Eight Liberty High School boys were suspended after authorities discovered nude pictures of Liberty High School girls on their phones. According to the report, the boys shared the pictures via text message, Twitter, and Instagram. The suspensions range from two to ten days. The school district issues a comment about the incident:
“LPS is aware of the situation and appropriate discipline will be handed down, per school board policy. Such incidents provide good reminders for our students to use good judgment before posting anything on digital devices. Digital citizenship is taught in all schools and will remain a priority as technology use continues to increase in our society.”
There is just one other problem: the girls. According to the report, the eight boys were suspended, yet the 16 girls who sent the pictures were only verbally reprimanded. This did not sit well with the community:
When people in the community first watched this story on FOX 4 and read it on FOX 4’s Facebook page and fox4kc.com, they expressed irritation that only the boys were suspended. We want to know what you think. Please take our poll below so we can gauge the community’s stance on how students who send and receive nude photos should be punished.
The poll currently shows that 76.03% of people who took the poll think the girls should have been punished as well. The comments on the article show a similar response, particularly from women.
That seems fair given the circumstances. Both the boys and girls could face criminal charges for possessing photos of minors. The girls could also face charges for creating the images. Why should only the boys face suspension for sharing the photos when the only way they could have gotten the photos is if the girls sent them?
But that does not sit well with some feminists. Anna Merlan of Jezebel took issue with the demand that the girls receive some punishment as well:
We’ve already established that teens should stop putting their goddamn nude photos on the internet, which is, at the very least, tacky, and frequently constitutes child pornography, even when all the participants are willing and aware the photos are being posted. But Fox 4 commenters as well as the Men’s Rights subreddit are furious that the girls aren’t being punished equally, even though in this case they don’t appear to have consented to having their photos blasted across the Internet.
It is possible they did not consent to their images being shared across the Internet. It is also irrelevant. Whether the girls consented to the second act has no bearing on the first: their decision to create and distribute child porn. Everyone seems to agree they should not have done that. So why should they get a pass for doing it?
This is not complicated. Let me demonstrate: sixteen girls bake a batch of marijuana-laced brownies. They give them to eight boys. The boys then pass the brownies out to everyone they meet. Do we only punish the boys in this scenario? No. The girls should also face punishment because they created the brownies.
That is the same situation here. We do not know if all the suspended boys asked for the girls’ photos. They may not have given consent to receive the images. What they did with them afterward is wrong, yet that does not change that it was wrong to send them the photos in the first place, even if they did consent.
By giving the girls a talking to, the school tells the girls there is no real consequence for doing this. That increases the likelihood they will do it again.
Yet Merlan views it differently. She thinks the complaints about the lack of punishment send the message that “the girls certainly know now not to trust their male friends not to exploit them, and not to expect the adults in their community to care.”
Yes, of course. The adults in the community care so little about the girls that they suspended the boys and the police are investigating the case. And obviously the boys cannot be trusted. They are boys. Boys are bad.
As someone who lives with teenagers, I can attest to their propensity for doing really stupid things for what they think are good reasons. Teens are not known for the good judgment. That is why they must have consequences for their behavior. Do the girls need to face criminal charges? No, and neither do the boys. Do they need some punishment? Yes. Perhaps if the girls and boys’ parents did something akin to this they may get the message.
Do not send nude photos of yourself to people, particularly if they never asked you to do so. Do not share photos that people send you, particularly if they never asked you to do so. If you do either or both of those, you will be punished.
And yes, feminists, it is wrong when girls do it too. I know you do not think so because “reasons.” Nevertheless, it is equally wrong and both sides should be punished. This is what responsible adults do.
Yet that does not