Back in my day (2009), Chatroulette was the weirdest, creepiest thing you could partake in on the Internet. Actually, I take that back. There were probably weirder things, but Chatroulette went super mainstream; everyone was talking about how so-and-so from Egypt flashed someone their penis, or some lady from Florida was just sitting in front of the camera without a shirt on. It was wild, but it was more or less consensual. People pretty much understood what they were getting themselves into by visiting the website.
Back in the late ’90s and early 2000s, I vaguely remember chat rooms on AIM being an issue. People would sign on and join a chat room, only to be accosted by someone who asked for their “a/s/l” and naked pics. The Internet is a scary place. You give people the internet, and people find a way to trash it. Kind of like the planet. But anyway, at least back then, it was harder to exploit personal and private pictures and videos.
Now, sharing an inappropriate image on the Internet is easier than Easy Mac. Smart phones have opened a new, terrible door for perverts out there who feel the need to fill their pathetic void with photos and videos of (mostly) unaware females. A couple of months ago, Reddit banned “creepshots” from their database, but a couple of days ago, a female blogger sent Jezebel a complaint stating that “creepshots” have migrated and have slowly infiltrated Tumblr, and not a whole lot has been done about it.
What exactly a “creepshot” you might ask? It’s pretty much what it sounds like. A “creepshot” is a candid photo taken of a person (virtually all of these photos have been young girls) who doesn’t know they are being photographed. This person might be getting coffee, bending over to buy some toilet paper at Target, working out at the gym or even walking to school. Tumblr users who post these photos include captions like: “She’s not asking for it – she’s begging for it!” The “guidelines” for “creepshots” say that girls under the age of 18 are prohibited, but the odds of that “rule” being followed is laughable. The notion that there are rules for immoral quasi-porn is laughable.
The scary thing about creepshots is that they could happen to anyone. Recently, a high-school substitute teacher got busted posting photos of his students on Reddit. Creepshots are ultimately about control. They’re about violation and exploitation. These men want to feel powerful so they secretly take pictures of women and young girls and sexualize and demean them. It’s disgusting.
What makes it worse is that Tumblr is seemingly very hands-off about the matter. Katherine Barna, who is the Head of Communications for tumblr, basically stated that tumblr “doesn’t comment on individual tumblr accounts, which are ‘required to abide by our Terms of Service and Community Guidelines’” (Jezebel). In fact, last fall, tumblr even deleted Predditors (a Tumblr that intended to protect the rights of women who were falling victim to Creepshots by “outing” the accounts) because “moderators thought it revealed private information.” Really, tumblr? So the privacy of these creeps is more important to you than the privacy of all these women being stalked and hunted like animals?
There’s even a creepshots Twitter account. The caption for the account states: “21+ Only! Just admiring, sharing, and RT-ing sexy everyday women around the world. No harm no foul. No underage or upskirts. Thanks.” As though this was some healthy, women-loving community. Nothing about this is healthy or loving. The Twitter account currently has over 86,000 followers.
The only way we can stop this, is to get involved. Currently, video voyeurism is an offense in nine states in the US and requires the convicted person to register as a sex offender. Unfortunately, it’s hard to track down the person who posted the image or video, and it doesn’t seem to be illegal to post photographs. Websites like tumblr and Reddit HAVE the power to shut down creepshot accounts, but won’t, because it’s not convenient for them.
Feature image via