Revenge porn laws criminalize distribution of sexually explicit media without the consent of the individual/s involved. Often, it’s done by ex-partners who wish to harm the individual, usually a woman.
Are they necessary?
My first thought, when hearing about them, is that it’s another way to overregulate things and make every little assholery behavior illegal. I’m not a fan of legislating morality – I think the state should protect its people from the worst offences, but leave people to figure the small stuff out for themselves. The personal is not political.
It’s already illegal to secretly film people if they are not in public. Secretly filming your partner while you have sex might land you in hot water, if ever released. The only obstacle would, perhaps, be lack of evidence. It would be hard to prove that the victim didn’t know he/she was being filmed. But that would be true with revenge porn laws, too. It would be hard to prove that the accuser didn’t initially consent to having their pictures released on the internet, and then lie that they didn’t consent. So it doesn’t seem to help.
2)The Consequences Aren’t Enough to Make it Illegal
There are concerns that having your naked pictures be made public can lead to job loss, marital prospects being negatively affected, and reputation being ruined. Is it a good reason to make it illegal?
*If potential for job loss was a good reason to make something illegal, it would make gossip illegal. Also, revealing other people’s secrets, such as HIV status. Do we really want this much restriction on free speech?
*Why does revealing that you do normal, harmless things (have sex, and make home videos/photos) have to lead to job loss and a ruined reputation? Why can’t someone be a powerful CEO by day, and an amateur pornstar by night? If nude pictures lead to job loss and shame, then society/employer was the problem, not the person whose pics were released, and not even the person who released the pics. Btw, I’m not convinced job loss and a ruined reputation would even happen over nude pictures. At least not here. Maybe more likely in puritan USA?
*A person who is greatly concerned with their marital prospects would not film themselves having sex, or take candid photos. And even then, I’m not convinced it’s that big of a deal. Even porn stars get married. Some men might not accept a woman who has a sex tape, but many others will see it as an opportunity to create their own sex tape with her. Plus many men get upset that she used to do kinky acts on tape, and refused to do the same with him, not that she did them at all.
3)They are Oddly Specific
Why do we need laws specifically against releasing naked pictures and porn? Lots of things except sex are private. Lots of things except sex can be embarrassing. If the logic behind revenge porn laws was to protect privacy and reputation, then posting prank videos should be illegal. Same would apply to pictures of drunk sleeping people, who have been drawn on with a marker. Or reading and revealing someone’s personal diary.
IMO, the focus on sex reveals revenge porn laws to be another manifestation of the feminist fear that a woman’s sexual capital will be stolen or tarnished somehow. It’s not just about provacy or consent.