Stroud explores complexities of revenge porn

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Photo Credit: Gabby Lanza | Daily Texan Staff

The non-consensual sharing of private nude images, from leaked photos of celebrities to the Anthony Weiner sexting scandals, has sparked debate on the media ethics of dealing with revenge porn.

Scott Stroud, communication studies associate professor, spoke on ethical issues surrounding revenge porn at a lecture Tuesday, defining it as “the online posting of identifiable, undesirable or undesired, nude pictures without the consent of the subject of these photos.”

Stroud said a common misconception of revenge porn is that it is a simple topic.  
 
“It’s evil,” Stroud said. “It’s a new way we can be awful to each other … but there’s complexity to this. We don’t do anyone any favors by simplifying complex phenomena like this.”
 
Stroud said there has been an increase in legislation about revenge porn, but much of it fails to understand the nature of the internet.
 
“This is what gets me about internet laws,” Stroud said. “They’re made by 80-year-old dudes who probably have AOL accounts … and don’t see how complex these issues can be.”
 
Stroud said legislation on revenge porn can be difficult to navigate, because of different types of material and different ways to share. Variables such as source, consent status, poster intent and identifying content can have different implications.
 
The use of revenge porn goes beyond sharing online, Stroud said. One artist, XVALA, planned to use leaked nude photos of celebrities in an exhibit to show how these leaked nudes are leading to a loss in privacy.
 
“Revenge porn becomes part of some of these artists’ maybe misguided attempts to criticize the state of society,” Stroud said. “We have to figure out, ‘Do we want to keep artists from using these photos as social commentary?’”
 
Public relations junior Vanessa Osorio said she sees revenge porn as a newer issue targeting younger generations due to the growth of the internet.
 
“You can’t control what’s out there,” Osorio said. “Even though we’ve grown up with the internet, we are still unaware of the dangers and the lengths of the consequences that our actions and posts can have.”
 
Exercise science sophomore Jose Garcia said the talk made him reflect on the increasing use and spread of revenge porn.
 
“I’ve known that it’s been going on around us … but (the talk) made me think of the severity of it,” Garcia said.  “It’s an upcoming issue that we need to be more aware of.”