I’ve been thinking a lot about Tuesday’s post, trying to find a better way to articulate what bothers me about the hotties of Occupy Wall Street blog. I keep returning to this experience I had on a beach last summer:
I was standing on the boardwalk, one hand waving down the path, the other on the phone with a friend who was trying to find me. I was barefoot, in a bikini. People streamed by me, paying me no attention. A guy in his forties walked a few paces past me, then turned and stopped. He had a camera in his hand, and he started talking my picture.”What are you doing?” I said, “Don’t take my picture.”
“Whatever,” he said, grinning, and snapped another photo.
“I said, ‘Don’t take my picture!'”
“Come on,” he said, “You’re at the beach!”
I told him to fuck off, and he eventually did. I was shaken, and pissed, but I didn’t know what to do. Now this guy has pictures of me in a bathing suit that I did not say he could take. For all I know, they’re on a “Ladies at North Ave Beach” blog.
His “Come on! You’re at the beach!” was what sealed it for me. In his mind, my very presence was enough to justify being objectified. We’ve already talked ad nauseum about how a person’s clothes or demeanor never justifies rape, and I’m not equating having a picture taken to sexual assault, but the principle is the same. Whether I caused it or not, his desire or arousal is not my problem, and he has no claim to my person or my image to satisfy it.
While Steven Greenstreet’s motives seem purer than my beach photographer’s, his site is guided by the same principle. Paraphrased to the max, it goes something like this: I find you attractive, therefore your primary purpose is to be my eye candy, and I will treat you accordingly. Snapping mega-zoom photos for a “hot girls” blog or stealing a beachside bikini shot for God knows what are both just variations on a pretty ugly theme.
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