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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Is There A Better Way to Devalue Yourself than "Naked Cellphone Pictures?"

"Ms. Toups" Twitter photo from
A Ms. Hollie Toups, a 32 year old law enforcement student in Texas, sent revealing pictures of herself to her boyfriend (see this and this - and no, these are not the actual pictures, those you'll have to find for yourself).

Subsequently said boyfriend became a "former" boyfriend and the revealing pictures ended up on a Texas "revenge porn" web site where jilted lovers (mostly men I imagine) post pictures of their former lovers.

So you "gave" these pictures to a boyfriend - give as in "transfer possession of something to someone else" - and that special someone did something you didn't like with them.  (I suppose you could have posed for the boyfriend - in which case he would own the photos.  Without a release from you the photos cannot be used "commercially" whatever that might be.  In any case you're in the same boat.)

Does this work for anything else in society?

Perhaps I could "give" the IRS money and then later demand that my money is somehow "private" and I want it back?


In fact before I gave the money to the IRS it was private property - mine - just like your revealing photos.

The act of "giving" the money to them transfers possession, just like anything else.

Yet apparently this is so rampant that a site called has been set up to deal with the rash of such incidents.

From the site (at the bottom): "If posted material was created before your 18th birthday, you have legal recourse. That crime is classified and can be prosecuted as child pornography. If, however, posted material was created after your 18th birthday, you have few legal options. The crime (and it IS a crime) can in some cases be classified as stalking, harassment, invasion of privacy, defamation of character but is very difficult, costly and time-consuming to prosecute."

The underlined part is interesting and confirms what I said above.

Yes indeed, if you give someone something, its theirs to use as they see fit.

Your phone number, your address, your car keys, your house key, your revealing pictures.

I think everyone has had an experience in life where they gave someone a key or loaned them a book or other item and had a bad experience.

And there's a simple reason why.

If you are using something someone has given you that something has no intrinsic "value" because the cost to you to acquire it was nothing - zero.  Sure it might have "actual" value if you sold it - as in real dollars.  But it cost you nothing so you are going to look at it as something with less value than a thing which you, for example, paid money for.

People also tend to treat things with no value to them with some degree of contempt.

Especially in the case of jilted lovers.

So your private revealing photos you "gave away" have translated into something that has no value.

Which, for the person holding your "reveaing photos," translates your value to that person to, well, zero or nothing.

So there is little reason to expect that someone with said revealing photos would give a second thought about doing whatever comes to mind with them.

Like uploading them to a revenge site.

In the olden days it was often difficult to even get the phone number from a woman you wished to try and date.  And if you abused that number, say by writing it on the bath room stall wall, you would probably never date that woman or her friends for the rest of your life.

But today revealing pictures, presumably far more valuable than a phone number, are simply given away.

The sponsor of "End Revenge Porn" wants to make "revenge porn" a corporate problem and, for example, sue companies like for hosting the site (see my comment on "free speech" below).

What I find hard to understand is why this happens in the first place.

Number One: 

Sure somebody is your "boyfriend" - that doesn't mean you trust them 100%.

If you did trust them 100% that somebody would probably be your "husband" and (most likely) far less likely to put those pictures on the internet without your permisson.

There's a reason he's not your husband...

Number Two:

Revealing photos on a device you are likely to forget, lose, misplace, have stolen, loan to someone else, etc. are simply a bad idea.

If you value your privacy then don't leave it lying around accessible.

If you just "give it up" willy-nilly its not worth much.

Number Three:

Would you want your child doing this?

Sure its child porn but some 20% of high school kids sext anyway according to this web site (interesting more girls than boys).

Number Four:

If you give away your revealing pictures publishing them is likely to be considered "free speech" - a Constitutionally protected activity - if you are not a child.

If you emailed, transmitted or otherwise explicitly gave those images to someone else then they are totally out of your control.

To me this all boils down to one thing.

The devaluation of women in society.  Sadly a devaluation to which the women themselves are significantly contributing though their consent to these activities.

If you disagree then think about this:

Even a porn star's image in a Hustler magazine in 1970 had more value than today's sexted pictures?


Because in order for someone to see it they had to actually buy the magazine.

In the case of Ms. Toups her boyfriend didn't have to spend a single dime for her images.

And we can see now what he thinks of Ms. Toups.

Today's world is all about "sharing" and community and "giving."

Which is fine.

But people seem confused about just how far they should go in this regard.

Engaging in activities which devalue you or what you do is simply stupid - unless you think of yourself as worthless...

1 comment:

  1. Well reasoned thoughts on an issue that is far too common amongst the younger generations (of which I am a part). Tracing these problems to root causes, of course, leads us to the two ends of the spectrum - narcissism and insecurity. Both are due to a lack of boundaries in upbringing, though in different ways. In the former, a person's actions deny the possibility of anyone's intrinsic value exceeding (or even equalling) their own. In the latter, the actions deny the possibility of one's own worth measuring up to anyone else's