Those sharing stolen photos are not acting like Edward Snowden – they are behaving like the NSA


In the 36 hours or so since the stolen intimate photos of movie and music stars began to be published online, I have read some outstandingly stupid justifications and excuses for their distribution.

Most of them are depressingly familiar from other discussions of sexual violation. Typical arguments include that these (mostly) female stars have previously traded on their sexuality, so have forfeited their right to say “no” to any other appropriation of their sexuality; that by allowing private photos to be taken in the first place they were ‘asking for it’ and so have no right to complain if someone takes advantage; or that it is all some deliberate publicity ploy and that they were probably complicit in the leaks – or in other words, they wanted it really.

Amongst all this predictably disingenuous balderdash is one claim that I’ve seen repeatedly on various Reddit threads and by several commentators on this Guardian thread. This argument equates the release of the stars’ private photos to the leaking of the NSA files by Edward Snowden, and suggesting that if one approves of the latter, it is hypocritical to object to the former.

There are many things I could say in response to this, but the most polite and restrained is that it is completely upside down and back to front.

The horrifying truth revealed by the Snowden files is that none of us can ensure our privacy. Our electronic communications and digital records, including those we consider most personal and private, can be harvested at any time by arcane wings of the governing establishment with minimal democratic oversight or control. These spooky voyeurs can then decide what they want to view, what they want to share, how the materials gleaned can and should be used, and our opportunities to object or resist are close to zero.

The digi-libertarian netizens of 4Chan and Reddit generally get quite exercised and self-righteous about this kind of thing. I find it astonishing that they have yet to grasp that in distributing celebrities’ private photos – at every stage, from hacking the cloud to sharing the photos or links, even in gleefully or lasciviously gazing on every stolen photo – they are not behaving like an army of Edward Snowdens, brave whistleblowers and warriors against censorship and state secrecy. They are behaving exactly like the NSA they claim to despise – snooping, violating and exploiting without restraint or control.

The right to retain a private life and to hold one’s own personal secrets, shared intimacies and autonomy over one’s physical body and sexuality, is indeed under profound threat in the 21st century. It makes for a tragic, saddening spectacle to see those who claim to defend the final frontiers of freedom and liberty behaving like the surveillance behemoth they claim to despise.

Comments

  1. says

    Well-said. Since I actively avoid anything with the word celebrity associated, I hadn’t even heard of this, but it’s a repellent idea, this invasion of privacy. I don’t care what someone does or has done, I don’t need to know things they wanted kept private.

  2. Dunc says

    It reminds me of the phone hacking inquiry, when that weasel Coulson tried to mount a “public interest” defence on the basis that the public were interested in salacious details of the private lives of celebrities…

  3. lelapaletute says

    One of those situations where a bunch of keyboard warriors start ganning on about their ‘right’ to do this and that, without ever addressing the fact that what they are doing (legal or not) is morally repugnant and actually hurtful. Just don’t understand how people can be so callous.

    Also, the argument that people who participate in the ‘celebrity industry’ have ceded all rights to privacy and control of their image is exactly parallel to the argument that prostitutes can’t be raped. It’s completely ghoulish, exhibiting a simultaneous fetishization and schadenfreude that makes my skin creep.

  4. Adiabat says

    Ally, what did you think of the argument made by several in the Guardian thread that by posting about it, and making more people aware of it*, the writer was adding to the problem and furthering the invasion of these women’s privacy?

    Some may be getting a cheap thrill out of the pictures, while the Guardian is getting cheap page views and associated revenue.

    * Also, after I post this there will be 4 posts on this thread, 2 of which from people who didn’t know about these photos before your post.

  5. says

    Crossposted from Butterflies and Wheels, with some editing:

    I saw some of the photos of Lawrence, and I’m not really sure the nudes are of her. The non-nude photos are pretty clear, and of good quality, and the face does seem to be hers — but the nude photos are of poorer quality, and the face is less distinct. The nude photos could be of her, or it could be of some look-alike.

    This happens a lot in the porn biz: look-alikes posing as celebrities when the celebrities themselves aren’t available.

    Ally, what did you think of the argument made by several in the Guardian thread that by posting about it, and making more people aware of it*, the writer was adding to the problem and furthering the invasion of these women’s privacy?

    AFAICT, none of the news articles posted links to the photos themselves. They reported the news, and made people aware of the violations of people’s privacy, without facilitating the violations.

  6. Ally Fogg says

    Adiabat (4)

    I chose not to name any of the celebrities involved or to provide any particular clues as to how to track down the photos.

    That said, I think it is a bit of a token gesture. Anyone who has looked at social media today, seen any online news, heard the broadcast news on TV or radio etc etc would find out anyway. I think those criticising the Guardian are talking out their arses if I’m honest.

    In situations like this, outlets like the Guardian cannot win. It is their job to inform people what is happening in the world. This is clearly a story that (from whatever perspective) people are really interested in. If I were a Guardian editor I would probably decide A/ that this story is big enough to necessitate coverage, and B/ It would be inadequate to say there had been leaks of photos of celebrities but not name them, when the entire global media had already done so. All you are doing by that is encouraging people to go read about the story on one of your competitors’ sites.

  7. Thil says

    Ally Fogg

    “I chose not to name any of the celebrities involved or to provide any particular clues as to how to track down the photos”

    can you at least link me to one these reddit threads where there “debating” the issue?

  8. Thil says

    “All you are doing by that is encouraging people to go read about the story on one of your competitors’ sites”

    I don’t know if there right or wrong to publish the names but that kind of seems like a bullshit basis for you to defend them Ally. I mean when did we start accepting “it’s good for business” as a good defence for doing anything wrong?

  9. Jacob Schmidt says

    Ally, what did you think of the argument made by several in the Guardian thread that by posting about it, and making more people aware of it*, the writer was adding to the problem and furthering the invasion of these women’s privacy?

    Looks like a form of concern trolling, as far as I can tell. Had the Guardian and others gone to far in publicizing these photo’s (e.g. links to threads where the photos were published) I’d probably have a problem, but simply discussing the matter? No, the argument looks like an ad hoc excuse to tell people to shut people up.

  10. Ally Fogg says

    Thil

    Oh heavens, there are literally thousands of them. So many that it has become almost impossible to find any specific using searches.

    Here’s one I remember and found: http://www.reddit.com/r/TwoXChromosomes/comments/2f4mdb/angry_rant_about_naked_ladies/

    …and if you really need me too I could go back through my history and try to find examples, but the nature of Reddit is that comments move up and down and so even then it would be a bit of a pain in the arse and I’d rather not!

  11. Jacob Schmidt says

    I mean when did we start accepting “it’s good for business” as a good defence for doing anything wrong?

    The argument seems to be more along the lines of “This is already public, and abstaining will do no good,” not “Its good for business, so it’s acceptable.” Moreover, the author is not merely publicizing, but is taking a hardline against the violation of privacy.

  12. AsqJames says

    Thil @ 8,

    “All you are doing by that is encouraging people to go read about the story on one of your competitors’ sites”
    I don’t know if there right or wrong to publish the names but that kind of seems like a bullshit basis for you to defend them Ally. I mean when did we start accepting “it’s good for business” as a good defence for doing anything wrong?

    Are we accepting that?

    I haven’t read any of the coverage, but I’d wager the Guardian’s editorial line is somewhat different from some of their competitors. Having a different perspective (or believing you may cover a story differently from others) is surely one of the things that motivates journalists and editors.

  13. drken says

    I guess some people have to justify why they want to look at private, naked pictures of Kate Upton and J-Law, so they come up with some flimsy way to compare it to somebody who took real risks to expose actual wrongdoing. No, you want to see those pictures because you think these women are attractive and (in general) straight men like looking at pictures of naked, attractive women. Especially attractive women they haven’t already seen naked. Add some “bonus points” for famous women and the taboo of looking at somebody else’s private photos and there you go. Seriously guys, you can lie to me, but don’t lie to yourselves.

  14. Archy says

    The nofap reddit sure is interesting, a lot of them are falling off the bandwagon.

    And I believe J-Law’s J-Lawyers confirmed the pics. Apple needs to step up as they’re partly at fault here.

  15. Archy says

    It’s interesting that so many are treating this as something only against women. It was Justin Verlander’s account that got hacked, he was in some of photos apparently if internet commentary on it is legit.

  16. says

    Maybe because leaking photos of naked men is hardly the same thing in this culture and climate. Not to say that it is cool or anything, not that it isn’t a violation, but the effects are on a different order.

    You’ll also pretty much notice that the groups searching out these pictures (and the one’s who are into this sort of thing in general) don’t give a hoot about pictures of naked men.

  17. Lucy says

    “You’ll also pretty much notice that the groups searching out these pictures (and the one’s who are into this sort of thing in general) don’t give a hoot about pictures of naked men.”

    Heterosexual men and Perez Hilton?

    I don’t think Lady Godiva would fare so well in the 21st Century. Everyone’s a Peeping Tom now.

  18. Archy says

    What is rape-lite?

    If Ryan Gosling’s had been hacked, I wonder how many women would be looking for the pics?

  19. says

    Lucy: because I was looking at a particular porn site and someone happened to post a link to the (alleged) JL photos. No “rape-lite” involved.

  20. Pete says

    I agree that what happened was a gross invasion of privacy, and many of the arguments in the Guardian comments section were awful (no, you don’t give up any right to privacy when you become famous, yes, we should be able to trust iCloud and other cloud services to keep our pictures/documents safe, especially as big companies are pushing us to use them more and more without necessarily being clear that they’re doing so), but I think you slightly misrepresented the NSA argument. When I saw it, it was in response to the article’s premise that anyone looking at the leaked photos should be criminalized for, essentially, receiving stolen goods (I saw the stolen goods argument a number of times).

    The analogy is sound I think. Both involve data obtained illegally, both involve things that the owners of the data wouldn’t want made publicly available. If you think that people viewing data obtained illegally should be prosecuted for it, then you’re saying, by analogy, that those viewing Snowden’s or Assange’s leaked files should be prosecuted. I can’t think of any way to frame a law that would catch those viewing pictures of naked celebrities that wouldn’t also catch those viewing the Snowden files. Public interest may be a defence but if it doesn’t work in the case of the leaker (see Manning) then I’m not sure how it would work in the case of the viewer.

    To be clear, the only sentence I take issue with from the linked article is the following. “There are suggestions that prosecution may result not only for the hacker of the photos, but for those who view and share them. Good.”

    That said, people shouldn’t seek out the pictures. They’re none of your, or my, business. The people in question intended them to be private and we should respect that. There is no possible public interest angle. There are plenty of pictures of naked people, including celebs, that have been put on the internet voluntarily for your pleasure. I entirely agree with the final two paragraphs of this article.

    On the question of whether the the Guardian was right to highlight this, I have only seen it discussed on the G’s website and, now, here, and I’m sure it’s true for many that they wouldn’t know about it if it wasn’t for those articles. However, I think they were right to publish, if only to highlight the security issues with internet based storage. It’s then predictable that the Guardian gets is standard sexism angle on the whole thing, but in this case I believe it’s justified.

  21. Lucy says

    Archy: “If Ryan Gosling’s had been hacked, I wonder how many women would be looking for the pics?”

    Point is that it wasn’t and they aren’t.

  22. says

    Raging Bee: “Lucy: because I was looking at a particular porn site and someone happened to post a link to the (alleged) JL photos. No “rape-lite” involved.”

    You clicked on the link on the porn site you say?

    Well there goes the flimsy justification of consent.

  23. Holms says

    #4 Adiabat
    Ally, what did you think of the argument made by several in the Guardian thread that by posting about it, and making more people aware of it, the writer was adding to the problem and furthering the invasion of these women’s privacy?

    An event happened: emails were compromised and intimate photos were published, raising security concerns over Apple’s email service and of course salacious, gossipy curiosity over the photos themselves. News outlets are in the business of reporting on events that happen, especially if they are of concern to the public. Therefore they report on this event.

    I for one find this claimed argument to likely be an attempt to stop people reporting that there is a problem at all, in a ‘let’s look the other way and just allow the status quo to continue’ sort of way.

  24. says

    Yes, I clicked on a link and didn’t know what was in it until I saw it. It wasn’t labelled a “nude celebs” site or anything else of the sort. Not sure what “flimsy justification of consent” you’re talking about.

  25. Archy says

    @Raging, maybe she wants you to admit how badddddddd you areee. Repent, sinner! 😛

    @Lucy, no, the point is there is an epic level of hypocrisy surrounding this issue where the 2 male celebs were barely mentioned in favour of saying how badddd the women get it. Dave Franco and Justin Verlander were 2 of the male victims for instance but people don’t say the violation of women’s AND men’s privacy, they simply say violation of women’s privacy.

    Quite frankly there are a lot of privacy violations surrounding celebrity status. The tabloids n gossip mags are utterly disturbing. Stars can’t even have some damn peace n quiet when they’re with their children. Personally I’d rather people look at nudes of me even if stolen than annoy my children but I do see how it is a violation either way. Honestly, I don’t know why paparazzi behaviour is even legal, nor the magazines, etc ready to spread gossip n pay for pictures of topless celebs who don’t consent to the pictures either (like Kate Middleton).

    Is there actual psychological research on why celebrities are so important to some peoples lives?

  26. Lucy says

    Raging Bee

    “Yes, I clicked on a link and didn’t know what was in it until I saw it. It wasn’t labelled a “nude celebs” site or anything else of the sort. ”

    What did the link say?

    —-
    “Not sure what “flimsy justification of consent” you’re talking about.”

    The excuse given for the rest of the degrading and violating images of women you were looking at.

  27. Lucy says

    Archy

    “@Raging, maybe she wants you to admit how badddddddd you areee. Repent, sinner! ”

    That would be a start. Somehow I’ve managed to avoid seeing them and I haven’t even been trying that hard.

    —-

    “@Lucy, no, the point is there is an epic level of hypocrisy surrounding this issue where the 2 male celebs were barely mentioned in favour of saying how badddd the women get it. ”

    What hypocrisy?

    —-

    “Dave Franco and Justin Verlander were 2 of the male victims for instance but people don’t say the violation of women’s AND men’s privacy, they simply say violation of women’s privacy.”

    What people? Say when?

    Maybe men and women have different standards of privacy. What with women having to contend with male predators and men not.

    —–
    “Quite frankly there are a lot of privacy violations surrounding celebrity status. The tabloids n gossip mags are utterly disturbing. Stars can’t even have some damn peace n quiet when they’re with their children. Personally I’d rather people look at nudes of me even if stolen than annoy my children but I do see how it is a violation either way. Honestly, I don’t know why paparazzi behaviour is even legal, nor the magazines, etc ready to spread gossip n pay for pictures of topless celebs who don’t consent to the pictures either (like Kate Middleton).
    Is there actual psychological research on why celebrities are so important to some peoples lives?”

    Of course.

  28. says

    Maybe men and women have different standards of privacy. What with women having to contend with male predators and men not.

    It never cease to surprise me how easy and conveniently people erase the existence of male predators and female predators who prey on men.

    So far it seems like mainstream media aren’t going to touch/print or comment on the leaked picture of these women. However, when someone in 2006 hacked into Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz’ phone (or more accurately: sidekick account) and leaked some nude photos of him mainstream media like Elle and Huffington Post saw no problem with not only publishing the pictures, but also commenting on the size of his penis and his pubic grooming habits when interviewing him (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/11/18/pete-wentzs-nude-photo-la_n_144724.html).

    Imagine if HuffPost reprinted an interview with Jennifer Lawrence which had statements like this:
    Interviewer: But if a picture of your breasts and genitals are going to get leaked online, you could do much worse than yours.
    Interviewer: I don’t want you to think I lingered on the photo, but I did notice that you looked groomed down there.

    This site called Pete Wentz a wuzz for being upset about it: http://ohnotheydidnt.livejournal.com/84565485.html

  29. Adiabat says

    I probably shouldn’t ask a question when I’m too busy to check in again and reply to people who’ve responded 🙂 .

    I’ll summarise the various responses below rather than reply individually.

    RE: They didn’t link directly to the images

    In the age of google is that really a valid argument anymore? Any writer mentioning this knows that they are notifying people that these images are out there. Is there really much difference nowadays between telling people these images exist and providing a link?

    RE: People would’ve found out anyway

    I don’t think this is the case. Chances are there will be some people who wouldn’t have found out if not for the Guardian articles on it. (I’ve counted 5 articles so far on this).

    RE: People are just concern trolling.

    No, I think pointing out that there is an inherent contradiction in the article is valid. That contradiction may be justified by other arguments but pointing out that contradiction is there isn’t concern trolling. Though some of the people doing it may be lying about not knowing about the story beforehand just to make a point.

    RE: They are just reporting the news

    I agree that the Guardian should report the news. (Likewise, gaming news sites should have reported on the Zoe Quinn debacle when it happened last week, for exactly the same reason: It is news.)

    Notwithstanding whether that justification warrants the Guardian publishing 5 articles on it, we are also getting moralising about the invasion of privacy “at all levels”: so they are not just ‘reporting the news’. The moral point they are making directly contradicts their reporting on it.

    However I think an argument could be made that the additional breaches of privacy that the Guardian made is outweighed by the good done by pointing out that these breaches are unacceptable, as silence may have given the false impression that no-one finds it unacceptable. I.E the good done to society as a whole by the article outweighs the harm done to the individual women.

    Lucy (28):

    The excuse given for the rest of the degrading and violating images of women you were looking at.

    You’re Begging the Question, as you haven’t yet established that looking at typical porn is something in need of justification.

  30. Archy says

    “What people? Say when?”

    Many of the articles I’ve seen about it so far, YMMV.

    “What with women having to contend with male predators and men not.”

    Ummm, what? Did you word this correctly? There are heappppsss of cases of male predators, even female predators who sexually abuse men.

    “What hypocrisy?”
    See the Fallout boy issue as someone just mentioned.

    “Is there actual psychological research on why celebrities are so important to some peoples lives?”

    I meant to add, did anyone have links to the research.

  31. Jacob Schmidt says

    That contradiction may be justified by other arguments but pointing out that contradiction is there isn’t [necessarily] concern trolling.

    There might be some honest debate about the level of reporting we want on privacy violations, to avoid inadvertently furthering them. I’m seeing none, however.

  32. Holms says

    #28
    What did the link say?
    ___
    The excuse given for the rest of the degrading and violating images of women you were looking at.

    It’s pretty clear you aren’t interested in anything other than finding guilt regardless of whether there is any present.

    #29
    Maybe men and women have different standards of privacy. What with women having to contend with male predators and men not.

    Did you mean to imply that men are never stalked / spied upon ever? If so, you are incorrect.

    Noting that men can be subjected to breaches of privacy too does not contradict the point that it happens to women more, they are compatible statements.

    #31
    In the age of google is that really a valid argument anymore?

    Yes. A crime happened, it’s news, it gets reported.

    I don’t think this is the case. Chances are there will be some people who wouldn’t have found out if not for the Guardian articles on it.

    No, I think pointing out that there is an inherent contradiction in the article is valid. That contradiction may be justified by other arguments but pointing out that contradiction is there isn’t concern trolling.

    So what? The entire point of a news outlet is to let people know about events that they probably woudn’t otherwise know of. Ceasing reporting just because ‘someone might learn about Bad Thing’ may as well read ‘don’t have news’.

  33. Lucy says

    Tamen: “It never cease to surprise me how easy and conveniently people erase the existence of male predators and female predators who prey on men.”

    Cease to be amazed. Men aren’t feeling terrorised by women, hacking and spying and leering and trading and feeling and attacking and blaming and laughing. That would be the other way around.

  34. Lucy says

    Holms: “It’s pretty clear you aren’t interested in anything other than finding guilt regardless of whether there is any present.

    Luckily it’s present.

  35. Adiabat says

    So today the Guardian is up to 19 articles on this story.

    I’m not sure how far the “Just reporting the news” justification can be stretched.

  36. Holms says

    #35
    Cease to be amazed. Men aren’t feeling terrorised by women, hacking and spying and leering and trading and feeling and attacking and blaming and laughing. That would be the other way around.

    The trend may skew against women more heavily than men, but that does not warrant saying that men are never the victim. Your absolutist stance harms male victims, by allowing the pretense that they don’t exist.

    #36
    Luckily it’s present.

    Except looking at porn is not an admission of guilt of ‘rape lite’, but I see you are of the opinion that all porn is exploitative of women, regardless of the level of choice of the women involved, neatly making all viewers guilty in your view and erasing all female agency in the matter in one fell swoop.

    #38
    So today the Guardian is up to 19 articles on this story.

    I’m not sure how far the “Just reporting the news” justification can be stretched.

    I’ll agree to the extent that this demonstrates a level of hypocrisy – ‘celebrities have had their privacy breached and that’s bad’ used to create a veritable orgy of gossipy articles – but I don’t see that that undermines the general point of reporting on it in the first place.

  37. Lucy says

    Holms

    “Except looking at porn is not an admission of guilt of ‘rape lite’, but I see you are of the opinion that all porn is exploitative of women”
    Practically all of it is. There are extremely rare situations where the necessary precautions are taken to get truly informed consent and where women are not being commodified and exploited. Ethical porn is about as rare as ethical cocaine and ethical arms trading. And I’m going to take a stab in the dark here and say the porn site that shares stolen images of unwilling women isn’t one of those.

    “neatly making all viewers guilty in your view and erasing all female agency in the matter in one fell swoop.”

    Oh the old female agency one. Funny how that evaporates when it comes to non-sexual exploitation like working under the minimum wage or in dangrous sweat shops. Or when the exploited are male.

  38. Holms says

    Funny how that evaporates when it comes to non-sexual exploitation like working under the minimum wage or in dangrous sweat shops. Or when the exploited are male.

    Most people here are of a liberal bent, and would argue in favour of such measures as raising the minimum wage, unionising to advance the cause of the worker etc. Not that your point is especially relevant anyway; it remains that some people have made the choice to enter the sex industry in some capacity and do not regret the decision nor feel that it was made under duress. See: Greta Christina as an example.

    The basic point remains: your stance involves sweeping all such agency away by declaring all of them to have decided under duress or otherwise not competent to decide for themselves. (No mention of why you retain competence to decide in such matters on their behalf though.)

  39. johngreg says

    Lucy said:

    Everyone’s a Peeping Tom now.

    Including you, right? Or are you somehow magically exempt?

    Actually, no, not everyone is a peeping Tom now, nor is everyone a voyeur. Such grandiose generalisations, which you are oft prone to make, are just ludicrous and, as per usual, you do not, and probably cannot, provide any type or kind of evidence/data/research to back up your blather.

    The Furious Blue Bee said:

    because I was looking at a particular porn site and someone happened to post a link to the (alleged) JL photos. No “rape-lite” involved.

    I see. So, what about everyone else? How many were not rape-lite; how many were rape-lite? I am sure in your furious feminist fatalism you can let us all know who was or was not not breaking the rules? Right?

    LOL: To somewhat contradict myself, I guess to some small degree Lucy might be, for once, almost right. We do, to some degree, live in a pretty darned nosey culture, in the sense that in the West, a vast number of people get their daily life-satisfaction jollies from reading about celebrities. It is sad, but somewhat true. Such a state of intellectual affairs is to a major degree fomented and abley assisted, encouraged, and enabled by the media. Nonetheless, and all that being said, I am going to presume and assume that humanity, by and large, has always been nosey in this fashion — nosiness is to some degree just another term for curious. And one of the most important driving forces of the human experience and of knowledge in general, on whatever topic, is curiousity.

    While I do agree to some degree with Ally’s general thesis, I concurrently think that trying to limit or place blinders and/or controls on human curiousity, whatever the topic, is not only a waste of time, but is also, in the big picture, dismissive and/or evasive of reality and is harmful to freedom of expression as expressed in the act of being curious.

    Teh Bee said:

    Yes, I clicked on a link and didn’t know what was in it until I saw it. It wasn’t labelled a “nude celebs” site or anything else of the sort. Not sure what “flimsy justification of consent” you’re talking about.

    HAHAHAHA. What? a totally innocent link with no description whatsoever of content? Ya, right. What was the associated description for the link? Golf tips? Rageable topicalities? Great Bees in history?

    Lucy said:

    “@Lucy, no, the point is there is an epic level of hypocrisy surrounding this issue where the 2 male celebs were barely mentioned in favour of saying how badddd the women get it.”

    What hypocrisy?

    ….

    Maybe men and women have different standards of privacy. What with women having to contend with male predators and men not.

    HAHAHAHAHAHA.

  40. Archy says

    The irony? of some feminists who deny female pornstars agency sure is messed up. It’s misogyny actually to act like these women in most cases cannot choose their own career choices.

    Frankly Lucy, your view on life scares me.

  41. Lucy says

    “I, and other feminists, know that there is a woman’s agency argument out there in support of porn. You don’t have to educate us. But, come on now, calling a woman who objects to the filming of another woman being vomited on for men’s sexual pleasure misogynist because she questions the meaningfulness of the consent? Give me a break.

    You bring up law school — so let me tell you something about it. There’s a whole world of legal thought about the subtlety of voluntariness and consent that has apparently escaped you. As just one example, consider the jurisprudence on voluntary confessions by criminal suspects. Somehow, when liberals question the voluntariness of behavior by criminal suspects (most of whom are economically and socially trod upon, see where I’m going with this?), there is no concern about agency. I wonder why?

    Doesn’t it perturb you at all that it frequently seems to be women in these movies who “consent” to these degrading acts? Why do you think that is? Are we just a more freewheeling gender? Willing to do anything for money? What is it? Where are all the men being vomited on at the movies? If it’s all so beautiful, why don’t you hear more about guys doing it? I don’t think you adequately address this core (and vexing) question.”

    http://www.feministlawprofessors.com/2008/10/if-youre-going-to-talk-about-how-far-weve-come-when-it-comes-to-porn-if-youre-going-to-posit-paul-max-hardcore-little-as-the-latest-victim-of-the-bush-administration-if-youre-going/

  42. says

    Johngreg

    “Including you, right? Or are you somehow magically exempt?”

    Well yes through the magic of having some integrity and not looking at people’s private things. I don’t read private emails or private diaries or look at private photos or snoop around people’s houses, not even when the media invites me to.

    —–
    “Actually, no, not everyone is a peeping Tom now, nor is everyone a voyeur. Such grandiose generalisations, which you are oft prone to make, are just ludicrous and, as per usual, you do not, and probably cannot, provide any type or kind of evidence/data/research to back up your blather.”

    Millions of men have looked at those stolen photos.

    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/03/naked-celebrity-pictures-james-foley-jennifer-lawrence-how-many-viewed

    —-

    “LOL: To somewhat contradict myself, I guess to some small degree Lucy might be, for once, almost right. ”

    Arrogant prick

    —-

    ‘”What hypocrisy?”
    HAHAHAHAHAHA.’

    Do you know what the definition of hypocrisy is?

    So again, what hypocrisy?

  43. Holms says

    @44
    Yes, I see you have quoted someone saying pretty much the same thing you’ve already said but at somewhat greater length. I have already disagreed briefly with your brief comments, but there is some new stuff in this passage that I also find to be dubious.

    For one thing, it appears to be using a very niche kink – getting vomited on – to be representative of all porn, and the participants in that niche to be representative of all porn stars. Even if we grant that the women are there only because of financial pressure, it remains unrepresentative as most porn work is not of that niche. Also, it assumes that the only people with that particular niche are men, and not a single woman could possibly actually share that kink and therefore actually want to appear in such a scene.

    So, while I’ll grant that that niche is repellant to most porn actors and that there are bound to be some participants that are there only grudgingly for the money, it remains that you are erasing the possibility that some have chosen to be there willingly, and you then use this to be representative of all porn and all female participants.

    Speaking of which, why not the men? I can guarantee you that there are men in porn that begrudge having to have sex with people they don’t necessarily find attactive (did you know that half hour long boners can require cialis injected directly into the penis?), but do so out of financial necessity. It seems however that you are continuing in your habit of making absolute statements; this time, all male porn stars are there purely because ‘boning chicks all day long yeeehaaaw!’ or something. In other words, your habit of pretending men can’t be victims of the same things as women continues.

    Regarding the specific questions:
    “Doesn’t it perturb you at all that it frequently seems to be women in these movies who “consent” to these degrading acts?
    No.

    “Why do you think that is?”
    I’m not perturbed by this because there is a prefectly reasonable explanation for the disparity.

    “Are we just a more freewheeling gender?”
    Not that I’m aware of.

    “Willing to do anything for money?”
    Probably no more so than men.

    “What is it?”
    The explanation is simply that there is a greater demand to see women performing in porn, as most of the audience is male and heterosexual, hence there is simply more money available for porn involving women.

    “Where are all the men being vomited on at the movies?” and “If it’s all so beautiful, why don’t you hear more about guys doing it?”
    Mostly answered directly above, but consider also that if there is more demand to see women enact fetish and not men, it is entirely possible that there are perfectly willing men that share this fetish and would like to get paid to participate, but can’t because too few people pay to see that to make such employment available to them.

    #45
    Millions of men have looked at those stolen photos.
    http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/03/naked-celebrity-pictures-james-foley-jennifer-lawrence-how-many-viewed

    The article uses a bit of number crunching combined with a plain old guess, and arrives at 7m searches for her name. It then makes a further unstated assumption that 100% people searching for her name were doing to to find those pictures. Relevant anecdote: *I* googled the name Jennifer Lawrence when the news hit… to find out who the hell Jennifer Lawrence actually was, as I did not quite remember where I’d heard the name before. Not that it was particularly necessary for reading the news, but almost-but-not-quite remembering a name is annoying.

    Anyway, even setting aside the dubious certainty of that figure, it is extremely obvious that your generalisation “Everyone’s a Peeping Tom now.” is far far too absolute, and the article you cite does not back you up in the slightest, as the article itself notes that there are 2.7 thousand million users of the internet. Thus, even if we grant that article as being perfectly accurate, that makes 0.26% of the internet a peeping tom.

    So no, consider your gross generalisation rejected. Millions of men may well have looked at them, but are greatly outnumbered by those that did not.

    [to johngreg] Arrogant prick

    While I agree that this is fairly well applicable to johngreg… aren’t you the person claiming that all women in the sex industry haven’t really given informed consent to enter said industry? That they are all there under duress, and that the ones that disagree with you simply haven’t noticed the coersion?

  44. Lucy says

    “For one thing, it appears to be using a very niche kink – getting vomited on – to be representative of all porn”

    It’s the principle. Getting vomited on might be a niche kink (not that niche, Mike hardcore was a popular porn producer), but the verbal and physical abuse of women in porn certainly isn’t, it’s the standard. 88% in fact.

    Now is there something special about women that they don’t mind it or like it? Women are natural masochists?

    Or are there actually power imbalances at play between men and women, between employer and employee, between consumer and product? The same kind of imbalances at play in other industries where disenfranchised people consent to activities that enfranchised people don’t?

  45. Archy says

    “But, come on now, calling a woman who objects to the filming of another woman being vomited on for men’s sexual pleasure misogynist because she questions the meaningfulness of the consent? Give me a break.”

    I watch quite a bit of porn since I am single but not once have I ever seen vomit porn. I’m sure it exists but even still…the participants can fully choose to be in it. Maybe some get off on it, quite frankly I’m surprised anyone could but there are all kinds of kinks in the world. I don’t know any men afaik that would get off on that but I will agree it sounds completely messed up.

    “Doesn’t it perturb you at all that it frequently seems to be women in these movies who “consent” to these degrading acts? Why do you think that is? Are we just a more freewheeling gender? ”

    Market forces probably. Higher demand in people wanting to see one gender vomited on? It disgusts me that people get off on such stuff but who am I to judge what they get off on? As long as everyone in the act consents then it’s their business.

    There’s nothing wrong with objecting to the vile disgusting stuff in it, I object too but there is something wrong with trying to treat the participants as if they are children and cannot decide for themselves (in this case it’s often the female, hence misogynistic to assume she cannot decide to perform in such a video). If they were coerced into it or forced then the law needs to come down hard on the people involved.

    “Now is there something special about women that they don’t mind it or like it? Women are natural masochists? ”

    Actresses are paid to act. Porn is largely about fantasy. There are some women who do enjoy the acts and some who are ok with being paid to do the acts.

    “Or are there actually power imbalances at play between men and women, between employer and employee, between consumer and product? The same kind of imbalances at play in other industries where disenfranchised people consent to activities that enfranchised people don’t?”

    There is porn of men being degraded, called names, tortured, kicked in the testicles, etc. The market for that type of porn is probably smaller.

    Where did you get the 88% stat from? Of the many thousands of videos I’ve watched, very few had any physical abuse and when it did it was the slap on an ass.

    The verbal abuse aspect, does that include “dirty” talk? I do think the dirty talk and use of the words whore, slut, etc are wayyy over the top and my guess there is something related to the madonna/whore effect going on. It annoys me a lot that the dirty talk, slurs, etc are used so much.

    Do you have a stat for just physical abuse?

  46. mildlymagnificent says

    The verbal abuse aspect, does that include “dirty” talk? I do think the dirty talk and use of the words whore, slut, etc are wayyy over the top and my guess there is something related to the madonna/whore effect going on. It annoys me a lot that the dirty talk, slurs, etc are used so much.

    Too right it does.

    I realise that the producers may not want to do a rom-com style version of pillow talk. But I’d suggest that for couples happy with their sex lives – whether it’s a one night only or a decades long marriage – talk during sex is much more likely to be intimate than abusive or insulting, joking rather than humiliating or belittling, encouraging and supportive rather than bullying. One possible barrier is that a lot of couple-talk is more based on silly personal in-jokes which can only make sense with more information or background than you can fit into a porn flick.

    Even taking all of that into account, name calling as you’ve described it is completely out of place in a non-kinky sexual relationship. Thinking of kink actually makes it even plainer. If you’re going to do and say things that are normally unacceptable for other sexual partners, everyone involved gets to set their own limits for what is and isn’t acceptable. If that hasn’t been agreed, then I’d say offensive name calling is abusive for most people – even if it’s not a majority it would be a large enough minority to make most people avoid it anyway.

  47. Holms says

    Now is there something special about women that they don’t mind it or like it? Women are natural masochists?

    Already answered earlier: mostly hetero male audience, thus mostly female focus in porn.

    Or are there actually power imbalances at play between men and women, between employer and employee, between consumer and product? The same kind of imbalances at play in other industries where disenfranchised people consent to activities that enfranchised people don’t?

    There are doubtless some people that would rather not be doing X job or activity and are only there because they need to pay their bills, but that is not an example of nonconsenting participation. Rather, those with the benefit of e.g. an education, a valuable skill, experience, weath or whatever have a wider range of choices compared to those without such privelages, while the less privelaged have fewer. Thus, even though some may be there out of pragmatism more so than desire, it remains that they still consented to the shoot.

    The thing that bugs me about your stance here though is that, even if we set aside the above reasoning and grant you that entering the sex trade reluctantly out of pragmatism constitutes a breach of consent, you still haven’t accounted for the numerous women in porn that are easily wealthy enough to quit porn immediately, but choose not to. You also haven’t accounted for those that left a non-porn career to enter porn, a clear case of freely given consent. Instead, you continue to make absolute statements that erase all such freedom of choice, so yes god dammit, I maintain that ‘the old female agency one’ is highly a relevant refutation of your sweeping declarations.

  48. Jacob Schmidt says

    Thus, even though some may be there out of pragmatism more so than desire, it remains that they still consented to the shoot.

    I think there’s a point where pragmatism is, effectively, force, and where the consent based on such isn’t very meaningful: if one effectively has no choice, one cannot be said to have made a choice. I’m not sure porn falls into that category, though.

  49. says

    What did the link say?

    Nothing that hinted at the content.

    The excuse given for the rest of the degrading and violating images of women you were looking at.

    How do you know what sort if images I was looking at?

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