Revenge porn is about porn

If you haven’t yet heard about revenge porn, you’re lucky.

Notorious dickbag, Hunter Moore, is big into the revenge porn game. He can be credited with mainstreaming the concept of punishing your ex by posting their nude photos online without their permission via his website, IsAnyoneUp.com.

Doesn’t take much to get rich these days, just a complete lack of anything resembling a soul.

Not only would Moore post the photos, but he would also post the person’s name, location, and link to their social media accounts, also helpfully facilitating comments under the images critiquing the person’s appearance. Innovative, right!

Eight months after his original site shut down, Moore, committed as ever to cretin status, announced he would be launching a new site: HunterMoore.TV.

Of course, the fact that he manages to keep up this seemingly “legally questionable” endeavour begs the question: “How is this actually legal?” explains, in an article for The Guardian, that (in the U.S.) under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, “website proprietors are not liable for content that is submitted to them by third parties.”

Even with that loophole, it’s clear that these sites aren’t going to get off scot-free.

Another revenge porn site (Gosh, it’s just a mystery why degrading women via porn is so popular!), Texxxan.com (and their hosting company, GoDaddy.com) is being sued by approximately two dozen women on the basis that the site was “significantly designed to cause severe embarrassment, humiliation, and emotional distress.”

The deal with revenge porn is that someone you once trusted enough to let take a photo of you engaged in a sexual act or text a photo of yourself naked to, now hates you enough to want to seek ‘revenge’ by turning you into publicly consumable porn.

Now, while the purpose of revenge porn is indeed, as Jill Filipovic writes for The Guardian, “to shame, humiliate and destroy the lives and reputations of young women,”(i.e. not just about masturbation), I would add that the existence of revenge porn is very much a result of a porn culture.

When we look at the ways women and girls are harassed and abused online, we see that it often isn’t just about words, rather it is often about porn. We see this in the Amanda Todd tragedy which happened back in October. While Todd was bullied and harassed, both online and by kids at school, she was also a victim of porn culture. As many feminists pointed out after she killed herself, Todd was not only ‘bullied’, as most of the mainstream media put it, but she was harassed in a completely misogynistic way. What many news outlets failed to mention was that Todd was turned into porn. A man she’d been chatting to online coerced her into showing her breasts via a webcam, later threatening to share the image with her friends and family unless she gave him a “show.” He followed through on his threat, circulating the image of Todd, who was in grade seven at the time, online.

Sound familiar?

It isn’t possible to separate what happened to Todd from this ‘revenge porn’ phenomenon, which is also why it isn’t possible to separate ‘revenge porn’ from ‘porn’.

Revenge porn is about degrading and humiliating women. It doesn’t work on men because men aren’t hated on a mass scale, as women are, and because men’s bodies are not used against them, in order to punish them.

Just as revenge porn isn’t simply about naked bodies, neither is mainstream porn. It’s the power dynamic that’s ‘sexy’ and it’s the degradation that separates both revenge porn and ‘regular’ porn from straight-up nudity and sex. When women are objectified, they lose power and men gain power. The male gaze is a disempowering one.

The fact that pornography is being used as a means to publicly harass and degrade all women (regardless of whether or not the woman in question was compensated for her image and/or the use of her body) should tell us something about pornography and about our misogynistic culture. It tells us that porn isn’t ‘just about sex’ or about ‘loving women’s bodies’ and that it isn’t somehow completely neutral.

The fact that 12-year-old girls are being pressured to text ‘sexy’ photos of themselves to boys and men (as well as older girls and women) is as a result of a porn culture. Porn cannot be separated from larger culture; isn’t something relegated to ‘adult only’ sites. It’s what we’re all supposed to be, as women, and it’s used against us. Feminists say ‘porn harms’ and often the public isn’t sure what that means. Well here’s an example.

Men like Hunter Moore grew up in the same culture that the man who harassed Amanda Todd did and in the same culture boys are growing up in today, learning that to coerce girls to turn themselves into porn gives them power.

It should be clear by now that porn is not about loving women.

 

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy

Meghan Murphy, founder and editor of Feminist Current, is a freelance writer and journalist. She completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog. Follow her @meghanemurphy

  • MLM

    Perfectly said, Meghan. So many discussions lately about “rape culture” seem to ignore, underplay or even try to refute the role of porn in rape culture. Porn is not only borne out of rape culture, but it is the best marketing tool it could possibly have. If people are serious about ending it, then they have to start getting serious about looking at the whole problem and not ignoring the aspects of the culture, and the arguments, which they find inconvenient to address.

  • Grackle

    Makes me think of the way “fans” of Sasha Grey responded when she asked them not to use her photos because of copyright infringement: http://home-of-amazons.tumblr.com/post/40902949952/these-comments-were-made-on-sasha-greys-facebook (Not my blog.)

    Their disgusting comments are a perfect example of why porn is not about loving women, like you said.

    • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

      @Grackle,

      I just took a look at those comments left by her so-called “fans” — really goes to show the way pornsick people think…they fucking hate her, that’s how they roll, that gives them their “kicks”…

      So disturbing to read through those….

  • vouchsafer

    Hey Meghan have you ever thought about taking this kind of information and presenting it to teen or pre teen girls to educate them as to why they shouldn’t allow photos like these to be taken of them, or what the consequences can be? I’d love to get involved in something like that in my area, I have been working on writing something up myself actually. Any suggestions how to go about that process, ie what channels to take, or whether there’s a national organization for this type of thing?

    • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

      I agree – Meghan should take this to schools, I don’t think a lot of kids and/or parents know about this kind of stuff.

    • Meghan Murphy

      I would love to do that and, no, I have no idea what the process would be :)

    • http://emmaholten.wordpress.com Emma Holten

      As a victim of this, I don’t think limiting sexual expression is the way to go about it. Taking pictures of myself and expecting them to be kept private is my right as a citizen. Teaching young girls that they should limit their actions and expect humiliation and sexual commodification at every turn is rape culture and vicitm blaming. Do you also tell grown women to not go down the street at night? We should be instituting laws protecting privacy for a modern age, not telling young women (who are the primary victims) that for them to document their sexuality is no longer a right.

      • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com mmmariguana

        Not to worry, Emma Holten. (BTW, you thinking you are a first class citizen in this country with rights to privacy and all is just precious.) For the most part, we will continue to raise girls in mushroom farms. So much more fun, fun, fun to ignore rape culture and sexual commodification.

        After all, we wouldn’t want to ruin a girl’s chances of finding their Prince Charming to “protect” them for life by telling them the truth about men. So, go for it; be as sexy as you want to be. Just don’t actually have sex until it is state sanctioned or you could be humiliated, blamed and shamed.

        And, very few men (you know, the ones still in control of the world), if any in this modern age, will deny you the right to document “your own” sexuality. In fact they will fight fiercely for your right to do so. It saves them so much time, effort and, especially, responsibility.

        So thoughtful of you to save the boys the trouble of objectifying you by taking care of that little chore for them yourself. What could possibly go wrong?

        I’m curious, if you aren’t going to show your sexy pictures to anybody, why take them? Is it to make sure you have the porn poses just right?

        Oh, and, we don’t have to tell grown women not to go down the street at night. They’ve pretty much figured out why it’s probably not the safest thing to be doing, and that if anything should happen to them it will be deemed their own damn fault. They’re bright that way.

        It would be great if we lived in Should World. Unfortunately, we’re still just trying to survive on Planet Man.

        • http://emmaholten.wordpress.com Emma Holten

          I am so confused by this entire post. Are you saying that privacy shouldn’t exist? Am I objectified just for existing on a photograph? I don’t understand if you are blaming me for not expecting to be a victim but then you are simultaneously saying that being that victim is wrong. I think your resignation is defeatist at best and dangerous at worst. Should I stop sending private emails, ever? Not take pictures on a beach? And you’re saying that you’ve come to terms with the fact that grown women can’t walk down the street at night, as if that is an acceptable state for a society to be in. I’m glad I’m not you, at least I have some hope for future generations. I hope you don’t have daughters, because you seemingly hate women.
          Why not send some of your vitriol to the men who commit the crimes you so lament?

          • http://mmmariguana.wordpress.com Mar Iguana

            I agree, you are very confused. You write a series of straw man questions and end with up-side-down and backwards conclusions and accusations.

            You believe you have privacy here in the land of NSA Big Brother and hacker dudes? Precious.

      • lizor

        “Taking pictures of myself and expecting them to be kept private is my right as a citizen.”

        And believing that such a “right” is respected across the board requires wearing one hell of a set of blinkers.

        “Teaching young girls that they should limit their actions and expect humiliation and sexual commodification at every turn is rape culture and vicitm blaming.”

        ???

        No, of course you would not want to limit children in any way. Let them get in cars with strangers, let toddlers play with knives (lest we “shame” them!) and for the love of God, don’t educate pubescent females about the real potential harm that can come to them because, according to your logic, acknowledging rape culture IS rape culture. So lets all pretend that violent, exploitive male behaviour does not happen and maybe it will go away.

        mmmariguana’s point about girls and women taking porn selfies as a reassurance that they too can successfully perform the narrowing requirements of porn culture in order to feel somehow less sexually marginalized is exactly correct. And to pretend to oneself and others that this is somehow a “natural” expression or as another poster wrote a”documentation” of one’s very own personal sexuality (that just so happens to look EXACTLY like the sexuality that’s on sale everywhere one looks) THAT’S porn culture, right there.

  • http://bonerkilling.blogspot.ca BK

    This is horrifying! I cannot believe men are actually putting up websites dedicated to this!!!

  • Helen

    This is exactly the kind of intellectually lazy drivel that makes me consider becoming a post-feminist. Naturally I think the idea of revenge porn is terrible and anyone who does that to someone is a jerk.

    But I don’t think it’s as gendered as is claimed here. Saying that it doesn’t work on men is presumptuous. Maybe the impact is different, but a lot of men would be really concerned about their friends, family, co-workers and employers coming across a compromising picture of them.

    Also, the sweeping generalizations about porn are just that: generalizations. Guess what? Some people get turned on by things that others would find degrading. It’s just a fact of life. It’s just the way sex goes. That’s what makes finding a partner who you can share your “kinks” with such a special and intimate experience.

    I am a highly educated woman heading into what many would consider to be a high-powered career. I openly call myself a feminist and have since I was a teenager. Sometimes I like my boyfriend to choke me and hold me down while we’re having sex and slap my ass and cum all over me. I know a lot of people would be horrified by that, but I love it. I don’t have any underlying issues. My relationship with my boyfriend is extremely caring and loving. I was never abused. I have a good father. My parents are still together and love each other and tell me how proud they are of me on a regular basis. I just like some rough and dirty sex once in a while.

    The reason why that dynamic works in the bedroom is because we have such a great relationship and I know that as soon as I make any sign that I want him to stop, he will. It’s all about consent. I don’t watch much porn, but I can understand why some people would be turned on by watching possibly degrading scenarios. As long as the people who are participating in the porn are consenting, I don’t really think anyone has a right to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do with their bodies and what the consumers of the porn should or shouldn’t be turned on by.

    Demonizing porn and demonizing men isn’t constructive and it’s not going to get anyone any where. If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it. It is entirely possible to distinguish between revenge porn and porn. The difference is consent. It’s pretty clear and simple.

    • Djedi

      “I am a highly educated woman heading into what many would consider to be a high-powered career.”

      Sure you are. For real, do they teach this stuff at men’s rights school or do you all happen to choose the same weak and weakly performed story by coincidence?

      • Meghan Murphy

        @Djedi – HAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA. Ha.

      • joko

        @Djedi – yes, they’re always “powerful career women” who “call themselves feminists”, and they always have to make detailed descriptions of what sounds exactly like misogynist porn scenarios that just magically happen to enjoy.

        And strange isn’t it, that the “rough sex” they talk about never means that both partners are rougher with each other, or that the woman is (wo)manhandling the man only.

    • Lela

      Helen: “The reason why that dynamic works in the bedroom is because we have such a great relationship and I know that as soon as I make any sign that I want him to stop, he will. It’s all about consent.”

      So, in other words, the difference between *regular* sexual violence and *consensual* sexual violence is, consent.
      Therein lies the whole problem, my friend.

    • Candy

      “Sometimes I like my boyfriend to choke me and hold me down while we’re having sex and slap my ass and cum all over me.” There’s nothing necessarily degrading about this as long as you don’t consider it degrading. I like that too. I’ve always wondered why people think cum is so degrading- to me it feels warm and nice, like lotion, the same way I get turned on when I’m wet and feel it dripping on his thighs. I also like sitting on my boyfriend’s face, tying him down, and pegging him. No degradation there. Not dirty to me at all. Just fun.

      But I have a huge problem with humiliation porn. I don’t think humiliation is empowering at all. Explain to me the audience for humiliation porn, especially men who watch it. What does it say about them? There’s porn videos with Sasha Grey being called a worthless fuck pig, told to lick the toilet, and before being anally penetrated, told “it’s anal, it’s supposed to hurt.” There’s other porn with men intentionally cumming in girls’ eyes, giving them mops to “mop up that shit like the good cum whore you are.” Other porn involving women called stupid sluts, good for nothing whores, told to lick the floor and slapped to shut up and take it. Yet more porn (think Max Hardcore) with girls being gagged until they actually vomit or told to “cry like a pretty bitch for the camera.”
      Do you believe the men who watch this porn, (which is, by the way, not even obscure), respect women? Or is the reason they’re watching in the first place because they don’t? Who cares if they can separate reality from fantasy, who cares about consent? You shouldn’t need to separate from reality in the first place- are their certain girls you can abuse and others you can respect? This is perpetuating the whore/madonna myth. This is the whole reason girls are perpetually called whores, sluts, etc in porn- because society has designated a shameful term for women who enjoy sex.
      It’s disgusting enough that this exists, and even more disgusting that some feminists don’t think of where it comes from.

      • http://mygothicfreckles.blogspot.ca Rozy

        Those descriptions are horrifying, at least I know the extent of this disgusting misogyny without ever having to watch that trash.

  • MLM

    @ Djedi – Gold!

    “Demonizing porn and demonizing men isn’t constructive and it’s not going to get anyone any where. If you don’t like porn, don’t watch it. It is entirely possible to distinguish between revenge porn and porn. The difference is consent. It’s pretty clear and simple’.

    Jesus, talk about “intellectually lazy drivel”.

  • MLM

    “Sometimes I like my boyfriend to choke me and hold me down while we’re having sex and slap my ass and cum all over me. … I just like some rough and dirty sex once in a while”.

    Yeah, and that’s just how things are. That just desire just came out of a cultural bubble, didn’t it? It couldn’t have anything to do with being subliminally – and overtly – bombarded with the idea that male dominance and female submission in the bedroom is “sexy” in almost every aspect of the culture you grew up in, could it? Not to mention the rise of the “vanilla is boring” meme.

    “As long as the people who are participating in the porn are consenting, I don’t really think anyone has a right to tell them what they should or shouldn’t do with their bodies and what the consumers of the porn should or shouldn’t be turned on by”.

    Right, so we shouldn’t ask any questions about why a women might consent to being orally gagged with a penis until she vomits, or anally penetrated with a metal bar while she’s sobbing her eyes out? The only thing that matters is that she did. We shouldn’t bother pointing out there are systems of structural oppression and situations which make some members of society far more vulnerable than others? We can completely ignore those because somebody “consented” to being abused, and who cares why.

    And if somebody gets off on seeing that person abused, it doesn’t mean anything either, right? Because our fantasies only come from the deepest part of our psyches. Obviously, they’re meaningless. And the neuroplasticity of the human brain, plus the powerful neurochemical reinforcement of an orgasm to further tie arousal to what is being watched? Also not worth noting, I guess.

    “Demonizing porn and demonizing men isn’t constructive”.
    And Meghan was doing neither. The harms that porn causes on so many different levels, to so many different people in the equation, is evident to anyone who bothers to give the situation more than a cursory examination. And criticising patriarchal entitlement, and the harm it causes, is not “demonising men”. It is not “demonizing white people” to require them not be aware of racism, and stop engaging in racist behaviour. It is not “demonizing” anybody to require them to see fellow human beings as human beings. And you would know that if you really had a genuine interest in feminism.

  • vouchsafer

    Helens comments are exactly why we need to educate young people as to the dangers of internalizing debasement culture. I hope she never finds herself in a situation where even though she’s “make[ing] a sign that she wants him to stop,” the guy that’s holding her down and choking her decides that he’s not going to. That can happen when you relinquish all the power to someone else, Helen. I wish you luck in your endeavors.

  • Lela

    “The difference is consent.” Does anyone else get this strange feeling that “consent” is the new greenwashing? Perhaps a new term is needed… “consentwashing?”

    • Meghan Murphy

      Consentwashing! Excellent!

    • MLM

      The magic word is “agency”,
      It liberates misogyny!
      No matter what the case may be,
      Consent is what we’ll choose to see.

      • Meghan Murphy

        Agency is magic.

    • marv

      What a marvellous creation Lela. We now have a new nomenclature for contrived consent. If you are an adherent to intellectual property rights you might be able to have your linguistic invention protected by copyright laws to be sold to all users. You would become the only millionaire in the feminist community. I trust that you would redistribute the wealth in genuine feminist fashion:-)

  • Missfit

    We know all the problematic surrounding the notion of consent. But even if everybody ‘enthusiastically consented’ participating in porn, it will not erase the misogyny; we will just have people consenting to participate in misogynist propaganda. And that would still be problematic. And that would still have consequences. Revenge porn, rape culture; it is all interconnected.

    For those who claim that talking against porn is shaming men’s sexuality (yeah, heard that one before)… Men get off on women’s humiliation and pain and we should not denounce the misogyny and its consequences because shaming? What else, a white supremacist complaining he’s being shamed for his beliefs? N’importe quoi.

    • Lela

      That’s exactly it. Porn is used by men to inflict NON-consensual sexual violence (often out of plain porn-facilitated ignorance) on women ranging from subtle to overt. I know without a doubt that this is so, because It has happened to me. I have seen and heard so many similar stories from other women. How many testimonials will it take for us to be taken seriously? One of the worst parts about this, from personal experience, is that men often genuinely *don’t know* that these behaviours are harmful to women. They have been taught to see their sexuality as inseparable from porn and not to think critically about it. Therefore, as you say Missfit, any critique becomes a shaming of “mens’ sexuality.”

      People need to realize that when they defend “degrading” i.e. violent and misogynistic porn with individualistic arguments, on a public forum, then it isn’t all about them and their so-called personal, private kinks anymore. In denying that such porn has broader effects, by glossing over that it in fact *prevents* many women from having the chance to actually give consent, one is by default supporting the non-consensual abuse of women whether one likes or intends it or not. (I can’t believe I have to even *say* the phrase “non-consensual abuse,” it’s redundant.) Please forgive, me, “post-feminists,” for believing that denouncing violence against women, period, is infinitely more important than my own orgasm and/or some completely unoriginal patriarchal sex-game.

    • Me

      I think “consent” in this context could be considered a declaration of intent on an abuser’s part: “I will get away with this.” It doesn’t actually involve the “consenting” person in any meaningful way. It’s a red flag.

  • sporenda

    “But I don’t think it’s as gendered as is claimed here. Saying that it doesn’t work on men is presumptuous. Maybe the impact is different, but a lot of men would be really concerned about their friends, family, co-workers and employers coming across a compromising picture of them.”

    Maybe so but this is mere speculation on your part, because in real life, revenge porn is about men doing it to women, not the other way around.
    Being a feminit is not just about saying you are a feminist; it implies that you are aware of a number of basic double standards and lack of symetry between the sexes.
    Revenge porn is only one of many abuses of women by men that women don’t reciprocate.
    And in case you haven’t noticed, prostitution is also mostly done to women by men, regular porn is done to women by men, rape is done to women by men, domestic violence and murder is mostly done to women by men , sexual harassment is done to women by men.

    “Guess what? Some people get turned on by things that others would find degrading. It’s just a fact of life. It’s just the way sex goes. That’s what makes finding a partner who you can share your “kinks” with such a special and intimate experience.”

    Being a feminist means also that you understand that sexual and social relations between the sexes are not a given, that they are political in essence and constructed by the class that holds power–the male class.
    Sexually, being raised as a female means that you are trained to be passive and submissive to men– and masochistic.
    Porn teaches us sexual objectification, masochism and degradation as erotic, so does the stupid “Fifty Shades of Grey”, so do women’s magazines and commercials.
    By the way, much is written and shown about female sexual submission despite the fact that male sexual submission is much more widespread–but this never discussed since exposing this fact would ruin the myth of the naturally dominant male.
    After this extensive conditionning to masochism, indeed a few women associate sexual pleasure and degradation, what a surprise.
    It’s no more an unavoidable fact of life than voters voting massively for dictators that oppress and exploit them.
    It’s just propaganda, alienation and mental conditioning benefiting the ruling class; as such, there is nothing natural about it, and it can be reversed.
    By definition, a feminist doesn’t accept blindly these so called “facts of life”; feminism that doesn’t question them systematically is just empty talk.

  • Me

    Did you see this already?:
    http://www.grapevine.is/Home/ReadArticle/Interior-Minister-Aiming-For-Porn-Ban

    Here’s a longer google translated article: http://tinyurl.com/ay39agq

    The first says:
    “I want to give the committee the task of examining the legal definition of pornography,” he said. “At the same time, the plan includes examining what measures the police can take to enforce the law and limit access to pornography.”

    Article 210 of the Icelandic Penal Code states that the publication, import and distribution of pornography in Iceland is illegal, and punishable by up to six months in prison. However, the law was written before internet pornography existed.

    “I am not fond of bans and I support freedom of expression,” Ögmundur said. “But at the same time, I want to prevent access to a industry which profits from abusing people.”
    /Quote

    Now, I’m not someone who trusts politicians at all, but having just read that, all this debate and talk about porn and its effects as well as what’s the Nordic model got going for itself and what it hasn’t, all of it strikes me as so completely stupid as to be beyond description, which means evil, really. It seems like nobody expects basic decency at a societal level anymore, nobody expects there to be a level of community anywhere that’s capable of protecting its members and making their lives good and meaningful. People so often only talk about damage control and not a word about justice. The level of indifference, neglect, withdrawal to a consumerist sense of self, and the overall unwillingness to take responsibility just takes my breath away. The problems are not difficult to understand! Thank you all here!

    • marv

      I really appreciate the information about the illegality of porn in Iceland and your reflections – piercing as usual. The overtures to the abolition of porn there are enlivening.

  • Djedi

    The saddest aspect of Mr. Helen’s attempt is he’s expressing the liberal feminist opinion that modern women can unproblematically enjoy eroticized violence and make excuses to do nothing about misogynistic pornography. Tweak the style a little and his post could be a featured article on Feministe.

    $100 bucks to anyone with proof Mitt Romney ever used the word “patriarchy.”

    Pardon me while I numb the pain of libfem betrayal with swift blows to my skull.

  • James

    I dont know how you can act like this is a woman only problem. Im a male victim of revenge porn and it has ruined several aspects of my life and has been beyond humiliating and turned me into a hermit, too ashamed to show my face.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Just because we acknowledge and address this as a gendered problem and a product of misogyny doesn’t mean it’s impossible for these kinds of things to impact men, it’s just that when it happens to men it isn’t systemic. Porn culture is something that provides men with power and disempowers women. The exception doesn’t make the rule.

  • copleycat

    You know being choked is life threatening, enjoying being choked and consequently arranging to be choked is life threatening and healthy people do not try to engage in activities that are so undeniably and immediately life threatening. Therefore if you like being choked you are unhealthy.
    Does that sound judgmental? It is.
    Does it sound like I am insinuating that Helen should be ashamed? I am.
    Is this me utilizing my freedom of expression? It certainly is.

  • Sam

    Remember when radfems in the 80s tried to give women the legal right to bring claims against pornographers for harms committed in the production and public distribution of pornography and the sexy feminists of the 80s laughed that nobody gets harmed in the viewing of porn?

    Victims of porn who weren’t physically abused but still suffer grievous harms and diminished quality of life sure could use some of those MacKinnon & Dworkin legal rights to access the justice system right about now.

    Here’s a personal testimony from porn victim Carol Smith from the book “Not For Sale” (alas, this porn victim is not media-appropriate innocent like Amanda Todd or the women in the Texxxan lawsuit so harm to her doesn’t really count):

    “Pornography is much worse than prostitution because it will harm you in a different way the rest of your life. I’m still exploited all over the Internet ten years later. It follows me around. People recognize me. I’m harassed because of it. My kids are being harassed at school because of it. This will affect my children for their entire life. If one of them wants to become a public figure or an actress, or whatever she wants to be, she’s going to be harmed because of who her mother was.

    In the process of my divorce, my ex-husband decided to inform the neighborhood of my past. He found me online and told the whole neighborhood; my whole community knows, and it’s a very small town.

    Pornography is not free speech. For example, in my case, my free speech would allow me to take those [original] tapes and burn them [so they couldn’t be sold anymore]. Do I have a right to do that? No, even though I am in them and now I realize what their content actually is. I haven’t any rights as long as someone else thinks it’s okay, even though I’m in them. Where are my rights? Where are my rights to protect my kids? They don’t exist.

    I just talked to Catharine MacKinnon. She has exhausted the law herself. She was Linda Lovelace’s attorney, and there was nothing she could do for that poor woman. And Linda had not signed any contracts.”

    **

    Dear women of the world,

    We tried, and we will try again.

    Sincerely,

    radical feminists

  • MLM

    “We tried, and we will try again”. That’s the key, isn’t it? To stay engaged and not get overwhelmed by the problem/opposition. Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will. (Gramsci’s motto :-) )

  • Jsmith

    Well said, Meghan!

    Your right in pointing out that revenge porn is a gendered issue. Just think, if Amanda Todd had been a man who had naked pictures online he would have never been called a slut and bullied to death. Shaming men with revenge porn wouldn’t work because men’s bodies are not considered shameful or dirty the same way women’s are. Revenge porn works on women because many people in our society believe that a women’s value is at least party based on her sexual purity/modesty. Men are not judged the same way, and their sexual behaviour is not considered a reflection of their worth as a person. While a man would probably be embarrassed if naked pictures of him were posted online (and rightly so), he wouldn’t be shamed or devalued by others the same way a women would. We also need to to ask ourselves why women take nude pictures and video’s of themselves in the first place. People know that the pornographic pictures and video’s will be around after the relationship is over, and that the risk of them falling into the wrong hands is reasonably likely. Why are women willing to engage in behaviour with such great risk and little or no reward? I am sure that the porn culture and the pressure to be attractive to men (within the context of porn culture) has something to do with it.

    • Meghan Murphy

      Definitely. I think women and girls completely feel pressured to ‘perform’ in this way, due to porn culture. And then, when they succumb to the pressure, they are punished.

      • JacquelineSmith

        Thanks for responding, I read your blog regularly

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  • Kortnie

    This is absolutely disgusting and horrifying. I have a story to share and I wanted to share it here because I’m tired of holding it in and this is a feminist space where I feel somewhat safe.

    I’ve had non-pornographic images of me put up on porn sites that literally crawl the web to steal photos of women and sandwhich them in between that of softcore and hardcore pornography.I’m in the process of trying to get them taken down and it is so overwhelmingly hard. I own the copyrights to the photo as they are mine and the fact that they have ended up in such malicious hands is enough to drive me crazy and probably already has.

    Men do not understand the culture we live in not only hates women but goes through extraordinary lengths and measures to keep women in line and in their place. Why should I be the one feeling all of this humiliation and stress when I did nothing wrong? My photos were stolen and going to get some kind of reaction is making me so upset. If I google my performer name, there is the site listed in the top 5. I have to change everything and this has definitely changed how I see the way in which women are objectified. You always think about it differently until it happens to you, and no one knows the personal hell that you go through. This feels like a nightmare.

    I can sympathize with these women in ways I hadn’t before and truth be told, I never wanted to feel this exact way. It’s ironic, I read this article about a week ago with no idea that I was in the same type of predicament, and I was ignorant to my own situation. How foolish I am. And yet, here I blame myself when I know deep down, hell, I know on the surface: I am not wrong here. I am not wrong. My photos were stolen. They were stolen. The process to clear my own name is beyond ridiculous.

    This has to be stopped. It’s another type of warfare tactic used to objectify and victimize women so no space is safe for them, so no one, not one single of us can escape the male gaze.

    • MLM

      Kortnie, that’s absolutely awful. I’m so very sorry this happened to you, and for everything you’re going through, and I hope your effects to rectify this situation are soon successful. Best wishes.

      • Kortnie

        Thank you MLM. It’s definifely a lengthy process, the site is owned by a domain that seems to be out of the U.S. and so that is another obstacle in this whole situation. I’ve contacted the domain hosts with DMCAs and I am waiting for responses on the matter. Sadly, as I’m finding out –this is all too common. The methods to extract the photos and delete them are very intensive and usually favor the copyright owner. The legal issues are enough to concern the average person, I’m trying to not let it get me down but that’s difficult, I maintain my focus and persistence to have them removed.

        • MLM

          Well, it’s really good to hear you have such determination in spite of the opposition you’ve been facing in the situation. And it’s more than understandable that it’s sometimes difficult for you emotionally, so be kind to yourself while maintaining your strength.

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