Monday, March 10, 2014

On the Up and Upskirt.

As you can probably surmise, I have a daughter. I try to teach her to be tough and self-assured, independent and fierce when necessary. I don't frequently berate her or constantly tell her to be silent, though I do admit I overuse the phrase "good girl" - it's a habit I'm trying to break. I don't want her to feel that she has to quiet her voice to make room for "more worthy" voices. "Good life decisions" is a major mantra in her life. Sure, everyone makes bad decisions from time to time, but focusing on the good seems pertinent, here.

In the news lately, there has been an article circulating about a man who took at least one upskirt picture of a woman, was arrested and tried, but it was ruled legal that he had "violated" that woman's right to privacy. An outcry followed, people speaking vehemently about past experiences, train groping, etc. THESE MONSTERS, they declare, ARE EVERYWHERE! Now there's even a law banning the photography of "sexual" areas without a woman's knowledge. But even the official prepared statements about it are idiotic: "The legislation makes the secret photographing, videotaping, or electronically surveiling of another person's sexual or other intimate parts, whether under or around a person's clothing or when a reasonable person would believe that the person's intimate parts would not be visible to the public, a crime."

But who are these monsters? And what makes them monstrous? Are they violent predators who ram their be-camera'd fists up the skirts of women in order to procure illicit footage of their undergarments (or lack thereof?) - Mostly? No. They're people who *do* take pictures of boobs and butts, occasionally undies, but most of them don't go within a few-foot radius to get such pictures. Here's where my view gets unpopular: if it's in public, it should be fair game to photograph. I shouldn't have to potentially suffer from a law that says some lady's cleavage in my picture is punishable by law, especially if I realized it thereafter and attempted to conceal the picture (also written into the law). The fact that you wore something in public that you'd be ashamed was documented (from any angle, really) is an issue. Clothers' remorse isn't and shouldn't be a valid thing. If you're really that hysterical about your body being photographed, wear more clothing. That you wore a certain style of dress is okay - - until there's picture proof of it - - is questionable/sketchy at best. At worst it's hampering the creative expression of someone who wants to take a normal picture, but your buttcheeks ruin it. In the middle it's a creepy dude taking a physical snapshot (rather than a mental one, which shouldn't really be a surprise) - and you're upset about it.

All the maelstrom of venom spouted by women who purport "I DON'T WEAR THIS CLOTHING FOR YOU OR MEN OR ANYONE!" are not automatically allowed to dictate who can and cannot look at them, or for that matter, photograph their presence. There's not some holy magic force-field that they can shimmy up when they walk out into common areas of public, so if they're not comfortable being surreptitiously photographed by every conceivable angle for the purpose of "safety" and/or surveillance, but they ARE upset at potentially being jerkfodder for random internet trolls - perhaps they should change priorities, or maybe wear giant garbage bags and parachute pants with super-sexy ass-floss underneath; because after all, if you aren't doing it for anyone else, why does it matter if anyone else sees it, right? That you don't dress for me or men or whatever, doesn't mean we don't have to see you or interact with you. That doesn't mean we are banned from looking at you. So why does a camera's eye violate that space, but a human eye does not? Silly.

So I tell my child: if you don't want a record of something happening - don't do it! If you don't want a creeper taking pictures of you in weird angles and posting it online because it's embarrassing - don't wear such clothing. If these women walked around topless, would everyone have to avoid photographing anything with them in it, because they chose to foist themselves into non-nude society - for fear of "manufacturing pornography" charges? How narcissistic do you have to be to believe that someone doesn't have a right to take a picture with you in it, just because you exist and decided to be somewhere at a given time? Seriously?

That said, the tables are turned if someone does violate your bodily autonomy by shoving a camera between your legs. I am a firm believer in the proper application of stand your ground laws. If someone puts their hands between your legs to take an unsolicited picture, beat them within an inch of their life, and take pictures of their mangled bodies and State IDs to out them on the internet. Post their picture everywhere. Ruin their lives. Have no mercy, show no remorse. It is NOT okay to violate someone's right to their own body and all of the contents therein: that behavior should be punished severely on an individual basis. So, no, I'm not a rape-apologist or anything of the sort. I believe in pragmatism. Don't want your boobs on the internet? Don't show your boobs near a camera, and they won't go on the internet. Don't want someone to steal your bike? Don't leave it on the curb near a trash can. Don't want someone to steal your car? Don't leave the keys in the ignition and the door wide open. Don't want to be beaten half to death by an irate lady? Don't jam your hand up my skirt. It's pretty easy, I think, and this is the sort of motherly wisdom I wish to pass down to my adorable little skirt-wearing precious pumpkin pie daughter o' mine.