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Apr 08 2014

A fair share of the blame

A guy called Freddy Gray takes to the Spectator to say if you don’t like revenge porn then don’t let anyone take pictures of you porning.

,,,surely the answer is not more laws, which would be hard to define and possibly quite limiting of free speech, but for women (and men) to realise that if you let somebody film you in flagrante then you may be setting yourself up for a future disgrace. In the digital age, especially, you are dicing with danger.

I know I know, I’m being a prude. Filming yourselves having sex is just a really bloody normal and sexy thing for consenting adults to do now, like using dildos or wearing bondage gear. Get real man. The bad thing is not the act, but the publication of the material without consent — the breach of trust and so on.

Yet does anyone stop to think about why DIY porn is so popular? Might it not be precisely because it is dangerous? You are recording — committing to film, laying down as reviewable evidence — one of the most private things you can do with a human being. It’s seedy because it is risky. That’s why people feel an urge to do it.

More and more, we expect some official agency to restore our dignity by punishing those who humiliate us. But if you have allowed some creepy bloke (or girl) to turn you into an unwilling porn star, you probably deserve a fair share of the blame.

Actually no, you don’t. Having consensual sex is not blameworthy; taking consensual pictures of that sex is not blameworthy; making such pictures public without consent is blameworthy. Let’s have a little clarity around here. The person who is to blame for revenge porn is the person who unilaterally posts the video or photo to the internet, and no one else.

H/t Christopher Moyer

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Blanche Quizno

    …and if you HAPPEN to get yourself raped at some point, let’s be honest – you shouldn’t have been wearing that/walking there/out at that hour/with him/them/etc. Because let’s face it – when something bad happens to you and it’s got a sexual component, you probably deserve a fair share of the blame.

    As in “ALL OF IT”.

  2. 2
    Vicki

    Does that schmuck even realize, or care, that some of that revenge porn is of women who, in fact, did not “let somebody film them”?

  3. 3
    Tessa

    Does that schmuck even realize, or care, that some of that revenge porn is of women who, in fact, did not “let somebody film them”?

    Well they just weren’t vigilant enough. Didn’t scour every inch of the room to make sure there wasn’t a hidden camera set up. So it’s still their fault for letting them get away with it. That’s the fun of victim blaming, there’s alway something you can say they shoulda done.

    It’s pretty disgusting to me that this guy considers posting sexual images of another person without their consent to be “free speech”.

  4. 4
    Forbidden Snowflake

    This argument keeps getting stupider as filming a person without their knowledge keeps getting easier. But no, actually, fuck that. It’s also stupid in relation to people who got filmed consensually. Because yes, filming yourself has a component of vulnerability, but you know what else does? PRETTY MUCH EVERYTHING IN SEX, that’s what. The reason this person is preaching that letting a partner film you sets you up for disgrace and not that letting him have oral sex with you sets you up for a painful bite is not because getting oral sex isn’t a vulnerable state (it is!), but because only the filming thing has a nasty subculture of trust violation attached to it. So like with the infamous “reasonable precautions against rape”, this is not about vulnerable states, which are an unavoidable part of life, but about abusers of those vulnerable states, who need to stop or to be made to stop.
    And this is actually worse in some way than the “rape precautions”: beyond letting the villains dictate whether you go out at night, this is letting them dictate what you get to do in your private relationship with your lover.

    Another thing that bugged me:

    ,,,surely the answer is not more laws, which would be hard to define and possibly quite limiting of free speech, but for women (and men) to realise that if you let somebody film you in flagrante then you may be setting yourself up for a future disgrace.

    He is suggesting that since forbidding the illicit publication of DIY porn might possibly somehow be limiting to freedom of speech, we should all preemptively and voluntarily limit our consensual sexual activities, because apparently, restricting the things you do with your intimate partner out of fear of abuse is not limiting any freedom worth thinking about. Avoiding taking certain kinds of pictures is not restricted speech as long as it results from fear of violation and not government restriction.
    Loss of freedom: it doesn’t all come from the government.

  5. 5
    rq

    So, in other words, basically, I am constantly misplacing my trust in those with whom I choose to have sex, because they may turn out to be untrustworthy, and I should know that – which basically leads me to the conclusion not to have sex, because I have a hard time having enjoyable sex if I don’t trust the other party. And you know, while that person may seem super-nice and gentle and consenting and forthcoming, having a niggling thought that maaaaybe they’re filming this for revenge porn somewhere down the line? Not sexy at all.

  6. 6
    Silentbob

    @ 5 rq

    You must also never use a public convenience. I’ve heard it is quite possible to secrete a camera in such a place and catch you in the act. You wouldn’t want that on the internet would you? Therefore, realise that in the digital age public elimination is just not on.

    (Of course the alternative would be to pass laws against hiding cameras in public toilets, but I’ve heard such a thing could be “hard to define and possibly quite limiting of free speech”.)

  7. 7
    thascius

    @4-”Loss of freedom: it doesn’t all come from the government.”
    Actually, according to libertarians loss of freedom can only come from government. Or at any rate, if private individuals/organizations/corporations restrict your freedom you should just stop them, and if you don’t have the power to do so you shouldn’t go crying to the government to protect you.

  8. 8
    Ysidro

    More like, “if you don’t like revenge porn then don’t let anyone take a picture of you EVER.” There is a thing called Photoshop. Lack of real sexual imagery is not going to stop someone intent on harassment via revenge porn.

    It always comes back to “stay home and shut up” doesn’t it?

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