Today, in ways to make a feminist's head explode (and boy does the explosion hurt!), we are looking at a Texas Criminal Court of Appeals decision that invasive photography cannot be made illegal, because being illegal would violate the perverts'....I mean, photographers' First Amendment Rights.
Here's a blip on it from Cosmo:
In an 8–1 decision, the appeals court described upskirt photos and similar gross practices as "inherently expressive." In the majority opinion (via The Houston Chronicle), presiding judge Sharon Keller wrote that "the camera is essentially the photographer's pen and paintbrush." For context's sake, this "pen and paintbrush" belongs to a Roland Thompson, who brought a case through the Texan legal system after being charged with taking "improper photography," specifically, photos, shot underwater, of children at a water park in San Antonio.
Quoting from her opinion again, judge Keller wrote that protecting someone, even a child just trying to have fun in a splash pool, "from being the object of sexual thoughts," is something the First Amendment stands against. Furthermore, a ban on upskirting and the like, she says, represents the "'paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant's mind' that the Amendment was designed to guard against." Taking the defendant's case, Peter Linzer, a professor of constitutional law at Houston University's Law Center added, "it's hard to see how you could make taking a picture a crime." One more awful quote from his arguments to the court:
"To think that it's unlawful to look at a little girl in a swimsuit, when you have lascivious thoughts, in public? And you did not do anything to that child? That cannot be made a crime in the United States. The fact that some people might find that very offensive doesn't change anything. ... You can't prevent someone in public from looking at you and having dark thoughts."
This is just crazy to me. How do we justify the rights of one person at the expense of another? And since when did taking photographs of other people become a right?
It would be illegal for someone to take a professional photograph of me, and use that without my consent, if I did not release it or agree to that usage. Is it really time to perhaps start copyrighting our own image? Our children's images? Is that how far we need to take this?
The fact is, this person DID do something to the child--they photographed her. A photograph that is in their possession, for whatever reason, to be distributed to whomever they choose, without the child's consent.
To me, it's yet one more example of how the true citizens of our nation are corporations and the rest of us are should just be grateful they allow us to live here. I'd like to see what would happen if I decided to take a logo or other intellectual property and distribute it however I chose. I'm pretty sure that my corporate overlords would have an issue with that.
And yet this man is free to take and distribute photographs of children without any possible recourse for the parents. It's sick.
And the implication that I, as a female, can't wear a skirt in public without fear of someone exercising their First Amendment Right to shoot a pic or two up my skirt is disgusting. It's disgusting, and yet more another example of where the priorities of our nation truly lie.
No, you can't prevent someone from looking at you. But you can prevent them from assaulting you. From battering you. You can walk away from them harassing you.
But in this instance, you are forced to be the victim of a crime, with no legal recourse to protect you from it.
Please excuse me while I go vomit.