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Published on January 28th, 2015 | by Claudia Poposki

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(NSFW) Consent, it’s a basic Human Right!

Revenge porn is when someone’s personal and private naked pictures are released for the world to see. While the primary source of revenge porn are lovers or exes who feel they have a right to do this, more recently hackers have started to do this. Revenge porn does mostly affect women, being the subject 90% of the time.

It is used as a tool to humiliate women, to put them on display for the world to see without their permission, to tear them down a notch or two. On Tuesday January 27th, Taylor Swift announced over Tumblr that her Twitter and Instagram accounts were hacked.  The singer did tweet that the hackers were threatening to release naked pictures of her, earning the reply “PS any hackers saying they have ‘nudes’? Psssh you’d love that wouldn’t you! Have fun photoshopping cause you got NOTHING.”

In the days leading up to the hacks, it was announced that Taylor Swift’s album 1989 had sold over 4 million copies, her fifth album to achieve this. So, Taylor Swift does something incredible. She has reached a record that no one has reached since her last album, Red. Yet some people think it’s okay to hack into her social media accounts in order to exploit her? Revenge porn is not okay in any circumstance whatsoever, but using it to tear down successful women?

I don’t understand the logic behind it. I mean, what is the motive? To make someone that thinks that they’re owed something feel better about themselves? Is it because they’re afraid of successful women?

The same scenario occurred after Emma Watson made her He for She speech as the United Nations’ Women Goodwill Ambassador. The website “Emma You Are Next” was set up with a countdown threatening to release nude photos of the actress.  In the end it turned out to be a prank designed to shut down 4chan. This still highlights how a group of people think it’s okay to abuse a woman’s privacy in order to prank another organisation. It’s like women aren’t people at all. Oh wait, didn’t Emma Watson just finish her speech trying to get men to think the opposite? Watson had this to say on the matter, “Even worse than seeing women’s privacy violated on social media is reading the accompanying comments that show such a lack of empathy.” Anonymous Twitter users also attempted to get #RIPEmmaWatson trending, spreading rumours about her dying in her hotel room. This was all because a group of people didn’t like what she had to say.

People have made businesses out of dehumanising and humiliating people who fall victims to revenge porn. Hunter Moore set up “Is Anyone Up?”, a website that allowed for the anonymous submission of nude photographs. The website was shut down in 2012 and Moore was arrested for his actions in January 2014 by the FBI. In 2011, it was reported that Moore made $13,000 a month off of the site, and that the page incurred 30 million views a month. That is 30 million people a month looking at something that was not posted with your permission. That is 30 million people, that you may or may not know, viewing your body, scrutinising it and making comments that they have no right to make. I don’t understand how someone could be comfortable with making money from exploiting other people’s bodies.

Some women aren’t standing for this though, after feeling exploited for so long they are taking control of their bodies. Emma Holten is one of those women. After naked images of her were released in October 2011, she received an tidal wave of hate,

“These messages were from men all over the world. Teen boys, university students, nuclear-family dads. The only thing they had in common was that they were all men. They knew it was against my will, that I didn’t want to be on those sites. The realisation that my humiliation turned them on felt like a noose around my neck. The absence of consent was erotic, they relished my suffering. It’s one thing to be sexualised by people who are attracted to you, but it’s quite another thing when the lack of a ‘you’, when dehumanization, is the main factor.” 

The hate went on for two years before Holten hired a photographer and took images of herself naked. She posted them herself online in a way of taking back her body. Her photographer, Cecilie Bødker wasn’t even sure if she could take these images without catering to the male gaze, but Holten insisted she try.

“The pictures are an attempt at making me a sexual subject instead of an object. I am not ashamed of my body, but it is mine. Consent is key. Just as rape and sex have nothing to do with each other, pictures shared with and without consent are completely different things” says Holten.

Some people will think that by posting your own naked images, with your consent, is just adding fuel to the fire. Some think that they won’t be seen any differently from images posted without consent.

After posting an article about Herself, a project by Caitlin Stasey, I had this very same discussion with a friend of mine. I was raving about how great I thought the project was, how the images were inspired, and she asked how these pictures were any different. I responded that the motive was different, that consent was there. By controlling the message, the people who do post naked images of themselves, by choice, were able to promote positive connotations of their sexuality. I personally believe it is empowering. I can understand why some may not, but naked images on their own are not harmful. Sending a nude picture to your partner with your consent is not a crime. It’s fun and a part of many relationships. Posting them online or even showing them to people without your partner’s consent is not cool; that is a crime. Posting nude images of someone without their consent to humiliate and shame them is wrong on so many levels.

This article was not intended to exclude or lessen that of the experiences of male victims. It just so happens that the majority of the victims of revenge porn are women. This article was intended to highlight that revenge porn is a thing that exists, that some people believe it’s okay to post images of someone without consent.

Consent is a basic human right. It saddens me that there are still some people in the world that need to learn that.

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About the Author

Claudia Poposki

Hey! I'm a third year journalism student at UOW. I sell shoes when I'm not studying. I am interested in rights issues and how they are interpreted in the media.



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