[This originated as a series of Tweets that are basically cut and pasted with a bit of connective tissue.]
Two things strike me about the Violentacrez business. The first is how the free speech defense—as applied to posting photos of underage girls and dead underage girls in an explicitly erotic context meant to humiliate and degrade—rests on the logic that “she posted these photos, so they’re fair game.” Posing for photos constitutes an act for which any and all retaliation and “use” is fair, no matter how private their original contexts—including ex-partners circulating erotic photos, including photos taken of women unawares, including men commenting on and masturbating to them. The implication is that posing=guilt, that owning a body and being photographed in it is an action for which reprisals are fair and should have been anticipated before the subject of the photographs did what she did. In contrast, Violentacrez’s activities are framed as passive. All he’s done is circulate existing photos, and “frame” them differently. He has “done” nothing and deserves nothing, whereas women have owned bodies and posed in them. Circulating is passive, existing is active. Chen’s piece highlights how extremely *active* Violentacrez’ practices are, & how specific the intentions. It underlines the malignant intent and removes the passive framing. This stuff takes massive effort.
The second point is the curious stance that circulating photographs of women doesn’t constitute a violation of their privacy because they’re not named. Their anonymity is preserved.
Let me repeat: these are PHOTOGRAPHS. These are the objects police use to identify criminals. These are things that explicitly and routinely constitute evidence. They are precisely the opposite of anonymous—they are vehicles of anti-anonymity. And yet many people in this community bizarrely insist that they are somehow irrelevant, and that posting them is not a violation of a person’s privacy.
Whereas connecting a username to someone’s actual name—not to their body, just to another label, another way they exist in the world—is a MASSIVE PRIVACY VIOLATION.
The implication is that privacy resides in your name, not in your body. If you’re a man with the luxury to think this way, your body is understood as a sort of irrelevant accessory to your name, the thing that really matters. An invasion of privacy isn’t interpreted as a literal invasion. Although they plainly are, men’s bodies aren’t understood as being capable of being penetrated. People with this mentality don’t see a photograph as an invasion of privacy because they don’t experience the image of their bodies as being connected to the privacy that is capable of being violated. Of the genders, one is overwhelmingly more likely to think this way and to conclude—astonishingly—that having a username connected to an actual name is an invasion of privacy whereas a photograph of someone is not.
[Follow-up post here.]