With so much of the titillating 50 Shades of Grey talk around (all three of my sister-in-laws are reading the books and we discussed it in detail on Passover while the children furiously jumped in unison on the bed next to us), I couldn’t help but think of some of the other kinky possibilities that can erupt.
For instance. Naked photos. Ever taken any? I have. (Did I just write that? On the internet? Sorry, Mom. Close your eyes.) Okay, it was loooong time ago. I mean loooong. An ex and I were exploring with the camera. Film was taken. Film. That’s right. Stuff that had to be developed. How our friend ended up with our roll of film is still beyond me. But oh, yes, he did. And oh, yes, he saw. Thankfully, he immediately returned our little naked romp to us. Embarrassing? Yes. Ruined my life? No.
Emily McCombs of xoJane says that she’d love to take more nude photos of herself and highlight them around the internet, but besides her boyfriend’s “no sharing” policy, she also considers the damage of showing off one’s body if those photos get into the wrong hands. One amazing example is the internet’s resident misogynist Hunter Moore whose disgusting “revenge porn” website basically highlights womens’ naked photos along with angry text. Pictures are all submitted by scorned ex-boyfriends on a manic rampage.
Though Facebook recently sent him a cease and desist letter, making sure Moore couldn’t share photos on FB, it hasn’t stopped him. According to the Daily Beast, Moore receives 25 submissions on a slow day and 250 on a “good” day.
Says McCombs about his site:
The site’s FAQ describes a “gnargoyle” “a disgusting female who’s had the misfortune of getting her n00dz posted … for the internet world to see and criticize. Typically gnargoyles are overweight and are, but not limited to, hairy, ugly, and tattoed, with sloppy vaginas. These beasts have the grave misconception that someone would actually want to see them naked.” (What’s a sloppy vagina, anyway? Does it leave crumbs in the bed and a coffee ring on the kitchen counter?)
It appears that much of the world puts us into two categories:
1) We are the lamb out to slaughter. Example: Moore’s disgusting site by shaming naked women because they trusted another person to take their naked photo.
2) When women are feeling erotic and are eager to sexually explore, we are either shamed mercifully (Rush, I’m talking to you) or are treated in a condescending matter. Case in point: Read 50 Shades of Grey and you’re categorized as someone who likes “Mommy porn.”
You don’t find Mommy porn an obnoxious, condescending title? Here’s what Avital Norman Natham of Mamafesto says about it:
“Giving erotic fiction as a whole this condescending and demeaning nickname implies that there is something wrong or surprising about mothers wanting to read (or write) sexually edgy fiction.”
There’s nothing surprising about it, actually. New York magazine reported just this week that the erotica lit market is a “nearly $1.4 billion, recession-proof industry and the top-selling genre of fiction in the U.S., beating mystery and sci-fi combined.”
What’s the only surprising thing? The stigma. Naked photo-taking and erotic reading will never go away, but our ability to allow people to shame us will.