Upskirting and Downblousing: Stay Classy, Guys

I read this feature on upskirting and the legal issues surrounding it on Salon, and felt a chill crawling up my spine the entire time I was reading it.

Walking around in Amman, I stick out like a sore thumb. People notice me, and sometimes they follow me, and sometimes I think I’ve noticed several people trying to photograph me (it happened so quickly, that I wasn’t sure what was going on). I feel especially vulnerable on escalators, even in a fairly conservative below-the-knee skirt.

The situation is even worse in Ukraine, where men just aren’t afraid to get caught doing this sort of thing. The only time I know I don’t have to worry about it, is when I’m walking around with a burly cousin or a male friend – because we all know that a woman only deserves basic respect if she “belongs” to another man. The rest of us? Fair game.

When harassment happens to me, my usual response is to laugh it off. I laughed for about an hour after some guy grabbed my ass on the metro in Kiev this summer, probably due to the fact that I had just been wondering why crude harassment of me had recently stopped.

But there is something particularly creepy about a guy getting so close, and then being able to take away a memento – a flash of panty, a bra strap, that he can then store on his hard-drive, wank off to, send to his friends, whilst bragging about the experience. When I put a picture of myself out on the Internet – I am in control, to a certain extent. Others can still wank off to it, or photoshop it, or whatever – but it’s still my picture, I created it.

“What about paparazzi? Or plain old journalists? Of which you are one?” A friend asked me recently. “Wouldn’t you say that invasion of privacy is already the norm in our society?” Continue reading “Upskirting and Downblousing: Stay Classy, Guys”