We need to talk about how people are treating Rob Kardashian publicly posting Blac Chyna’s nudes as “drama” and tweeting pop corn gifs
Most people who used the internet in the 2010s and gravitated in alternative music scenes will remember isanyoneup, a website that specialised in leaking musicians and other scene related people’s nudes. Launched in 2010, isanyoneup closed two years later and its founder, Hunter Moore, was sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
This practice, known as Revenge Porn, is described as “the sharing of private, sexual materials, either photos or videos, of another person without their consent and with the purpose of causing embarrassment or distress.”
In the United States, 38 states have legislation against Revenge Porn ; in the United Kingdom, sharing another person’s nude images without their consent is punishable by up to two years in prison.
And yet, despite it being a serious offence, it seems like Revenge Porn isn’t treated like such — too often, when a celebrity’s nudes are leaked by an ex, social media reacts as if it’s just another shady tweet. Beyond the obvious slut shaming and sexist aspect (“if she didn’t want those images out there, she wouldn’t have sent them to anyone or even taken them”), it’s seriously alarming to see how the internet trivialises an abusive tactic.
According to a study by the Data & Society Research society, 1 in 25 Americans has been a victim of Revenge Porn, but what’s important to talk about isn’t just the situations where the images end up being shared ; it’s the fact that so many women who have sent nudes to a partner, or just someone they sexted with, live in fear of seeing them shared on the internet.
Having the images gives power to the partners when they don’t get their way or the relationship ends. To put it simply and bluntly, it’s blackmail and a way to manipulate the person whose nudes they are holding onto.
The case of Rob Kardashian and Blac Chyna is tricky to talk about because they are both highly visible people in pop culture ; due to their status as reality TV stars and their presence in millennial culture, the public almost feels as if they know them. Keeping Up With The Kardashians gives people a window into their relationship, and the show depicts what everyone is really thirsty for : dramatic entertainment. But even in that context, Blac Chyna’s private nudes being shared without her consent as a way to get back at her is still abusive and vicious.
It’s vital to talk about the epidemic of Revenge Porn and to make sure it isn’t normalised. Women (and anyone else of any gender or orientation) shouldn’t have to refrain from taking nude pictures and sending them to someone else because there’s a chance they might be leaked for everyone to see, nor should it be just treated like regular relationship drama. But here we are.
Don’t fall for this and think this is funny. Because for every time a meme about this is shared, there’s a Rob Kardashian type out there thinking it’s okay to violate someone’s trust and privacy for likes.
This isn’t drama. This is abuse.