Someone with a hidden camera has been filming women's asses — and sometimes upskirt shots — and posting them on YouTube. What's a victim to do?
According to CBC, the videos of women at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada were posted to YouTube by a user named LeggingSpy (whose account has now been deactivated). In most of the clips "the camera follows a young woman wearing yoga pants or leggings and zooms in on her behind," but two include upskirt footage. The caption of one of the clips calls its subject "a hot slutty college girl." And unfortunately, the women filmed may have little legal recourse. Says lawyer David Fraser, "If it's in a public place and it's publicly viewable, I don't think there'd be much chance of a prosecution."
Kashmir Hill of Forbes points out that the legality of upskirt photography varies across the US, though voyeurism laws may prohibit in Canada. But of course, not all invasive film and video is upskirt — a man recently harassed women on the Boston subway by taking photos of their cleavage. And in the case of the leggings photos, LeggingSpy was taping parts of women's bodies that would be publicly visible anyway. In most of Spy's videos, the upsetting thing isn't the content per se — it's the assumption that if women are wearing tight pants, they're fair game to become amateur porn.
As any woman who's dared to walk down a busy New York street in workout clothes knows, plenty of dudes treat spandex as a big "harass-me" sign. And as I've said before, photographing or videotaping women without their consent for your own sexual gratification is a form of harassment. I'm aware that videotaping women's butts in leggings will probably never be illegal. But doing so the way LeggingSpy did is certainly immoral, and it perpetuates a culture in which women are forced to be objects of sexual titillation wherever they go and whatever they do. All the women of Dalhousie who wore leggings for comfort, ease, mobility, or a desire to look cute for friends and partners but not for strangers with hidden cameras have been given a sad reminder that being female all too often makes them a target for harassment.
Screenshot via Forbes