shot.

    And I believe that those of us who can, should “stand up and be counted”, to provide a sort of protective umbrella for those who can’t. A bit like flocks of birds and shoals of fish providing protection in numbers for those in the middle.

  32. Sudo Me says

    Eric @37 these are not professionals. These are girls in class, being photographed by their teacher during school. A manager being photographed by a subordinate.

    These are women who are, y’know, going around living their life and existing.

    Quit trying to derail by claiming this is all staged and fake.

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