Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Is Chicago a tyrant for wanting to ban the taking of up-skirt images & video?

It is an argument I hear occasionally from people with conservative beliefs on social issues – the problem with government trying to regulate our lives is that every time they pass a new law, they manage to steal another piece of our freedom.

Protecting us from perversion? Or hurting our rights?
As though the theoretical version of paradise is no government, and people having the ability to do whatever they want without risk of prosecution.

OF COURSE, THE more rational of individuals realize that government serves as the balancing act, of sorts, to ensure that one person’s pleasure isn’t someone else’s horror.

That certainly is what will be at stake when the City Council meets on Wednesday and includes among their activity a measure meant to protect the women of Chicago (and those ladies who choose to visit our fair city) from having their most private parts placed on the Internet for perverts of the world to view.

It got some ridicule and derision last week when a council committee reviewed an ordinance that includes up-skirt photographs and images among the list of things that can be considered an invasion of privacy.

Some may want to think that this is political people getting worked up over a non-issue. Others may actually think it is their right to take pictures up the skirts of women who happen to catch themselves in a moment of indiscretion.

ACTUALLY, IT’S ABOUT taking into account the fact that some people who try to get these pictures are of the approach that they’re somehow entitled to make some money off of someone else’s exposure.

These are the people to whom I want to scream, “Get a Job, you Loser!!!!” Of course, they probably think the rest of us are “suckers” for working for a living.

Aldermen in recommending the measure pointed out the fact that these up-skirt pictures that will soon become a criminal act have value for the people who take them.

Sure enough, look up “Chicago upskirt” on a search engine and you’ll find a string of websites that feature video snippets and still photographs that seem to be taken by people who hang around underneath staircases (think “el” trains and the stairs leading to lower Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive) with cameras ready.

PERSONALLY, I FELT a tad sleazy looking at these images, which seem to grasp the attention of those amongst us who get a rise out of a few seconds glimpse of panties – or no panties in some cases.

Then again, being in the news-gathering business, most of the up-skirt shots I have seen in my lifetime were those taken by photographers at basketball games who happened to be positioned near the cheerleaders. The pursuit of the perfect view of a player stuffing a ball also produces the occasional shot of a cheerleader with her skirt flopping up over her waist.

Those, of course, become images that never actually make the newspaper.

Personally, I feel a bit stupid that our City Council is compelled to have to pass an ordinance on this issue. It ought to be a common-sense idea that taking pictures up a woman’s skirt without her consent is downright creepy.

THEN AGAIN, WE have a society with some fairly creepy elements. Let’s hope we’re able to get this particular measure approved by the aldermen without anyone making some sort of stink that claims supporting the would-be photographers amounts to “freedom” and the “American way.”

But I’m also realistic enough to know that some people will try to find a loophole to try to get around it.

What happens on windy days when a sudden gust blows a woman’s skirt up in public and we get the perfect glimpse of her panties? Will we now get would-be photographers whipping out their camera-equipped phones in search of the “money shot?”


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