Tuesday, September 2, 2014

If you don't want your kids' pictures on a child fetish site, don't take pictures of your kids

A bit over a decade ago (holy crap, I feel old), I belonged to a wedding planning website. Women would typically stay a member of the website even after their weddings because they had grown attached to the community, so there was a sizable new parent section as well. One of the most popular threads there was about cloth diapering, and there were tons of adorable pictures of babies in their creative, sometimes-homemade cloth diapers that their mothers had put them in.
Obvious stock photo is obvious so I am obviously NOT guilty of what this article is about.
One day, someone discovered that some of these cute baby photos that mothers had been sharing had been copied to a diaper fetish website. (I don't know how this was discovered, but that's beside the point.) Users of this website were sexually aroused by looking at pictures of these children - some of their comments on the photos were pretty disgusting. The mothers who had shared the pictures were horrified and felt horribly violated.

Recently, Jennifer Lawrence, as well as several other female celebrities, had her account hacked and some nude photos were stolen.
"Jennifer Lawrence 2, 2013" by Jenn Deering Davis
Uploaded by MyCanon - Jennifer Lawrence.
Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
There have been some very good articles about how this is a sex crime, correctly painting JLaw as a victim. However, I've also seen a lot of sentiments saying things like "well, she shouldn't have taken nude photos in the first place. The best way to prevent a scandal like this is to not have them." Reframe that statement with the story at the beginning of this post and you have the title for this post.

Is it reasonable to tell people to never take pictures of their kids? If that is unreasonable, then why is it more reasonable to tell people to never take nude photos? Both of these situations feature photos that were taken for private purposes and shared with only people whom the owners chose. Both situations involve photos being stolen by someone who was never intended to see the photos in the first place. And both situations involve perverts getting aroused by photos they were never meant to see. 

Yes, you can prevent photos from being stolen by not taking photos. You can also prevent someone from breaking into your house and stealing your TV by never owning a TV, you can guard against being date raped by never going on dates, and you can ensure you're never in a car accident by never setting foot into a car. It's not reasonable to expect this of victims, though - the blame needs to reside solely with the perpetrators of the crime.

There is no reason to consider Jennifer Lawrence's situation any differently just because of what her stolen property happened to be. Let's make sure we are putting the blame and shame where it belongs.