PVV – “revenge porn”?

I’ve been following these “revenge porn” cases with a great deal of interest lately…

A great deal of interest, but in this kind of weird disconnected way. Because, though the notion of assholes curating naked pictures of chics donated by variably embittered ex-boyfriends etc, posting them on the interwebs, and then charging for their removal is super compelling…

[See for example: “Revenge porn curators defend their X-rated websites” here (2/8/13)]

…what I actually find more interesting is the rhetoric in the media – “revenge porn.”

Think about it: revenge porn.

Revenge porn.

Revenge.

Porn.

Revenge PORN.

So some chic texts her boyfriend a cutesy little panty pic – innocent enough in our world today. But then, a few months later, they break up… and for whatever reason, the now ex-boyfriend is not too happy about it. So he forwards said panty pic over to IsAnyoneUpToBeDown.com, and there it goes – super high traffic, complete with every bit of her contact info imaginable. Not innocent at all, even in our world today. And this is just one scenario…

There are a million and one legal and moral issues lighting firestorms throughout our culture surrounding said panty pic-type posts, but my million-and-two question is this: is this stuff porn?

Seriously – is this stuff porn? Or, is this another example of the media misusing a term – porn – in the hopes of capitalizing on its galvanizing, scintillating, and/or just generally traffic-generating qualities? (or could this simply be a case of the media not understanding what the hell porn is? something else?)

Because, just like “child pornography” IS NOT porn, neither is this stuff. This IsAnyoneUpToBeDown.com BS is neither consensual nor professionally produced. These sites are being monetized, to my understanding, with some advertising dollars but primarily through extortion (ie pay Mr. Douchebag Extraordinaire/Webmaster $XXX to have your pics removed), which is also 100% NOT like what happens with professional adult content production.

I’m sure there’re other issues and marked differences between IsAnyoneUpToBeDown.com-type websites and professional adult content production that I’m missing. Point being though: just like “child pornography” is actually “recorded instances of the sexual abuse of underage persons,” “revenge porn” is actually “extortion” …and maybe in some cases theft and/or versions of unauthorized use. (and this is why we have Marc Randazza – see below Inigo)

This is some really terrible nasty stuff, but another issue to think about is the power of language and insights from my dear friend Michel Foucault (who, as we know, is my favorite theorist EVER!!) – when the general public starts to confuse “extortion” and “revenge” with “porn” …well, then we’ve got a much bigger problem on our hands.

revenge

 (pictured: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You stole my panty pics and put them on the interwebs. Prepare to die!!)

Some interesting further clarification here (though the term “involuntary porn” is just as problematic “revenge porn”) here –> “The Trouble with Stopping ‘Involuntary Porn’ Sites” (11/29/12)

And an excellent audio interview with Marc Randazza re legal issues surrounding this type of extortion, etc…

A website called “Is Anybody Down” has popped up to fill the niche that was left when the revenge porn site “Is Anyone Up” shut down in April of this year. Like its predecessor, the site allows users to submit naked photos of other people and include links to the naked person’s social networking page. But according to attorney Marc Randazza, this website’s business model is slightly different from Is Anyone Up, and is of questionable legality. Bob talks to Randazza and Is Anybody Down’s founder Craig Brittain.

…from November 16, 2012 on OnTheMedia here.

 

Read about more insights from Michel Foucault in my review of Kelly Shibari is Overloaded (2012) – a PVV Recommended Film!!

 

* * *

Like what you see? Follow PVV on Facebook and Twitter!!

Visit Dr. Chauntelle at ChauntelleTibbals.com and on Twitter at @DrChauntelle.

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage/PVVOnline, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.PVVOnline.com).”

PVVOnline – Critical Commentary on Adult Production