The anti-revenge porn law is a step forward – but why is the female body still so shameful?

Catherine Cooke

Last year a new law was passed in the UK:

“People who maliciously share sexually explicit pictures of former partners will face prosecution”

This is, of course, excellent news. It goes some way to alleviate the anxiety felt by those being blackmailed with formerly private naked pictures. The effects of revenge porn on their victim can be truly devastating – humiliation, panic attacks, ostracism from family and community, and a threat to job security.

But the fact that we even need to have such a law in our sexually liberated society is concerning. Pre-marital sex is widely accepted, contraception has been freely available for 60 years, and we are bombarded by sexual images in advertising. The total chaos that revenge porn causes clearly tells us that this supposed sexual liberation does not exist as we imagine. Ancient taboos and restrictions concerning female sexual behaviour still manifest themselves, even though they…

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