The Naked Truth About Naked Selfies

Blacked-out examples of revenge porn

Girl protesting revenge porn, background of blacked-out revenge porn examples

In a recent commercial for Geico, noted angler Bill Dance offers up a valuable tip for careless fishermen who break off the end of their rod in the car door.

Says Dance dryly, “Don’t do that.” Bill’s simple advice is priceless, more importantly it can apply to a myriad of situations.

If you don’t want your embarrassing emails to get hacked, don’t send embarrassing emails. If you don’t want to cause a wreck on the highway, don’t text while driving. If you don’t want to accidentally fall off a cliff, don’t play Pokeman while you’re walking. If you don’t want to pay higher taxes and healthcare premiums, don’t keep sending the same people back to Congress. If you don’t want your house broken into, don’t tell everyone on social media what day you’re leaving for vacation. If you don’t want to have a baby out of wedlock, don’t have unprotected sex. And PLEASE, for the love of Pete, if you don’t want nude photos of yourself showing up all over the internet, don’t take nude photos of yourself, or let anyone else take them.

Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear about someone complaining that a nude photo of her has gone viral. In some cases, a girl lets her boyfriend snap a nude photo of her with his phone, and he sends that photo back to her phone. In other instances, a girl snaps a nude selfie and sends it to her boyfriend. Either way, when the girl breaks up with her boyfriend, he sometimes gets revenge by posting the nude photos all over the internet. But this so-called revenge porn isn’t always to blame for embarrassing posts. Sometimes girls take nude selfies and share them with their closest girlfriends. Then, either the girl or one of her friends accidentally hits “send” and voila! Instant viral nudity. And some teens take nude selfies for profit, then develop seller’s remorse after the fact.

Regardless of how nude photos originate, however, the posting of them has grown to almost epidemic proportions. Some teenage girls whose naked image has gone viral are forced to change schools, and others even contemplate suicide. And then there are the angry parents. Earlier this year, a father in New York was arrested for choking his daughter when he discovered that she had posted naked pictures of herself on Snapchat. But even when parents are understanding, the so-called victim can find herself in hot water. Here in North Carolina, posting of private nude photos is a class H felony under general statute section 14-190.5. In fact, posting of nude photos is illegal in all but 17 states. And in California, if a boyfriend posts revenge porn, he can go to jail for six months.

Dr. Brenda Murphy, an instructor in Gender Studies at the University of Malta, says posting of nude selfies without the consent of the nude person is a form of abuse, and borders on violence. But what about when a teenager gives her consent or posts the explicit images herself? Speaking with the Times of Malta, Murphy said, “I’m not blaming the girls. We are all subject to society’s current pressures. The message young girls are getting from the media is one of hyper-sexualization. Young girls are being told the only way to behave is in a sexual way.”

Personally I don’t buy some of Professor Murhpy’s bilge, but even if I did, how then does she explain grown women taking nude selfies? What should we do to punish those adult females, or the men who share their selfies? And what if more than one man is engaged in exposing private photos? Or what if those men did so institutionally? Such a scenario has recently come to light, and has gained national attention, not just because of what they’re doing, but because of who they represent.

According to CNN, a group known as Marines United operates a secret chatroom and facebook network with more than 30,000 members nationwide, who routinely post and share nude photos of female Marines. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller has admonished his troops, and lectured them about honor and commitment. Meanwhile NCIS is looking into the matter. Again, though, the problem is that most of the so-called victims were not snapped without their knowledge. James LaPorta, a Marine vet has investigated Marines United, and he told CNN that most of the nude photos are “posed”, meaning that the female Marines either took and distributed nude selfies, or they gave some form of consent to the person who snapped the photos.

Can girls or women be considered victims if they take nude selfies or allow themselves to be photographed nude? Yes, but in most cases they are complicit victims, because if they had kept their clothes on and their iPhones turned off, then neither pimply faced boys or enterprising young Marines could do anything to embarrass them.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not excusing men who post nude photos of any woman for any purpose. But ladies, if you don’t want your naked body to show up on the internet, then don’t get naked when there’s a camera around. That’s because today, nothing is private anymore, not even our privates. So next time you feel like showing off your birthday suit, remember what Bill Dance said. “Don’t do that.”

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