Some time last week, a story did the rounds on twitter. Some guy posted a photo of a semi-nude sleeping woman as proof that he had just gotten lucky. I didn’t see the original tweet or the photo, but it did disturb me quite a bit. I don’t know how many women think about things like this, but I know that every time I’m intimate with a man, I wonder if he has his house rigged with cameras, or if he was taking photos in my sleep.
In rom-coms, it’s sweet when a man watches you sleep. In real life, it’s far more likely he’s ‘watching’ with an internet enabled phone, and it’s a very scary thought. Of course if he keeps the pictures to himself, then there’s no harm done. But when you
snoop accidentally see the shots on his phone – or worse – online, then Houston, we have a problem.
It’s understandable that some men assume women enjoy flaunting their bodies. After all, lots of us willingly give nudes to complete strangers. Even more of us use our bodies to get ahead, either directly by sexually transmitted promotions, or indirectly by using feminine charms to get out of tricky situations.
Here’s the thing though. Those women are using their sexuality willingly. Taking a photo of someone who is asleep, drunk, unconscious, underage, or in any other way unwilling … is as bad as rape. Yes. It is. And spreading those pictures, sharing them with millions of other strangers, is the worst form of violation.
I could ask you to imagine how you’d feel if that was your sister, or your mother, or your wife, but it would be moot because the average man doesn’t want to think of his mother/sister/daughter having even consensual sex, so the point of her being violated is lost.
I could ask you to imagine how you’d feel if that was you, but that would be equally invalid, because just like the rape argument, a man cannot imagine what it’s like to be a woman and vice versa. Though videos like this can begin to give you an idea. It reverses gender roles, showing an alternate universe where men perform the roles ‘traditional assigned’ to women, and facing the kind of harassment women face every single day of their lives. #TriggerWarning
Let me give an example that perhaps the guys will understand. I saw an article a few days ago about men hating padded bras. It explained a guy falling in love with all of a woman, including her breast size, only to find out it’s a cup or two smaller.
Well, lots of girls face that every day when they find out their charming, world-wise, skillful men are a few inches shorter than imagined, and most of us deal. But imagine if you roll over and go to sleep, and she unleashes her 8 megapixel phone, snaps the peanut, and posts it all over social media …
Sex – at its most basic – is about trust. Yes, yes, I know, it’s about two bodies rubbing bits and hopefully coming to orgasm, sating (both) their base urges. But at its most basic level, it’s trust. You trust that your partner doesn’t have any horizontal diseases; and won’t have red rooms of pain; and won’t chop you up in your sleep; and won’t steal your wallet before you wake up; and won’t have a crazy spouse/partner/father barge in with a panga; and won’t throw you out at three a.m. chips funga style; and won’t photograph or videotape your (un)pretty bits during the action and broadcast it to the entire world on internet.
So here’s my request to the guys (and girls) that do this kind of sh*t. If you must take somebody’s photo to flaunt your performance levels, then at least get their permission first. You’d be surprised how many will willingly give it. Until then, I will quote a woman far more eloquent than I am …
♫ Versions of Violence ♫ Alanis Morrisette ♫