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Author Topic: Facebook pictures and Sexual Ethics
Saffron Raymie
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Okay so, say you've got a huge crush on someone, of which a large part is visual. You go on their and their close friends facebook pages, and the pictures with your crush in absolutely take your breath away - the degree of happiness they bring is huge. So you search once or twice, but hanging around their page makes you nervous - and suddenly your hand is over the 'save picture' option.

But your crush doesn't know you have photos of them on your computer, but you never tell anyone and look at them sometimes, trying to memorize that face. Is this ethical, in your opinion?

[ 02-23-2013, 05:42 PM: Message edited by: Saffron Raymie ]

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~ Saffy
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To my Abuser: I'm seeing stars. I bet you can't do that.

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Heather
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IMO, and I say this as a consumer of the 'net and a publisher, ANYTHING we put onto the internet in a way that it can be downloaded will be downloaded, and we've got to know that.

And that means someone who does that can use it for anything they like. For sure, some of those uses aren't within the law, but there's no law that says someone can't download an image of someone they like and look at it sometimes without asking if they can look at it.

People put up FB photos TO have the people they friend -- or allow access to their pages -- to look at them. I don't see how doing exactly that is a breach of ethics.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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alex dubya
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I would agree with that point- there's no way to absolutely control what happens to whatever you put on the internet.

I think that's sort of the contract that you enter into when put stuff online- you're accepting the fact that you're making it available to everyone.

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FrankieFrog
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I guess it can FEEL wrong but it's really a risk they're taking..

The internet is so vast and easily accessible nowadays that if you put anything up here, really anyone could see it, save it, reproduce it and so on.

I won't mention any specific names but I recall a few years ago, a young teenage girl took some revealing pictures for her then-boyfriend and somehow it ended up online.
Now there's no way that's going to go away!

I guess the long and the short of it is that..while I don't think its fair to say it's the uploader's fault necessarily, because when you add that many friends and with privacy settings till a concern on Facebook today, it could be something they overlook in that moment.

For example it's highly unlikely a girl you randomly approach and ask for a photograph of would give one to you, yet they'd probably readily give out their Facebook page, ON WHICH there's a photo of themselves!

It's getting to be a wilder world and I think many factors play in to Facebook photos with regards to sexual ethics.

My idea of it is that it's an easy way to gain a kind of celebrity in one's circle and to show yourself off a bit without being called a floozy.

If some girl runs out onto the street and starts shoving pictures of herself in a bikini onto people, she's not going to have a lot of good labels.

But if she uploads it on her Facebook under "Visit to the beach!", suddenly it's okay to have tens of pictures like that!

The internet gives people a kind of..discretion, obviously, and I think it's a judgement call you have to make on your own.

Those pictures, if you really wanted them, could be yours to do whatever you want with, even say..creating a weird Best Friends Forever collage with your face pasted on the side!

Hopefully as we get more into the digital age, the education system keeps up with keeping teenagers aware of the risks involved with being an internetz person [Razz]

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Heather
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I'd add to this that when we're talking about images someone themselves posted it's a very, very different thing than images someone ELSE posted without someone's permission.

And with Facebook, specifically, and other applications like it, everyone posting things has the ability to choose, very specifically, who is able to view things and who isn't. In other words, if we put, for example, a photo of ourselves up on Facebook, then whoever we allow to access those is someone we have intentionally and actively decided may see them and thus, may save them and look at them thinking whatever it is they think while doing so.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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WesLuck
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I hardly ever use Facebook, and my Facebook account is a moniker (and no, it is not my Scarleteen moniker which would be a bit silly [Wink] ).
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Jacob at Scarleteen
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I also think that having a crush at all can easily feel awkward or nervous. So maybe some of these feelings can be a part of that.

I'd be really happy to know that someone somewhere might have a crush on me. To actually know who it is might be scary, if they were someone I'm not into and I'm scared they'll hit on me etc. But the general thought is nice.

And also I wanna look good on the internet! *Cheesy smile, points into the camera and winks*. Or at least like a nice person worth being a friend with or dating or whatever. And people thinking those things about me can totally be thought of, in a lesser-extent, as similar to crushes...

The danger of facebook (although plenty of people use it really well) is perhaps that to me it seems to offer so much but really is subtly biased towards encouraging more disclosure from you for its advertising analysis, and so to take part and keep you hooked it always needs to be in some way unrewarding. But this is probably more a problem with facebook and social media in general and especially the interplay with my bad habits, than what we're talking about here.

I think that keeping an image, in your mind or your hard drive is something to which everyone has a right to privacy. So for me that goes both ways, both with looking at pictures of a crush, but also when another privacy is violated and sexual images are non-consensually shared. Pushing something into the public domain against the will of those depicted, in the knowledge of the repercussions they will suffer, is pure abuse, in my opinion.

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Lilerse
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Similarly (and maybe I should just start a new thread about this), does what one does with the pictures on their own affect the ethics of it - like, say masturbating to them? I was having a discussion with my boyfriend about this recently with regards to objectification. I find porn objectifying, but I don't find an inherent problem with someone having a secret sexual fantasy in their head about a random person they see on the street (for example). My boyfriend finds both to be objectifying (and unethical), especially when the fantasy is without the other person's consent.
For me, I guess it just feels like what a person thinks about and imagines inside their head can't really be harmful (as long as it doesn't consume their life or lead to negative actions). But then again, if I'm opposed to objectification, perhaps I should be opposed to all forms of it.

I think this was in the context of a larger discussion on the ethics of people who hire sex workers and if it's possible to be empowered as a sex worker and me comparing a freelance empowered sex worker to a combination of a masseuse and an entertainer neither of which are considered unethical professions...but anyways, I think THAT'S something for a new thread.

Point is, does anyone consider it unethical to use someone's Facebook photo to assist with a sexual fantasy without their consent? Or if someone chooses to post a photo online, regardless of whether or not it's considered "provocative," does it not really matter what others get out of it? Does it matter if it IS provocative or not (whatever that means)?

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Haleigh H
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What a great topic. It's really interesting to see the different perspectives and opinions.

I think that when you post a picture on the internet it is public. So even if you have a private profile that picture is public to the people you are friends with. Similarly, someone could take a screen shot or save the picture and do with it what they want (post it on a website, send it to friends, use it to masturbate, etc.). I think that we should all be aware that pictures we post on the internet of ourselves (or even our family/children) are public. I think that we have a responsibility to know and understand that.

It's really hard to know exactly what people do with the pictures we post on the internet. I think there are definitely things someone could do with your pictures that would be unethical, for example, edit it and repost it, post it on external websites, use it to embarrass, threaten, harass. If someone is starring at it because they adore you I don't see that as unethical although some may see it as a little creepy. Personally, I've totally done this.

This is trickier than I originally thought [Big Grin]

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Haleigh

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Jill2000Plus
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quote:
Originally posted by Lilerse:
Similarly (and maybe I should just start a new thread about this), does what one does with the pictures on their own affect the ethics of it - like, say masturbating to them? I was having a discussion with my boyfriend about this recently with regards to objectification. I find porn objectifying, but I don't find an inherent problem with someone having a secret sexual fantasy in their head about a random person they see on the street (for example). My boyfriend finds both to be objectifying (and unethical), especially when the fantasy is without the other person's consent.
For me, I guess it just feels like what a person thinks about and imagines inside their head can't really be harmful (as long as it doesn't consume their life or lead to negative actions). But then again, if I'm opposed to objectification, perhaps I should be opposed to all forms of it.

I think this was in the context of a larger discussion on the ethics of people who hire sex workers and if it's possible to be empowered as a sex worker and me comparing a freelance empowered sex worker to a combination of a masseuse and an entertainer neither of which are considered unethical professions...but anyways, I think THAT'S something for a new thread.

Point is, does anyone consider it unethical to use someone's Facebook photo to assist with a sexual fantasy without their consent? Or if someone chooses to post a photo online, regardless of whether or not it's considered "provocative," does it not really matter what others get out of it? Does it matter if it IS provocative or not (whatever that means)?

I spent a lot of time on a forum with some really nasty people who believed it was wrong to have a sexual fantasy about someone without their consent, or even with their consent in some cases... I ended up constantly feeling bad about myself because I did not feel safe asking people if I could fantasize about them but I couldn't orgasm or even feel much if any pleasure without thinking about a partner, and trying to imagine one felt intensely uncomfortable because at the time I was worried about being sexually predatory in some way so I'd worry that the people I would imagine looked like children moreso than adults and then feel even worse. Furthermore, my sexual fantasies never felt like a psychological barrier between me and the other person had been violated before those horrible people said those things to me, I only started to feel like I had no separateness from other people and what I thought in my head was about wanting to violate others because of their psychologically abusive words. I'm sorry to say this, but I think what your boyfriend believes is very, very wrong, I have lived out just how wrong it is in years of shame, guilt and tears that made my already major sexual shame even worse. My thoughts are my own, and I'm not ok with someone trying to control them, especially around something that has ZERO effect on them, if I fantasize about them and don't tell them they aren't affected and nor is anyone else except me, because I might be happier and feel more loved because I had a nice fantasy about consensual sex and it felt good. I don't see how being told "if you want to fantasize about someone then you have to ask first" is anything other than a major violation of the right to privacy of the person who this is being expected of.

EDIT: Plus, while I don't really approve of most porn out there, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with visual media that's intended to be sexually arousing if the participants enthusiastically consent. I've occasionally been lucky enough to see porn where the participants were clearly enjoying the heck out of themselves and it's an experience that has renewed my faith in humanity.

[ 05-17-2013, 01:42 PM: Message edited by: Jill2000Plus ]

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Always knock before entering my room when I am in there alone, as I may be doing all sorts of wonderfully thrilling things that I'd rather you didn't see.

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Molias
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Jill, that's really odd to me that so many people on the forum you were on thought it was unethical to fantasize about someone without telling them you were doing so. I mean, I think there are ways to secretly crush on someone that do cross the line into creepy behavior, but in my mind that's something like stalking/harassing behavior, not quiet and private sexual thoughts and masturbation. I'm really surprised that so many people had this opinion, and I'm sorry to hear that they used it against you. =(

quote:
I don't see how being told "if you want to fantasize about someone then you have to ask first" is anything other than a major violation of the right to privacy of the person who this is being expected of.
I definitely am with you there! The thoughts you have in your own mind are part of your own private sexuality and aren't really anyone else's business, and they can't harm someone else if they're private thoughts.

And to be honest, in many situations I would be pretty uncomfortable if someone I knew said "I want to fantasize about you while I'm masturbating, but I feel like I should tell you first." Because in that case I'd feel like someone was involving me in their sexual life without my consent, whereas without them telling me, I just wouldn't know at all.

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