To exist as a peaceful society, we must abide by a social contract, a set of rules which will defend and protect the whole common force, the person and goods of each associate, but in which each person, while uniting himself with all, may still obey himself alone, and remain as free as before. These rules, apparently, are established by day time talk programs, the Maury Povich and John Walsh shows, especially. One rule they championship regularly is that it is wrong to look up women’s skirts with video cameras. The social contract won’t permit the practice as a tolerable activity within the framework of public good and the body politic, or in their words, “Peeking Perverts… Busted!”
There’s a curious amount of raw up-skirt footage displayed on those shows, ostensibly meant to dissuade us. Still, I wonder who among us, while standing in line at the bank staring at our feet, hasn’t wondered how much money and time it would take to mount a tiny camera inside one of our shoes? Or at the bottom of a fake walking cane? Regardless, I am more than willing to agree to be against the practice for inclusion in our sovereign state. I like this society, especially the American restaurants… there’s just so much bread!
Then, I made the mistake of reading US Magazine and Mademoiselle, two mainstream publications who are supposed to maintain the minimum level of morality of our social contract. But in US, they now have a “wedgy” section. It is near the “They’re Just Like Us…” section which shows how celebrities are “just like us” by publishing photos of Demi Moore or Sheryl Crow when they come down the hill to pick up their laundry or eat a bag of potato chips. Some of the photographers’ film roll, on such occasions, apparently just happened to contain a few shots of them adjusting their underwear.
In Mademoiselle, they print of photos of celebs bending over to reveal their thong. I found the two adjacent shots from upskirtsurprise.com while taking their “free tour”. This site, and many like them, are often disparaged as repulsive, pornographic, violating, and, at times, illegal, but these pictures are exactly like ones in the aforementioned publications.
I wish I could show you how similar the shots from the magazines are. Unfortunately, I was standing in a Wal-Mart reading them. The only thing worse than standing in a Wal-Mart reading Mademoiselle is standing in a Wal-Mart in the first place. It would have meant days of self-flagellation if I actually walked up to the counter and explained how I “just needed to buy something to get cash-back”. (By the way, I said flagell-ation)
In some respects, the celeb pictures are even worse since the famous people are bound to know about it. Anonymous victims of the skirt stalker-azzi probably won’t find out about it unless they visit illicit “voyeur” websites. Occasionally, a co-worker may find the snapshots and post them on the workroom bulletin board. But quitting, often the case for many problems, is an easily available recourse. What’s a celebrity to do? Quit being a celebrity? I don’t think they are enough “like us” to survive that.
I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, mostly the hypothetical “shoe camera” issue. But after that, I am left to wonder if I really want to live among a society where it is commonly agreed upon that websites like www.mission-upskirt.com are as OK as www.apple-pie.com and www.baseball.com. Even for panty-pic advocates, I have to imagine the loss of its taboo nature would be frustrating. I have come to the conclusion that our social contract still holds dear the right of a woman to walk down a street without worrying about a camera hidden in the sidewalk (though I wonder, how much would a sidewalk-camera cost?). Ultimately, the only things that may have changed are that US Magazine and Mademoiselle are gratuitous and insulting. And since I had never read them before, this has probably always been the case.