I've reordered the quotes below.
Whether or not it is "logical" to worry about being
seen naked is not the point,
Did I say it was? No value judgement can ever be "logical",
anyway... which doesn't mean that value judgements aren't worth making,
or don't need to be made.
My point is that there really hasn't been a satisfactory debate over
to what degree privacy should be socially recognized (let alone legally
recognized) as a right, or which of the many possible degrees and kinds
of privacy should qualify, or how it should be enforced.
Yes, there are some pretty old customs, but they don't really cover
the whole space of privacy, and the conditions that created them have
changed anyway. Not only has there been social change, but we now have
unprecedentedly cheap, ubiquitous, unobtrusive surveillance and
recording devices. Such an enormous technological change is bound to
have some significant social implications.
Look at the right to free speech. It's been discussed every which
way. There've been huge arguments over whether it exists, why it's
important, where its boundaries should lie. There's a whole body of
theory and discourse about it. The right to privacy, if there is one, is
not nearly so well studied, but people are running around making rules
about it anyway.
That's to be expected; people aren't going to wait for a question to
be settled before trying to impose their own views. On the contrary,
they're going to try to get their views put into every possible law and
custom, because the first laws and customs themselves will influence the
ones that come afterward. However, the fact that people will do this
doesn't make it a good thing, or something to be encouraged.
I'd like to see a real discussion of the personal and social
costs and benefits of the various viewpoints, and I haven't seen
one. For example, the right to free speech is generally believed to have
social value extending beyond its value to any individual speaker,
because it serves to improve the whole society in various ways. Does the
right to privacy have social value beyond its value to the person who is
not observed? What are the negative social aspects of privacy itself?
Assuming that privacy itself does have a net positive social value, do
the measures that might be used to enforce privacy have other,
non-privacy effects that are negative?
Nudity is actually a crummy issue for me to be picking on, because
the social value of letting just anybody photograph anybody naked is
probably pretty small, whereas the distress involved might be relatively
large. The case for privacy looks relatively
strong here. Even so, it seems to me that even locker-room photography, absent
an announced rule to the contrary, should be accepted... and even that
one should be careful about what rules one makes in such a situation.
Or put another way, which "right" has more priority, my right to see you
naked if I desire, or your right to decide who you appear naked to?
Well, no, actually. If you had a right to see me naked, you could order
me to strip any time.
The real question is, once I have decided, of my own free will, to
be naked in your sight, in a place open to the public, without saying a
word about what you could or could not do, do I still have a right, not
merely to object or be annoyed, but to use the force of law against you,
should you take and distribute a picture? The question isn't whether you
can see me naked; I've already consented to that. In fact, by
being naked in the locker room, I've already consented to have
essentially any male who may wander in, and perhaps the occasional
female with a good reason to be there, see me naked. The only
question is whether you can record me naked.
I tend to believe that the law should be reserved for really, really
egregious behavior, and should be applied only when there's no
alternative. Furthermore, I think it's a very important
principle that people should know what they're forbidden to do. I don't
think it's unreasonable to at least expect the club to put up a sign if
it wants to prohibit photography, and I don't think it's "astounding" or
"sad" if a judge applies such a minimal requirement.
It's the sex issue...people, especially women, don't want to be seen
in front of random strangers of the same sex.
Do you mean "other sex", rather than "same sex"? 'Cause if they don't
want to be seen by random strangers of the same sex, they probably
shouldn't be in a locker room...
The "amateur" pictures taken in the men's locker room were probably
sold mostly to other men; the gay male porn market seems to be larger
than the het female market. Most of the porn customers could probably
have walked into the locker room itself. So perhaps it isn't so much a
question of who sees you, but under what circumstances they see you and
what their, um, state of mind is when they see you.
In my experience, people don't like the idea of being photographed
secretly, whether they're naked or not. I'm not sure of all the reasons
for that. Maybe it's because there's no "level playing field"; being
seen without seeing is bound to unnerve anybody whose distant ancestors
had to deal with predators. Maybe it's because they feel they need to
know when to keep their guards up; the Rules require you to act
differently when other people are watching. Especially in the case of
nude pictures, maybe they don't like the idea of strangers masturbating
over pictures of them. I suspect it's a mixture of all of these.
I'm not sure even the nudity part is entirely a sex issue,
although I agree that that's part of it, and that, especially for women,
there's a real concern about male sexual aggression. I think there are
also questions of ego, plain old habit, and probably other things, too.
By the way, since we're trading locker room stories, I sometimes go
to a day spa that has separate men's and women's locker rooms.
Everybody, both sexes, walks out of those locker rooms into a common
area, buck naked. The place is supposedly clothing-optional, but
I've never seen a single customer of either sex who had a stitch on. I
suppose it may happen, but it's awfully rare if it does. So why do they
have separate rooms? It can't be just about being seen nude.
[ Parent ]