Everyone does it—and no one is safe. I’m talking about naked pictures. Humankind has appreciated them since evolution granted us an opposable thumb, a piece of flint, and a wall to scribble on. But considering the scope of today’s technology, hitting a simple “Upload” button can make you notorious for the sole purpose of showing your hoo-ha (Ask Kim Kardashian!). And while you’re praying that your barely computer-literate mother doesn’t Google you anytime in the next, oh I don’t know, 45 years, you’re silently fuming and asking yourself, “How the hell did I get in this mess?” Let’s go through a simple walk-through of the sequence of events as they may occur and how to prepare yourself. As with all ails, prevention is the best cure, but first, we’ll talk about how your ambition affects the likelihood of your intimate photographs being leaked.
What is your goal in life?
If it includes children’s programming, politics, academia, or “first-person-to-do-blank”, then you’re at the highest risk of damage. Common sense indicates that you probably shouldn’t take raunchy naked pictures ever if your role is to fulfill a contribution to the greater humanity. You’re allowed to funnel your untapped sexual exhibitionism in an alternate creative outlet, like an erotic screenplay or novel, but by all means, you will be stripped of your noble titles if pics surface of you in fuzzy handcuffs. Just don’t do it.
Next is PTA-mom, local pastor, and local pastor’s daughter, on the list of ruined reputation. While, yes, they’re whispering and looking in your direction, you might still be able to shrug it off and live in relative obscurity. Or move outta your shit-small hometown, change your name, and hope no one gets too curious about you.
On the bottom of that list, entertainment, music, Miss U.S.A. contestants and talentless debutantes fear not, because sex sells and most likely you’ll turn it into a VH1 reality show spin-off. You might be embarrassed at first. But once the Playboy and Maxim offers funnel in, the money will ease the fall. And in this society sex-sells. At the price of your dignity.For the regular person, it’s tough maintaining long-distance relationships and spans apart from your lover without utilizing technology to ease the separation. Everyone has come home from a club, drunk and alone, missing their boo, and clumsily partaking in the one-armed photo shoot. It’s almost a rite-of-passage. But factor in the degrees of exposure of yourself and your reputation in the community, and you might be able to minimize the damage. After all, it is a possibility for all of us, known or unknown.
If you must do it, here’s how:
• Understand that anything taken on a camera has a high-likelihood of being stolen. While you can greatly reduce the chances of leaked photos by only capturing them on your devices and keeping it under lock and key, relocating, lending, or just being plain careless can put you at highest risk. Also, keep in mind that when you bring your laptop in to the Geek Squad, it’s their job to go through your hard drive. Don’t give them a reason to call the coworkers after hours and gawk. If you are relatively known, the price of the picture itself can compensate a pink slip at Best Buy, easily. Take the pictures, move it into an external hard drive, and keep it in a high-security safe. If it breaks, consider it a total loss.
• If you’re on vacation with your husband or significant other, record, watch, and delete after. It’s the only true safeguard. While sentimentality and eroticism are fun, you must consider your position in society and what the consequences may be to your likelihood. Always be in control, whether it’s of the technology that captures you, or the manner in which you consume intoxicants during your amateur shoot. Better safe than sorry.
• Speak to your lawyer about privacy laws, defamation, and cease & desist procedures if the breach has already occurred. They can issue them to anyone displaying your bits and pieces, and can be issued soon after the exposure hits. (Ask Cassie and Bad Boy’s team of lawyers that got her stuff off the ‘net in 24 hours).
• If you’re young, have a rockin’ body, and don’t mind a little exhibitionism, record or photograph at your risk, but have a release form handy for your partner/photographer/amateur cinematographer. In this case, it’s less about your exposure and more about protecting yourself from people trying to make money off of you.
• Use iChat or a program that streams live if you insist on getting freaky over the internet. And while you’re chatting, get it in writing that they will not do a screen grab without your knowledge and email it to the homies. But you’re putting yourself at great risk, so be forewarned. And do it with someone you know and trust 100%.
• If anything, have a boudouir photo shoot with lingerie from a professional photographer. It’s sexy, classy, and not a completely graphic portrayal of your body. Your partner can frame them proudly in the bedroom, and you can remember your young physique for years to come—without shaming your grandchildren (too much).
Remember, you’re not the only one that does it, but you can be smarter about it if you educate yourself and protect your reputation fiercely. At the end of the day, our reputation really is all we have.
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