The following day, I have coffee with Anthony, a banker in his late twenties. He points out that he doesn’t see the pictures ripped off Instagram as porn, and they don’t turn him on. That said, he has nothing against them, unlike the videos of women that are filmed without their knowledge.
“I visit these Tumblrs simply as a warm-up. It’s alright, but it’s not good enough for me. The endless scroll function is pretty cool though, I don’t have to commit to an individual video as with traditional porn sites,” he tells me.
“But the hidden camera and upskirt vids are just nasty. That’s where I draw the line. Look, I’m what I call a ‘moral masturbator’. I believe that consent is extremely important. If a woman is being filmed, she has a right to know, right?”
I then ask for his opinion on the many amateur sex videos shared on the sites. Surely not all of them are posted with consent, I argue.
“Can you prove that? I mean honestly, when I’m watching these videos, if there’s a camera allowed in the bedroom, I’m not gonna think any further. I don’t think the girls are so naïve to not know there’s a possibility the videos may end up on Tumblr. The same logic applies to the pictures that are copied from Instagram.”
At this point, it’s clear that at some point in his life, the man has had an internal debate on morality with dick in hand.
For him, his view hinges on consent rather than on the level of nudity in the ‘grabbed’ picture. He confirms my suspicions when I ask him if he thinks Lucy agreed to having her picture lumped together with hard-core pornography.
Answering quickly, he says, “She gave up that right when she posted the picture on a public space on the internet.”
To him, Lucy’s condemnation of all the men involved the situation as ‘gross’ is unadulterated bullshit. He acknowledges her right to an opinion, but also believes that she should’ve known better.
“If you’re genuinely that clueless about the world, fine. Now you know. But if you’ve known about the sites and you know what goes on, you shouldn’t be blaming these guys for what they choose to enjoy. If they like the female form, whether nude or clothed, who are you to tell them that it’s gross and to stop?”
Sipping the remains of my coffee, I get the impression that Anthony feels women should get off their high horse when it comes to whatever men choose to do with their Instagram selfies—which has essentially become public property—and that women just have to accept that their photos can and probably will be used in ways they might find disturbing.
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