Tracy Clark-Flory has an article in Salon today about the pervs among us: the dudes who think that by wearing a skirt you are inviting them to take pictures of your nether regions and post those pictures on the Internet. Unfortunately, just because you covered your private parts in public doesn't mean that you have a reasonable expectation of maintaining that privacy under the law, and pervy, gross assholes for whom rape-y porn isn't sick enough can wank to your bits later with every expectation that the cops can't — and won't — do a damn thing about it.Clark-Flory writes about to a case where a 34-year-old man took a picture up a 16-year-old girl's skirt but saw his case dismissed because she was in public — and she was practically flashing her cooter by standing in such a way that a man could dive across a floor, and shove a camera between her thighs, so she wasn't entitled to any legal remedy:
Rep. Pam Peterson, R-Tulsa, introduced a bill making it illegal in Oklahoma to take unauthorized photos of someone's private areas in public; it went into effect earlier this month. For the same reason, nearly half the states have had to enact similar laws
The men who take and wank to these pictures like to claim that these are "unsuspecting" or "accidental" photos of women — and most, apparently, don't like the ones to which women have actually consented because it's all about the force involved.
Susan Gallagher, a professor of political science at University of Massachusetts Lowell who teaches classes on gender, privacy and politics, points out, "One of the tricks in pornography is that the target is unaware, because then you have power." She says upskirting presents a lesser sexual challenge than, for instance, the "Girls Gone Wild" franchise, that indefatigable chronicler of the spring break rite of boobs and booze. The essential difference here is that candid photographers — rather than the female subjects, in the case of breast-flashing coeds — are able to be the sexual aggressor but without actually having to confront a woman.
Ever feel like a guy was undressing you with his eyes and felt nauseated at the thought? This is that but with pictures to share, taken without your knowledge or consent just because you happened to be in the proximity of one of these freaks. Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon doesn't pull any punches in responding to the subject Clark-Flory's article: she calls it tantamount to assault, and she's right.
No, upskirt shots are about appealing to something else, and there’s no other way to state this, but it’s the desire to force yourself on a woman. Without coercion, the upskirt shot means nothing. Fans not only admit this, but in the company of what they assume are only men who share their loathing of women (and women’s autonomy), they revel in it.
Because, let's be honest, these aren't unsuspecting women who don't know that they are inadvertently showing something they ought not to show; these aren't accidental nip slips; these aren't whatever bullshit justification these perverts try to claim when discussing their coercive fetishes. These are women who went out in public fully and decently clothed and, because creepy fuckers can twist themselves into knots to look up skirts or down blouses, have been forcibly made into sex objects. Upskirting isn't just some dude noticing something that gives him a hard-on, these are organized groups of men who are, in effect, forcibly undressing unconsenting women in public and posting pictures of the assault. And, in half the states, they have every right to do it to you. Porn In A Flash [Salon] Creative Misogynists Still Unable To Imagine Letting Go Of The Hate [Pandagon]