Creepers and Consent
Consent is not just a sexual term.
In today’s world, everyone wants to go viral. They’re constantly looking for ways to get noticed, to make that next big meme, video, etc. I’d rather believe this than the more nefarious stance: Everyone is a fucking creeper taking pics for their own (and other creepers’) amusement.
Case and point: This week, someone local posted the following experience on social media. He was at the grocery store with his teenage daughter, and noticed a guy following her and taking pictures of her. He reported it to store officials, who called the police. Also this week, a man was caught taking photos up a girl’s skirt at a Los Angeles Target store. Last week, a man in Pella was caught on surveillance camera taking photos of young women jogging.
This has been an issue with cosplay for years. You don’t just snap a picture of people walking down the street dressed as storm troopers, comic book heroes, or other recognizable characters. You DEFINITELY don’t TOUCH. We are not here for your enjoyment, entertainment, or misplaced outrage. If you want a picture, ask for a picture. If you want to touch, don’t. Just don’t.
In the golden age of cell phones, everyone has a camera at their fingertips. Unfortunately, most people don’t understand camera etiquette any better than they understood “turn off your ringtone in a movie theater” ten years ago.
Here are some hard and fast rules:
If you’re taking a picture of a person, ask first. It doesn’t matter if she’s dressed like Wonder Woman or wearing socks with sandals. If you don’t have the balls to ask, maybe you shouldn’t take the picture.
Don’t hold your phone in a way that looks like you’re shooting pictures or video when you’re not. This makes you look like a creeper.
NEVER take a photo up a woman’s skirt. That’s creeper 101.
If an underage girl wears something provocative (like a skirt? I mean…it’s a skirt. What the fuck is wrong with you?), she did not wear it for you. She is not tempting you. She is not “asking for it.” If you feel like you need to capture a picture “for later,” YOU are the fucking problem.
If you drive past women jogging and feel the need to whip around in a parking lot to get in front of them, and then snap pictures of them while they jog by, don’t. Most women do not feel attractive while jogging, even if you think we are. I know I would refuse a picture if anyone asked. If I’m jogging, you’d better be running, too, or I’m using you as bait.
Consent isn’t just about the photograph. It’s about being a decent human being. If you would happily snap a photo of someone who doesn’t know they’re being photographed and post it on People of Walmart or to make a meme, you are taking away that person’s right to say, “I don’t want to be a Person of Walmart,” or “I don’t want to be a meme.” Going out in public dressed a certain way does not waive one’s right to privacy.
Using your own merits to get famous: awesome. Using someone else without their consent to get famous: creepy, gross, and lazy.