This week there’s been a lot of talk about revenge porn. What is revenge porn, you might ask? Urban dictionary provides a good definition: “a nude photograph or video which is publicly shared online (most frequently by an ex-lover of the subject’s) for the purpose of spiteful humiliation.” There are apparently an abundance of websites that cater specifically to exes everywhere wanting to post the sexy pics they took of their previous partners. A few popular examples include isanyoneup.com and submityourex.com.
While revenge porn has been part of modern day culture since the dawn of the internet, it’s gotten a lot of attention lately because of a law suit against the website Texxxan.com. The NY Times highlighted the lawsuit in an article on Monday. This comes alongside legislation being considered in California to criminalize revenge porn. In only one state, New Jersey, is it a crime to distribute images without the subject’s consent. Since it’s not illegal, the posters, the websites, and/or the web hosts (such as GoDaddy.com) are not at fault for posting these pics. (They may not be at fault, but they are jerks. I guess being a jerk isn’t against the law. yet.) The call for criminalization legislation is spearheaded by endrevengeporn.org.
Emily Bazeon’s piece in Slate makes an excellent point: Why do we tolerate revenge porn?
But while legislators are pushing for laws that criminalize the act of revenge porn, what can we do to help prevent it in the first place?
– Talk about the risks of sharing nude photos
– Talk about the responsibility of having nude photos
– Talk about what it might mean if those photos are shared publicly
– Talk about how it might feel for someone to be a victim of revenge porn
– Talk about how society both applauds and abhors revenge porn
– Talk about how if someone voluntarily seeks out and consumes revenge porn, that’s a way of promoting and encouraging the behavior
– Talk about how it’s really all about consent- the poster is sharing something without the consent of the subject
– Talk about how to cope with loss when a relationship has ended, and how to channel negative feelings about an ex into healthier behaviors that don’t involve violating someone’s privacy
We should have a no tolerance policy when it comes to doing things that are nonconsensual, and we also need to help individuals realize that revenge porn is at the end of the day, an unethical, and downright jerky thing to do. And no one wants to be a jerk.