The Issue of Nudity and Consent

Published: 12th January 2015 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th January 2015 01:48 AM   |  A+A-

QUEEN'S ROAD: Nude photo leaks or what is called ‘revenge porn’ seems to be the newest form of misogyny plaguing the women of the world.

Used by disturbed men to get back at women who have ‘wronged’ them, it involves sharing naked pictures of one’s partner, taken during private, intimate moments, on the Internet.

nudity-and-consent.jpgEven Hollywood actresses haven’t been able to escape the wrath of hackers or disgruntled ex-partners, as recent scandals have had them come out in public and condemn the breach of privacy.

Meanwhile, Emma Holten, a 23-year-old Danish activist and a former victim of revenge porn, has done something unusual to tackle the stigma and the mental agony she was subjected to.

When she found out that her ex-boyfriend had released a couple of her naked pictures online, she did not understand the seriousness of the situation. Soon, though, her inbox was flooded with messages like, “Do your parents know that ur a slut?”, “Did u get fired?”, “What’s the story behind this?” and “Send me more nudes or I’ll send the ones that I have to your boss.”

She realised that the common thread connecting the reactions was the fact that they were all from men. Men from around the world who found her helplessness and the non-consensual nature of the photographs to be titillating.

“My body was not the appealing factor. Furthermore, I saw that my loss of control legitimised the harassment.I was a fallen woman, anyone’s game.What was I aside from a whore who had got what she deserved?” Holten wrote in a essay for Hysteria, a feminist website.

After three years of mulling over the incident and struggling to learn to love her body again, she decided to have topless photographs of herself taken, while carrying out normal, everyday activities.

When women are constantly objectified and sexualised throughout their lives, they start internalising it, so much so that they start looking at themselves as objects. That is what young Holten went through. The point of the exercise, she says, was to present her naked self as a sexual subject instead of an object.

“I would have to write a new story about my body in order to make it possible to see myself naked and still see myself as human. I decided that a sort of re-humanisation had to happen,” Holten went on to write.

The photographs see her brushing her teeth, reading a book by the window and lounging on her bed. Not sexualised in the least, they depict a person who has a hundred things going on in her head, not a bimbette photoshopped to arouse desire.

Highlighting the importance of consent, the photoshoot makes a bold statement that a woman need not be ashamed of her body or hide behind it. It is hers and she can show it off proudly if she wishes to.


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