Author: has written 5289 posts for this blog.

Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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131 Responses

  1. igglanova
    igglanova January 29, 2013 at 10:46 am |

    I want to quit this planet.

  2. Sillyme
    Sillyme January 29, 2013 at 10:59 am |

    What is revenge porn? Does the ex get a porn movie with the ex doing the new partner?

    1. Andie
      Andie January 29, 2013 at 11:01 am |

      Did you even read the article?

      1. A4
        A4 January 29, 2013 at 11:07 am |

        Did you even read Sillyme’s comment? ;-)

        1. Andie
          Andie January 29, 2013 at 11:19 am |

          Touche.

        2. A4
          A4 January 29, 2013 at 1:13 pm |

          Aw, I was hoping you might reply with “Did you even read my comment?”

    2. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune January 29, 2013 at 11:32 am |

      It’s kind of amazing how somebody so unrelentingly offensive can also be so…unremittingly dull. Well done.

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune January 29, 2013 at 11:34 am |

        OIC now. -_- Never mind.

        1. ruggers
          ruggers January 29, 2013 at 11:48 am |

          I don’t get it! (she wailed!). Sorry! What do you and A4 and Andie see now? I feel unremittingly dull :(

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune January 29, 2013 at 3:40 pm |

          rugger,

          What I saw what that she’s genuinely clueless, not being a troll. Which is hard to believe, that there’s people just that plain annoying who are genuine, but apparently seems to be the case. I didn’t see a joke, but maybe andie did?

        3. Andie
          Andie January 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

          The joke was that I bothered to ask whether SillyMe had read the article, when clearly hir’s comment makes it blatantly clear that zie had NOT read the article, thus rendering my own question kind of redundant, as A4’s comment makes clear.

          At least that’s the joke as far as I got it.

    3. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 29, 2013 at 2:44 pm |

      Wow. How about just answering my question. Sorry for not being a porn aficionado.

      1. Andie
        Andie January 29, 2013 at 3:26 pm |

        Why should we answer your question when you clearly can’t be bothered to read the article? If you had read it, you’d have your answer right there.

  3. A4
    A4 January 29, 2013 at 11:06 am |

    “Maybe [sic] the site provided an outlet for anger that prevented physical violence (this statement will be very controversial but is at least worth thinking about).”

    Abusing women physically is bad! Also, abusing women emotionally, sexually, mentally and publicly via the internet is bad! Mental abuse is not a fucking nicotine patch for physical abuse!

    You know what provides an outlet for anger? A goddamn private diary, or going out for a run.

    Fucking hell.

    1. AndrewJenny
      AndrewJenny January 29, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

      This. Also, many studies show that degrading/humiliating pornography escalates male aggression towards women, especially when the men already believe their aggression is okay.

      1. guy incognito
        guy incognito January 30, 2013 at 10:01 am |

        Correction:

        These studies merely show a CORRELATION between degrading / humiliating pornography and escalated male aggression toward women. And as we *should* all know, correlation does not equal causation.

        Men frequently believe that aggression is ok, because they are frequently rewarded with sex when aggressive, and frequently told by women that they(women) like assertive/ aggressive dominant males.

        1. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan January 30, 2013 at 3:34 pm |

          because they are frequently rewarded with sex when aggressive

          “Sex” implies it’s consensual. Your anecdata smell like ass.

        2. RichardVW
          RichardVW January 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |

          And as we *should* all know, correlation does not equal causation.

          More accurately, “correlation does not necessarily imply causation”. A factor that correlates with a phenomenon can indeed be the cause of that phenomenon; it simply isn’t necessarily so. I know it’s temping to show off after reading one’s first book on logic, but do try to keep a lid on the condescension or else be prepared to have it met in kind.

          Aside from that, you’re conflating “aggression” as a synonym for “social dominance” or “a body that implies ‘aggressive’ physical activity” with “aggression” as in the type of male behavior one finds in mainstream porn. I’ve yet to meet a true Don Juan who thinks most hetero women like the type of “aggression” found in mainstream porn; I’m compelled to agree with Bagelsan regarding the olfactory sensation produced by your claim.

        3. umami
          umami January 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm |

          Sometimes it seems to me like people online use “correlation!=causation” to debunk every academic study they ever hear about without reading it, never considering that professors know that too.

          The person you’re replying to was talking about peychology experiments done with a control group. At least, that is the only kind of study I have ever heard heard of producing that result. Correlation!=causation isn’t a meaningful counter argument to a controlled experiment.

          If, as you seem to be suggesting, porn use in the population at large correlates with aggression towards women that is certainly interesting and suggestive additional data, although you’re right that it would not prove a causal link by itself.

        4. RichardVW
          RichardVW January 31, 2013 at 12:23 am |

          Also, in my last comment I should have known better than to use “social dominance” in that context.

          Humans (men, women, or other) are social creatures who mostly enjoy social success and basking in the social success of those with whom they identify. That’s what I was agreeing with regarding “social dominance”. I was not trying to agree with the analytically incomplete, socially clueless (the ironing is almost as delicious as an obligatory Simpsons reference), and rape-culture drenched definition of “dominance” suggested by incog’s comment.

    2. Amelia the Lurker
      Amelia the Lurker January 29, 2013 at 5:14 pm |

      Off topic but this is driving me insane: why does it say “[sic]”? What word is misspelled?

      1. A4
        A4 January 29, 2013 at 7:52 pm |

        I have no clue now that you point it out.

        1. Amelia the Lurker
          Amelia the Lurker January 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm |

          Maybe Jill thinks that it’s spelled “mabye”? But that seems hard to believe…

      2. SamBarge
        SamBarge January 29, 2013 at 8:43 pm |

        The original used the word “maybe” instead of the correct grammar/spelling combination of “it may be”.

        1. A4
          A4 January 30, 2013 at 9:54 am |

          Thanks!

        2. Amelia the Lurker
          Amelia the Lurker January 30, 2013 at 6:26 pm |

          What’s wrong with “Maybe”?

        3. A4
          A4 January 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm |

          Old white men don’t like it!

  4. a lawyer
    a lawyer January 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm |

    Those sites are horrible. But they’re not just about misogyny. They’re also about extortion: almost all of those sites charge a fee to remove someone’s information from the site.

    A lot of folks recognize the evilness inherent in that sort of thing. Various groups of attorneys will sometimes band together to go after some of them.

    For people who want more detailed information, I highly recommend this series of posts written by an attorney who is part of a takedown group that is going after a revenge porn site. It contains extraordinary detail about how these shitheads work. http://www.popehat.com/tag/is-anybody-down/

    Unfortunately there aren’t many success stories proportionally speaking. Generally the sites are hosted in eastern europe and are very hard to go after. But people have managed to take down some of the first ones (Bullyville took one of the larger ones off line), and there are ongoing legal battles to go after some of the U.S. representatives of those sites. They spring up rapidly, though and it’s unlikely that they can be stopped.

    1. Olivia
      Olivia January 29, 2013 at 2:14 pm |

      These sites are humiliating and degrading and need to be eliminated. I believe they are a form of abuse against women; emotional and mental bullying. My question is how are these sites legal? If someone posted an inappropriate comment about or picture about someone else on Facebook or Twitter, this person could lose their job, be expelled from school, or get sued for it. Why is this any different (especially when these posts are significantly more damaging)?

      Is it legal, because it is freedom of speech? Is there any legal insight you could shed on this?

      1. Drahill
        Drahill January 29, 2013 at 2:33 pm |

        From what I know, they use a variety of methods to claim legal protection. Some of them use the old argument that since the woman usually gives the pics to her partner at the time, she has no expectation of privacy because she “put them into the marketplace.” Some of them argue that if the partner took the pictures to begin with, he is the rightful owner and he can do what he wishes with them. Others just wrap themselves up in third-party protection that online laws afford them. They say “go after your ex who posted them, we’re just a hosting service.” Basically, they have a number of avenues afforded to them to claim legality. I know the new argument has basically become that they facilitate stalking and harassment IRL, which is a bit different.

        1. Olivia
          Olivia January 29, 2013 at 4:23 pm |

          Drahill thank you for this response, this helped me better understand the legal side of this issue. Although I see how these could be reasons used by the administrators of these sites, I still believe that women should have certain privacy rights in these situations.

          Specifically the I am appalled by the reasoning that if a male partner took these pictures then he has the rights to them. However, these are personal images of another person. Where does one person’s rights end and another begin? Are situations like this ever looked at seriously in a court of law?

        2. Miriam
          Miriam January 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm |

          I like the new argument because it’s true, but what I’d really love to see is a federal law establishing that a person’s documented consent is required to distribute pictures or videos of them. It’s ridiculous to me that I’ve had to sign a model release for studio pictures that almost no one will ever see, but no release is required to upload pictures to the Internet where things can be seen by so many people so easily.

          When I’ve been in discussions like this in the past, I’ve heard several arguments against the feasibility of such a law and I’ve realized that I don’t buy any of them. One is free speech, but I don’t believe free speech is a legitimate issue. No one’s ability to take the pictures is being censored. The law would simply be limiting distribution without consent of the person photographed. Model releases are already industry standard practice, so it seems a little ridiculous to say a release is an undue burden on people who aren’t making their living by photography but an acceptable burden on people who are professional artists. Furthermore, the US already places limits on artistic expression–copyright is a huge limit that’s actively enforced for example.

          The second is creep onto things like uploading vacation pictures, but I think that’s a problem that already basically had a solution. Most social networks now have options where people can decide whether they want to approve/disapprove of tagged pictures along with tagging. So just require everyone in pictures to be tagged before publishing the picture and accepting a tagged picture be granting consent to publication in a particular page.

          This may have a chilling effect on some photo sharing sights, but I think that would be a good thing. I think we’ve entered an era where people feel too entitled to distribute other people’s images without caring about how the photographed subject (or in the case of a deceased subject or minor, their family) feels or the potential consequences. In the case of revenge porn, it’s malicious. But I think there can be unintentional harm caused, too… things like posting a vacation picture of your friend-the-school-teacher-drunk.

        3. Henry
          Henry January 29, 2013 at 7:56 pm |

          There are laws:

          (1) right to privacy
          (2) copyright for those who took the photos or can get rights assigned to them by the photographer (e.g. if you got your friend to take the picture, or a professional (yes some people pay pros to shoot personal nakie pics))

          The DMCA is a useful tool as you can go after the host if the host is a USA entity and you own the rights to the photos.

          The current problem is you cannot often go after the registrar. i.e. the seller of the URL – this is an international problem. While .com, .org and most of the well known TLD’s are USA registrars and can be pressured here at home via bad publicity (ty Jill) or a lawsuit (ty lawyer takedown group), not all registrars operate in areas of the world where social pressure will be effective.

          Lobbying ICANN for a quick free online proceeding to pull the URLs of such sites would be a good step.

          Second, Google, Bing and other search engines in the USA and abroad should be pressured to delist such sites. Sure some asshole somewhere far away can host all the shitty illegal content he wants, but search engines do not have to display links to his site. This will kill the extortion business immediately.

        4. Anon21
          Anon21 January 29, 2013 at 8:24 pm |

          I like the new argument because it’s true, but what I’d really love to see is a federal law establishing that a person’s documented consent is required to distribute pictures or videos of them. It’s ridiculous to me that I’ve had to sign a model release for studio pictures that almost no one will ever see, but no release is required to upload pictures to the Internet where things can be seen by so many people so easily.

          I think passing a federal law to govern this kind of conduct would be a terrible idea. And if you were going to do it, you’d need to limit it to explicit images/video or at the least have an exception for public figures. (You cannot imagine how happy public officials and political candidates would be to sue the pants off people who videotaped an inelegant or stupid answer to a question at a public town hall and then posted the video to Youtube.)

        5. Henry
          Henry January 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

          and I stand corrected. search engines must not display links to sites containing copyright infringements they are made aware of or face consequences. Unfortunately this rule does not apply to privacy violations. 17 USC 512(d) http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#501

        6. Olivia
          Olivia January 29, 2013 at 8:37 pm |

          Miriam and Henry I think you both raise an important point. People are seemingly fearless when it comes to the internet, because they are protected by the shield of anonymity. However, people who’s body and private life are being exploited on the internet without their consent, what is their shield?

          Henry, like a lawyer said above, many times the host is outside the United States. This is what makes going after these people more difficult. However, I do agree that people with strong opinions about this issue have to step forward like you said to lobby for changes to be made to the amount of freedom these online hosts have.

          Miriam came up with a great idea, that we could have some sort of tagging system, so that people give consent to allow these pictures to be viewed online. I also agree that this form of information sharing should not be protected by the First Amendment, because I think it encroaches on the right to privacy of other people.

          My concern is that it is a difficult task to create a law that would be effective in forcing people to get written consent from others every time they post a picture of someone else on the internet.

          This being said I do believe that there must be other laws that could be used to protect these people. This may have to start with one federal law and the redefinition of cyberharassment….
          (where does this definition talk about online pictures to torment an entire gender?)

          “Cyberharassment differs from cyberstalking in that it may generally be defined as not involving a credible threat. Cyberharassment usually pertains to threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or to blog entries or websites dedicated solely to tormenting an individual. Some states approach cyberharrassment by including language addressing electronic communications in general harassment statutes, while others have created stand-alone cyberharassment statutes.”
          http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/telecom/cyberstalking-and-cyberharassment-laws.aspx

      2. Henry
        Henry January 29, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

        Thanks Olivia I agree 100%. I really think ICANN and the search providers need to step up on this – this is a global problem and individual governments do not have the jurisdiction to handle it except by treaty which would take forever to negotiate.

        ICANN was able to step up on trademark infringement quickly with its UDRP process (largely because in 1996 two of the participating members in the Ad Hoc Committee were INTA and WIPO). (where there is money there is action) And Google etc. have to delist copyright violators (again money = action) I hope this lawsuit does something.

        We are blessed in that ICANN and most of the search providers (Google, Bing, Baidu) are located in jurisdictions with well developed legal systems and can implement delisting and take down procedures fairly easily. Criminal statues will help too, but given the poor record of enforcement for crimes of this nature, I expect the number of prosecutions will be tiny compared to the number of victims. Giving victims direct power to remove the content or website URL entirely will go a long way to discouraging the fringe of overseas hosting services and website owners from viewing this as a viable business.

        I’d direct any ICANN petition efforts to these folks who represent the interests of individual users at ICANN:

        http://www.atlarge.icann.org/en/announcements/announcement-23may05.htm

        If any established organization wants to take this on, I’ll volunteer with the petition drafting to create a UDRP-like process to shut these sites down by revoking their registrations.

  5. John
    John January 29, 2013 at 12:35 pm |

    I read the article in the G this morning UK time. It sounds like you had a dreadful experience in college. Was there nobody you could turn to for help? As for the swine who has contacted your employer, did you not go to the police? It sounds like stalking. Isn’t that criminal in the US?
    Actually, as one lawyer to another, I’m not surprised. Some lawyers are just vile individuals who get off on others’ misery and I don’t know one without any major personality defect, me included.

    I don’t want to detract from this article by asking what about teh menz, but what about sites such as Cosmopolitan Name and Shame? They may not have photos but women do dish the dirt on their exes in graphic detail, often with names and locations. I don’t think women are always innocent in the revenge stakes.

    1. TheOtherAlice
      TheOtherAlice January 29, 2013 at 1:07 pm |

      The difference is that the women who end up on these sites face unemployment. Those men face a few good natured jabs and maybe a ‘Women, huh?’ conversation. The stakes are totally disproportionate

      1. Miriam
        Miriam January 29, 2013 at 6:06 pm |

        I don’t think the response being disproportionate is the real difference. IMHO, the difference is the sexualized nature of pictures. Maybe I’m deluding myself, but I do not think women risk losing their jobs over being identified by name and described as b*tches and sluts on a message board type site. Unless someone has a really distinctive name, a name isn’t even enough to pollute someone’s Google search. The Name and Shame board is tacky, but it’s not at all equivalent to publishing an X-rated picture of your ex to what is essentially a porn site, and it’s CERTAINLY not equivalent to linking that picture to an ex’s social media sites or real phone or real address.

    2. A4
      A4 January 29, 2013 at 1:17 pm |

      Some lawyers are just vile individuals who get off on others’ misery and I don’t know one without any major personality defect, me included.

      My sister is a public defender and I think she’s a hero for doing that. She doesn’t have any major personality defects from my point of view.

    3. Esti
      Esti January 29, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

      Yes, some women try to get revenge on exes. Jill’s point was not that women are “innocent in the revenge stakes”, but rather that revenge porn sites are becoming more and more numerous, that they are almost exclusively the result of men posting pictures of their exes, and that nothing on a similar scale has been created by women. I googled “Cosmopolitan Name and Shame” and the only thing I found was a seven-page message board thread where women were saying nasty things about their exes and giving the guys’ full names (well, some were just saying that the guy had cheated on them or dumped them, but some did say things about their bedroom performance). That’s obviously not okay, but it’s not in the same stratosphere as these many, many organized sites posting sexual pictures and video along with phone numbers and addresses, or with message boards like AutoAdmit where people posted details about their fellow students’ daily activities, pictures of them, and made graphic threats.

      As for why Jill might not have reported the guy harassing her at her job? Well, for one thing, she might well have reported him, but it takes a lot of harassment before the police can/will do anything about it — sending a few emails to each of her co-workers, as long as they weren’t demonstrably libelous, may well not have crossed any legal lines, or at least not any the cops were concerned enough about to actually act on. But even if this guy had broken the law, reporting often does more harm to the victim than good. It’s unlikely someone is going to get jail time for sending emails, and a restraining order does very little to protect you against someone who is determined to harass or hurt you; on the other hand, a person who is already harboring hateful and obsessive thoughts about you can view you reporting them to authorities as an attack and may escalate their behavior.

      1. Esti
        Esti January 29, 2013 at 1:24 pm |

        Oh, and forgot to mention: I’m a lawyer, and have no “major personality defect”. Same with the vast majority of my lawyer friends and co-workers. Lawyers are just people like everyone else — no one should be surprised that some are scumbags, but nor should you try to excuse their terrible behavior with an “eh, that’s just how lawyers are.”

    4. MaMu1977
      MaMu1977 January 30, 2013 at 11:51 am |

      “Don’t Date Him Girl” was a much better example of female revenge porn. Then again, there were far lower amounts of nudity than the gender inverse. And the main reason for DDHG’s shutdown/revamp was the tendency of *some* scorned women to attach pictures of…incompatible men to the site (DDHG’s first shutdown was triggered by a gay male-filed lawsuit.) And even now, DDHG still keeps archives of all of their targets (exonerated or not) for public view.

  6. Stefan Christou
    Stefan Christou January 29, 2013 at 12:56 pm |

    Thank you for speaking out about this. You have my respect and gratitude.

  7. Sillyme
    Sillyme January 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm |

    Those sites seem to simply be a money scam. Do they have any legal basis? I would imagine at least half of what is going on is illegal. On the pic ownership part, sadly the pics are owned by whomever took the pic, regardless of whom is on the pic and the girl probably gave consent at the time.

    But nobody cared as long as it was just celebrities being exposed and harassed.

    1. AK
      AK January 29, 2013 at 3:25 pm |

      The law about rights to photos isn’t actually quite so cut-and-dried as “the person who has the image owns it,” even if it was given to them. It’s actually a bit of a complicated matter, or at least that’s what we were taught when I was a photography student and what further reading I’ve done seems to back up. And that’s when you’re just talking about art photography, not nude images given to a lover with an expectation that they’ll remain private.

      I think you’ll also find that most people in the feminist community are quite against the tabloid rush to share nude pictures of celebrities against their wills as well, so I’m not sure who that last sentence is directed at.

      1. AK
        AK January 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

        Sorry, I left out part of that…I meant, “even if it was given to them or if they took it themselves.” And if we are arguing that whoever took the pic owns the rights, then I would bet a lot of those revenge porn posters would be in trouble anyway as often the woman takes the pictures herself and sends it to her boyfriend–think long-distance relationships, sexting, whatever.

        Plus, from what I understand, some women have had some success prosecuting or suing men who posted pornographic photos of them without their consent under harassment and stalking laws. It doesn’t seem like it is necessarily that hard to go after the guy himself (although I’m sure it depends a lot on where you are), but the image is still out there hurting her so it also doesn’t do her much good. Going after the sites seems to be the thing that would really help fix the problem, but is also very hard to do.

    2. Thomas MacAulay Millar
      Thomas MacAulay Millar January 29, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

      Sillyme, you are entirely mistaken. As soon as I finished reading Jill’s excellent post this morning I wrote one of my own that situated revenge porn together with stalkerazzi creepshots within larger universes of communal misogynist shaming and sexual assault. Mine is Revenge Porn and The Women-Humiliation Industry.

      Almost as soon as I finished mine, Charlie Glickman posted his own thoughts, What Revenge Porn Tells Us About Sex and Humiliation.

    3. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve January 29, 2013 at 3:54 pm |

      Those sites seem to simply be a money scam. Do they have any legal basis? I would imagine at least half of what is going on is illegal. On the pic ownership part, sadly the pics are owned by whomever took the pic, regardless of whom is on the pic and the girl probably gave consent at the time.

      But nobody cared as long as it was just celebrities being exposed and harassed.

      Yes, because public figures have no expectation of privacy. There are a number of pictures of me on the internet in various states of undress which were all snapped without my knowledge. However, if I’m going to jump around on stage naked for the purposes of comedy, that’s my choice and I’m showing myself to the public. TOTALLY DIFFERENT scenario when a woman shares a private photo with aloved one.

      1. Andie
        Andie January 29, 2013 at 4:07 pm |

        However, there’s a difference between pics taken during a stage performance or stills from a movie with nudity and taking upskirts of someone getting out of a car or taking photos of someone sunbathing topless using a telephoto lens.

      2. Henry
        Henry January 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

        Right of privacy, defamation and other torts spring to mind. Just because the offender might own the copyright to the image does not mean they have the right to display it to the public w/o facing consequences. Ownership and use are two different legal concepts. Just like a 4 year old can have title to a car, boat or airplane but is not allowed to drive/sail/fly it.

  8. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan January 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm |

    For whatever reason this whole concept gets me particularly stabby. It’s not enough to call women sluts anymore, now they have to photo-document the reason they’re calling her a slut? Not to mention that this form of revenge wouldn’t work without a heaping pile of cultural sex-makes-women-dirty-and-it’s-shameful. If our culture weren’t such a fuck-up then these men wouldn’t have this outlet through which to hurt women.

    1. Sheelzebub
      Sheelzebub January 29, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

      ITA. Really, if we didn’t hold such a misogynist double standard of “men who have sex are just men, women who have sex are sluts who should be shamed” we would look at those pictures and tell the dude that a lot of people have sex and that he needs to get over himself. (While he’s at it–can he let us know what the purity fairy looks like? Since one obviously visited him and sprinkled “dirtiness doesn’t apply to YOU you special schnookums” dust on his dick.)

      And maybe add in that she was obviously feeling charitable towards him, since he’s coming off as such a whinging turd.

    2. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 29, 2013 at 6:17 pm |

      Maybe women dont want to be exposed like that regardless of what society thinks of it.

      1. Sheelzebub
        Sheelzebub January 30, 2013 at 8:41 am |

        No kidding. But if there wasn’t such a double-standard, these pics wouldn’t be a thing because they wouldn’t be effective in shaming and humiliating the girls and women in them.

      2. Bagelsan
        Bagelsan January 30, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

        Without the sexual double-standard it would be like someone posting a video of me driving a car or doing my laundry and calling me a filthy whore for it. It just wouldn’t make sense, and no one would do it.

  9. TomSims
    TomSims January 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm |

    “Despite the fact that large numbers of women watch porn”

    I’m sorry, I don’t buy that statement. No doubt some women watch porn, but I simply reject the thought that “large numbers” watch porn.

    1. klaym0re
      klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 1:45 am |

      http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics.html

      Women accessing adult websites each month 9.4 million

      1. TomSims
        TomSims January 30, 2013 at 7:52 am |

        “Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites 72% male – 28% female”

        1. Andie
          Andie January 30, 2013 at 9:14 am |

          Large numbers =/= Just as many women as men.

          28% of the vast number of porn viewers is a large number.

        2. klaym0re
          klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm |

          ++

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong January 30, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          “Breakdown of male/female visitors to pornography sites 72% male – 28% female”

          Right, so that’s about 20 million women watching porn in the US each month. I would say 20 million people is a fairly large number.

    2. klaym0re
      klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 1:48 am |

      heh, and while were at it, this is an interesting statistic gathered from the same place.

      Women, far more than men, are likely to act out their behaviors in real life, such as having multiple partners, casual sex or affairs.

    3. A4
      A4 January 30, 2013 at 10:03 am |

      I simply reject the thought that “large numbers” watch porn.

      Why?

      1. TomSims
        TomSims January 30, 2013 at 10:21 am |

        Because I keep reading about people trying to make “porn for women”, which tells me that few women watch mainstream porn due to lack of interest. You’ve heard the term “chick flick” which denotes the difference in the tastes of men and women.

        1. EG
          EG January 30, 2013 at 10:42 am |

          It denotes the difference between what Hollywood marketers think women like and what they think men like. That’s really not the same thing.

        2. Sheelzebub
          Sheelzebub January 30, 2013 at 11:49 am |

          Tom, mainstream porn doesn’t do a thing for me because it’s all about the women as the server of sex, and a lot of times it slags off women. The porn for ladies makes me want to vomit because seriously, I don’t need hearts and flowers and romance. Sometimes, it’s not that there isn’t any interest in the product per se, it’s that the product is relying on dated stereotypes or sexist tropes which is, frankly, a mood killer.

        3. Elena
          Elena January 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm |

          Bodice rippers are porn for women. Women need porn that is discreet (huge sexual stigma still) and doesn’t seem totally unenjoyable for the actresses/ models. It’s almost impossible to find, for some reason.

        4. Andie
          Andie January 30, 2013 at 4:24 pm |

          Hmm.. Elena, Imma have to disagree there.. that’s a pretty grand generalization. I’m a fan of erotica and some porn, but bodice-rippers don’t do it. What does it for me are storylines where the women involved show agency and appear to be enthusiastic participants. It’s porn that doesn’t involved women being referred to as “sluts”, or “dirty” or otherwise degraded (TW: possible sexual abuse).

          One’s mileage may vary, but I’d like to think that ‘porn for women’ can in some cases mean porn that centers a woman’s experience, rather than uses her as a prop.

        5. Alara Rogers
          Alara Rogers January 30, 2013 at 4:47 pm |

          “Few women watch mainstream porn due to lack of interest” =/= “women do not watch porn”, unless “porn” = “mainstream porn.”

          The reason porn for women doesn’t go anywhere is simple. It would require making a soap opera, where half the cast is extraordinarily attractive gay men, who all engage in explicit sex with partners with whom they have a strong emotional connection, though the connection does not have to be hearts-and-flowers love (it could actually be enemies who regularly try to kill each other except when they are overwhelmed by their mutual lust and get together to fuck.) The actors would actually have to be able to act, at least as much as soap opera actors do. Very, very people from the existing pool of porn stars would qualify — the gay men are likely to be uncomfortable being objectified for female consumption (not all of them, obviously, but a lot), the straight men were never picked for their looks, and the women absolutely must be able to convey a character who has something going for her besides big tits, because she would be a self-identification character, not a lust object. Many porn actresses probably *could* pull this off, but few have ever been given a chance to try.

          Porn for women exists. It’s written, sometimes drawn, by women, for women. It almost never includes actual audio because that would require getting real men to cooperate; it stays in the realm where all the woman has to do to create it is create an image, either via writing or via drawing/painting/photoshop. Some of it is written by gay men, some of it is written by trans men, and almost none is written by straight cis men. And it is primarily about either gay men, or existing and generally copyrighted fictional characters in gay or hetereosexual relationships. Straight cis men are totally skeeved out by it. I have known many, many straight cis men who write about other people’s copyrighted characters, and to a man they express either disgust, dismay or disinterest in the porn-for-women that forms a large percentage of such writing.

          This porn is not hearts and flowers erotica. It uses rude crude language. It often features exotic kinks. It may involve completely improbable scenarios like two people having sex immediately after a superhero battle when theroetically other superheroes are still milling about. But in comparison to porn for men, the following features are evident:
          – because straight cis men are never involved in its creation, but are invariably in it as characters, it’s never audio or audiovisual. If they ever make an app that allows a woman to make her voice sound exactly like a man’s without distortion, this may change.
          – it rarely involves disrespect or degrading of the lust object in comparison to how often that occurs in mainstream porn
          – it focuses heavily on emotions; total strangers rarely get together and have sex, and if they do, it’s often because they are destined soulmates
          – however, just because it focuses on emotions doesn’t mean the language used is any less crude; the only difference between the language and the language of mainstream porn is the absence of nearly as much language that degrades a partner. People aren’t called gendered slurs as much, they aren’t called by terms that make sex into something bad as much, and when they are it’s often done with obvious affection.
          – the heavy emphasis on emotion does not translate into hearts and flowers either; stories can involve Stockholm Syndrome scenarios, hate sex, jealousy/possessiveness, anger, fear, people being assholes to each other, or most of the spectrum of strong human emotion. The only common denominator is that lust is almost never the *only* motivating emotion.

          It’s not all feminist utopia. A lot of it involves rape (usually of men by men), heavily stereotyped butch/femme roles for gay men, and misogyny toward female characters who are not the main character. But women consume it in large quantities, and the only reason no one tracks it is that no one is making money off it.

          An enterprising porn producer who wanted to branch into porn for women could do it by hiring for acting skill and looks, getting soap opera writers to write a soap with lots of explicit sex (half of which is gay; a tiny percentage could be lesbian, but based on the porn I see, female interest in lesbian porn is absurdly low given the high population of *lesbians* in the group of porn writers), and marketing it as an online, pay per view, “adult soap opera” that charges to your credit card very discreetly with a name that doesn’t indicate what it is at all. They’d make *tons* of money. But no one is going to do this, because the existing porn industry is based around exploiting women, not making product that appeals to them.

        6. A4
          A4 January 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm |

          You’re right, that is very simple.

        7. klaym0re
          klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 9:05 pm |

          Since when is “porn for women” a thing? I mean yea I know people claim to make it but I always thought the idea of porn that’s actually for a specific gender was bullshit is it not?

          I mean sure there are probably some big demographic gaps on what people of a particular gender typically like in porn but arguing that it (or any commodity really) is inherently gendered is like arguing that “Dr Pepper 10 for Men” is actually for men or that pink AR-15s are only for girls right?

        8. TomSims
          TomSims January 31, 2013 at 11:27 am |

          @EG

          “It denotes the difference between what Hollywood marketers think women like and what they think men like. That’s really not the same thing.”

          I agree they only think they know what women like, but they do know what men like.

        9. TomSims
          TomSims January 31, 2013 at 11:37 am |

          @Sheelzebub

          “Tom, mainstream porn doesn’t do a thing for me because it’s all about the women as the server of sex, and a lot of times it slags off women.”

          I agree completely. Mainstream porn is made by men for me. Porn for women is completely different.

  10. Comradde PhysioProffe
    Comradde PhysioProffe January 29, 2013 at 8:00 pm |

    Ugh. I had no idea this existed until now, and just UGH.

    Oh, and yeah, fucke that “I don’t know one [lawyer] without any major personality defect, me included” bullshittio. If that is really true, maybe it says something about you? I know huge numbers of lawyers, and there is no greater prevalence of personality defects among them than any other diverse group of people.

  11. gratuitous_violet
    gratuitous_violet January 30, 2013 at 12:11 am |

    IANAL etc etc but I think it says a lot that our legal system is creative enough to think of lots of reasons why this is legal yet not creative enough to imagine lots of women that probably don’t think ending up naked on the Internet with no legal recourse is an acceptable thing to sacrifice for the sake of Freedom or whatever.

  12. klaym0re
    klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 1:40 am |

    I’m curious, are there stats on the gender / sexuality spread of the submissions to these sites? I’m sure since its porn that its mostly pictures or videos of women but are there numbers out there on how many of the videos are submitted by vengeful women or sites dedicated to LGBT folks?

    1. a lawyer
      a lawyer January 30, 2013 at 12:27 pm |

      This is such an unpleasant topic that it actually makes me feel slimy just to TALK about it. Yuck.

      Anyway, my understanding is that they’re mostly men.

      No surprise. Whatever the biological/social underpinnings of it all, the fact is that men are vastly more interested in looking at nude pictures of women, than the reverse.

      That has two effects. Not only are men more interested in acquiring the photos in the first place, but OTHER men also are much more interested in actually looking at the sites. Given that the sites and the search results are driven by visitor traffic that’s probably yet another reason that they’re all pics of women.

      The sites don’t usually track submitters. In fact, they are usually set up to provide some sort of disconnect, because they don’t WANT to track submitters. We don’t have evidence to classify them as “abusive boyfriends,” “abusive girlfriends,” “abusive exes,” “nasty neighbors,” or “jealous competitors.” But I’d bet you $20 that they’re at least 95% men, whatever the category.

  13. Guls
    Guls January 30, 2013 at 5:00 am |

    Just published a new blog post on this very subject, by strange coincidence….

    http://musicbugsandgender.wordpress.com/

    Vile practice, needs tackling for sure.

    1. Guls
      Guls January 31, 2013 at 8:25 am |

      So, got a ‘like’ on the above post from the blogger below, and I’m asking myself ‘why’… I’ve checked out his online presence and his photo biz seems legit, but some posts on this blog just look downright creepy and unpleasant. Am I missing some kinda pomo irony here? Before I just go ahead and report the blog, if anyone has a mo to scoot on over and feedback, I’d sure be grateful. This is a little off-topic, so apologies if I’m bending the rules, but, well see what you think…

      http://ethankillianisfake.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/horrible-things-i-do-to-models/

      http://ethankillianisfake.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/horrible-things-i-do-to-models-pt-2/

  14. Guls
    Guls January 30, 2013 at 5:26 am |

    Oh, and slightly off-topic, but re the wider practice of online hrrassment of women, there are some happy endings:

    http://musicbugsandgender.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/shocked-but-not-awed/

    Sometimes the bullies’ tactics come back to bite them on the arse…

  15. Alyson
    Alyson January 30, 2013 at 5:35 am |

    A few months ago, I got a message from someone I used to sleep with telling me to go to a website and click on a picture, saying “I bet you don’t remember that!” I immediately jumped to the conclusion of “oh shit, it’s a naked photo of me!” But no, his account got hacked, the photo was of random Canadians, it was total spam. But it did get me thinking along the lines of “which exes would/could do this?” (“Could” being defined as

    1. Alyson
      Alyson January 30, 2013 at 5:43 am |

      (shit, sorry, hit post accidentally.)
      …(“could” being defined as “I gave /allowed them to take nude photos of me” and/or they were with me when I was asleep).
      …and came to the conclusion that partners 1, 2, 3, and probably 7 (the spammer) would, 5 might and had opportunity, 8 might but did not have opportunity, and luckily 4, 6, and 9 would not.
      But reading this kind of stuff is creepy as fuck. I don’t trust my first and second lovers as far as I can throw them.

  16. Sillyme
    Sillyme January 30, 2013 at 8:13 am |

    Well at least texxxan.com seems to be down. They must have tripped over the whole extortion thing.

    1. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 30, 2013 at 8:26 am |

      However right now it has been Americans doing it. Over short or long somebody in some eastern block country will try to make money off it and then he wont be as easy to shut down.

      1. TomSims
        TomSims January 30, 2013 at 8:54 am |

        “However right now it has been Americans doing it. Over short or long somebody in some eastern block country will try to make money off it and then he wont be as easy to shut down.”

        True. But for anyone to make money at anything, there must be a market. So there must be enough men buying their product to make such sites viable.

        1. Sillyme
          Sillyme January 30, 2013 at 10:09 am |

          The same is true for child porn. What are you trying to say?

        2. TomSims
          TomSims January 30, 2013 at 10:18 am |

          “The same is true for child porn. What are you trying to say?”

          Same is true for illicit drugs, if no one bought them they would disappear.

        3. PeggyLuWho
          PeggyLuWho January 30, 2013 at 10:33 pm |

          Is there some kind of MRA red herring generator site? Like the ones that you put your name in to learn your Hobbit Name or something?

  17. Megan
    Megan January 30, 2013 at 11:18 am |

    Disgusting but unfortunately I am not surprised at all. Insightful, intelligent, and timely article.

  18. james
    james January 30, 2013 at 12:48 pm |

    I’m a male victim of revenge porn and it has been devastating for me. Thinking this is a woman only problem is far from the truth.

    1. klaym0re
      klaym0re January 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm |

      This is why I asked about metrics in an earlier comment, vengeful ex’s with leftover sex tapes or pictures seems like pretty common thing among people not just “men” or “women” or “straight people”

    2. EG
      EG January 30, 2013 at 9:19 pm |

      How far, though, is the question? Are men 50% of the targets? 20%? 5%?

    3. Fat Steve
      Fat Steve January 30, 2013 at 11:15 pm |

      I’m a male victim of revenge porn and it has been devastating for me. Thinking this is a woman only problem is far from the truth.

      The idea that anyone here thinks it is a woman only problem is far from the truth. From the OP:

      There aren’t popular revenge porn sites with pictures of naked men, because as a society we don’t think it’s inherently degrading or humiliating for men to have sex. Despite the fact that large numbers of women watch porn, there are apparently not large numbers of women who find sexual gratification in publicly shaming and demeaning men they’ve slept with.

      And that is, fundamentally, what these revenge porn sites are about. They aren’t about naked girls; there are plenty of those who are on the internet consensually. It’s about hating women, taking enjoyment in seeing them violated, and harming them.

      Note the words ‘popular,’ large,’ and ‘plenty.’ Also note the lack of words such as ‘exclusively,’solely,’ or ‘none.’ Then go look up the word ‘only’ in the dictionary and tell us again who thinks this a ‘woman only’ problem.

      1. Miriam
        Miriam January 31, 2013 at 2:19 pm |

        I agree with you that neither Jill nor anyone else said that revenge porn is exclusively women’s problem, but some of Jill’s analysis does lean in that direction by connecting revenge porn to slut shaming. I’ve only seen one high-profile instance of revenge porn targeted against a straight man, and it did play out similarly to cases of revenge porn against women, including its costs to the straight man.

        So I do question some of the assertions about why women are more vulnerable to men to revenge porn. I’m not convinced that society thinks explicit pictures of men are less inherently degrading or humiliating than pictures of women. I think it has more to do with how straight women and men are socialized to perform visually, with more men interested in receiving explicit pics and more capable of pressuring their partners for them (straightness specified only because I know less about dynamics in homosexual relationships). I also think more men feel more entitled to harm their partners than the reverse–this is certainly what we see reflected in domestic abuse stats and testimonials. Even the sites listed above as female equivalents (Don’t Date Him Bro and the Name and Shame) come across as more about sisterhood than revenge to me; they seem more like warning other women about men to stay away from rather than purposefully exposing the men to humiliation.

  19. Angie unduplicated
    Angie unduplicated January 31, 2013 at 10:24 am |

    I may be off base here, but the presence of paid porn in the Internet market would indicate that naked images are the marketable intellectual property of the woman or man involved. As such, publication for money, including this form of legalized extortion, would be theft, and subject to civil damages. I am not an attorney, but this commentariat has plenty, and none of them appear to be trolls or intellectually damaged.

    Anyone else read the NYT article on reparative damages for survivors of child porn and molestation? This details some of the same behavior patterns of child porn consumers shared by consumers of revenge porn sites and trolls of blogs written by women.

    1. Sillyme
      Sillyme January 31, 2013 at 11:02 am |

      I know quite a fair share of women whom would load such a site in hopes of getting the opportunity to point out at somebody of their social circle how they found nudies of her online.

    2. a lawyer
      a lawyer January 31, 2013 at 12:33 pm |

      I may be off base here, but the presence of paid porn in the Internet market would indicate that naked images are the marketable intellectual property of the woman or man involved.

      It’s a common error, but in terms of current law, you’re pretty off base. Copyright is really complex.

      I can illustrate it for you but again: I AM NOT IN ANY WAY suggesting that this illustration is good. I am only trying to explain it.

      Imagine that you give Bob Boyfriend a nude picture of you, or allow him to take one himself (for this example I’ll treat those as the same.)

      It’s his. He can masturbate with it, or keep it safe in a lockbox. He can even show it to his friends without your permission (just as he can spill your secrets to his friends); that’s probably pretty common, albeit obnoxious. Right? You probably wouldn’t want your boyfriend arrested if someone else say your nude pic.

      Bob’s rights therefore include “Bob can show it to his friends, even though I can’t control it and wouldn’t approve if I was asked.” In fact, Bob’s rights are almost complete; if he can do things that you don’t want, then it’s really “his.”

      When you later dump Bob and he becomes Bob Badguy…. well, there’s no good legal distinction between Bob Badguy and Bob Boyfriend. Both of them have your picture. Both of them acquired it with your permission. And so on.

      I am not an attorney, but this commentariat has plenty, and none of them appear to be trolls or intellectually damaged.

      thanks ;)

    3. Henry
      Henry January 31, 2013 at 1:19 pm |

      It’s not that simple.

      Copyright rests with whoever created the “work”. That right can be transferred. For example, when a photographer shoots for Playboy they might assign (sell) the copyright to Playboy. In the cases here the copyright most certainly resides with the photogrpaher who would either be the woman beign victimized (if self taken) or the person she paid/asked to take the picture. In cases I have dealt with the photographers have been very nice and handed ownership (for free) to the model who’s worthless older pics were being abused on the internet. I can see a victim who had the pic taken by a friend or whoever getting ownership easily (one would hope).

      That’s ownership.

      Then there are usage rights. As the owner of a photograph I can license (rent) it – think Ansel Adams books. You do not have the right to make copies of his Yosemite pics out of books you bought and post them all over the internet – try it and find out! So as the owner of the physical good (the image file – think “book”) I can view it, wank (sorry I’m still a 7th grader at heart) as intended etc. Absent a right in the license to make further copies and send them to everyone – no I may not show it to friends, post to the internet etc. So if she did not tell you “I am an exhibitionist and I want this hot photo of me everywhere”, one may not transmit it around the internet.

      Given that these posters likey did not have the right to copy and distribute the work (image file) there is yet another law that comes into play: right to privacy, where one does not have the right to distribute personal information menat to be kept private.

      Now on to the thornier case where the perpetrator took the pictures and therefore he owns the copyright to the “work”. Right to privacy still exists and would bar the transmission of the image everywhere absent an expressed intent on the victim’s part.

      As noted above by another poster – this is why model’s sign releases. If you could do anything you wanted with pictures you take, the pro photographers would not bother to waste time explaining and having releases signed.

      So until I see a model release for these revenge pics I will assume the site maynot own the rights to the pic, and even if they do they are violating the victim’s right to privacy.

    4. Miriam
      Miriam January 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm |

      I was thinking about the renumerative damages, too. I’m wondering if targets of revenge porn sites can make a similar strategy work. It seems very similar.

      1. Henry
        Henry February 1, 2013 at 1:16 am |

        the damages could be huge, esp. for nude photos.

        problem would be finding a pocket to pay for it, given these sites are usually hosted overseas – you may still be able to enforce a big judgment overseas. You can also try the registrar, but it is highly unlikely a USA based registrar can be held liable for crimes and torts committed on sites it registered pursuant to its duties to ICANN to serve as a registrar – otherwise they’d be liable for a pile of stuff….

  20. Sam
    Sam January 31, 2013 at 2:45 pm |

    For any of the people who have a legal background, can the holder of the picture (of someone else) publish that picture in a book or magazine with the same low likelihood of any negative consequences? Does the medium matter in terms of people’s rights?

    1. Henry
      Henry February 1, 2013 at 1:10 am |

      The medium does not matter, what matters is how the picture was obtained, what is the subject of the picture, and whether any rights (e.g. privacy) were released to the photographer. Ex. street scenes can be published w/o release. Nakie pics, no. Anything in between depends on the facts and you should consult a lawyer to get an opinion if you are asking about a specific issue as opposed to making a hypothetical. The foregoing is not legal advice blah blah don’t sue me.

  21. Steven
    Steven January 31, 2013 at 8:09 pm |

    Thanks Jill for this informative article. I hadn’t heard of this until today and now I just saw it talked about on the news. I’m sorry for the harassment you’ve had to put up with but I admire your strength and courage to deal with it. Hopefully we can get the laws changed to help cut down on this problem of misogyny on the internet.

  22. Kes
    Kes February 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm |

    Maybe this is a silly question, but from a feminist perspective demanding affirmative/enthusiastic consent, what is the meaningful distinction between this pornography and “regular” internet pornography (especially amateur stuff) from the standpoint of the viewer? Why is this not okay, but the “regular” stuff is unproblematic?

    You generally don’t know what conditions the pornography was made in, or whether the actors/actresses consented to it being published online, and so forth. With this website it’s part of their marketing ploy, sure, but are we really naive enough to think that everything else out there is totally consensually made and distributed? Or that a person who consented to be in a pornographic film must continue to consent to further distribution in additional venues, or can have the film taken down when s/h/ze no longer consents to having their acts be available for public dissemination?

    Is actual knowledge that this particular pornography wasn’t consensually distributed that much worse than willful blindness?

    It seems to me that if we’re going to allow the use of anonymously sourced pornography as acceptable in a feminist framework, then the only argument against this is along the lines being made re: copyright or theft of royalties. The argument that this is problematic because it’s gendered harassment or demonstrates a pattern of men getting off on “harming” or “shaming” women has pretty much already been left by the wayside; we gave that argument up when we stopped arguing against mainstream pornography in general.

    1. EG
      EG February 1, 2013 at 5:06 pm |

      You’re assuming that we have abandoned those arguments. And you’re assuming that not knowing about consent is the same thing as knowing that something is nonconsensual. I disagree with both those premises.

  23. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve February 1, 2013 at 3:46 pm |

    Is actual knowledge that this particular pornography wasn’t consensually distributed that much worse than willful blindness?

    Yes it is. Most of us expect that some item of clothing we wear or some of the food we eat has been produced by illegal workers on slave wages. However, were a company to blatantly say they only use child labor for 18 hour shifts in horrendous condition- the fact that other organizations ‘might use’ illegal workers is absolutely no defense.

  24. Kes
    Kes February 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm |

    Fat Steve, your comparison makes no sense. We need food, and we need clothing. Nobody needs pornography.

    Also, I’m leery of any argument which makes coerced/forced sex out to be the equivalent of forced labor. They’re not the same.

  25. Scissors
    Scissors February 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |

    I am going to be misandrist and generalize all men. After reading about ”revenge porn” I feel VERY justified doing so. So here goes.

    What does revenge porn reveal about the evolution of the human male species? Seeing as how women rarely engage in this sort of cr*p, should we consider men as intellectually equal to us?

    1. McMike
      McMike February 6, 2013 at 6:51 pm |

      Maybe same reason men engage in stuff in general, like space exploration and women dont?

  26. Guls
    Guls February 5, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    1. Henry
      Henry February 18, 2013 at 3:37 pm |

      LOL. Entertainment for who? There is plenty of legitimately made porn on the internet.

      No it’s about making money by charging people to remove naked pics of themselves or sex videos and the like. Here is a nice article laying out the business end of it, (though it’s tangential to the topic, as the victims in this case were internet webcam johns, but you get the idea of the sums of money involved ($50K or so demand).

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/18/tech/web/naked-webcam-blackmail/index.html?hpt=hp_bn5

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