Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Victory for Peeping Toms

By Jessica Wakeman, Huffington Post. Posted March 18, 2008.

A court in Oklahoma holds that upskirt photos, taken without consent, are perfectly legal. Have we really ceded our privacy rights this much?

This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

It's "open season for peeping Toms," says an Oklaholma Court of Criminal Appeals judge -- the lone dissenting voice on a 4-to-1 decision in favor of a 34-year-old perv who stuck his camera underneath a 16-year-old girl's skirt and flashed.

Ew. And I thought these things only happened on the New York City subway system.

The problem, you see, is this 16-year-old skirt-wearer expected privacy in public. According to the Feminist Daily News Wire, as originally reported by Tulsa World, the court decided "the [Peeping Tom] statute only applies in situations where the victims are in a reasonably private place such as their own homes, a restroom, or a locker room."

So, let me get this's not okay to violate someone in his or her own home, but it is okay to violate that person as soon as he or she sets foot on the sidewalk. Why would the court make such a distinction? To protect all those people who "accidentally" take photos or videotapes of other people's private parts?

Inappropriate behavior runs a spectrum, and perhaps Oklaholma's court of criminal appeals' judges have become inured, in our Girls Gone Wild culture, to the ever-changing concept of "private parts" and personal dignity. (If you're a paparazzo, it's apparently okay to take photographs of just about anything.)

So let me explain it to them: there's a difference between being benignly leered at in public (such is life) and having your private parts photographed by some creepy scumbag against your will. Everybody knows that. Why don't these judges?

Memo to Fox News anchor-lady who are " we don't wear the pants" -- if you go to Oklahoma, keep your legs crossed.


See more stories tagged with: privacy, gender, harassment, law

Jessica Wakeman is an associate blog editor at The Huffington Post. She is from Fairfield, Connecticut, and studied journalism and gender and sexuality studies at New York University. Prior to working at The Huffington Post, she worked at and Radar magazine. She also worked as a local newspaper reporter in Connecticut. Jessica has written for Bitch magazine, The New York Daily News, New York Press, and Radar magazine.

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