Thompson: We need to reduce the stigma about taking nudes

Madison Thompson

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

The demographics of Capitol Hill are beginning to shift as incumbents are being unseated by younger politicians.


Millennials and Gen Z are becoming eligible to run for office. With that, a slew of candidates whose whole lives have paralleled the rise of the internet will be susceptible to unflattering posts and exchanges resurfacing from their past, including nudes.

Most of the people I know have taken nudes at some point in their life. Most people probably will do this in the future if they haven’t yet. That’s just the world we live in, and we shouldn’t demonize people for doing so.

What we should do is shame the people who share someone’s nude photos as a revenge porn tactic.

Katie Hill, a former congressperson in California’s 25th district, recently resigned after allegations of an inappropriate relationship with one of her staffers and intimate photos of her surfaced online, including one where she was nude.

Regardless of whether or not Hill was wrong in her actions, revenge porn is an act of cowardice and unnecessary shaming. It’s like if you were arguing with someone and they used your trauma against you. It’s abusive and unproductive, and we can’t stand for it.

This situation exposes them to workplace discrimination, cyberstalking or physical attack.”

Revenge porn is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of an individual without their permission. These photos are usually in the hands of someone they trust, which makes it even more infuriating when someone takes advantage of that trust.

Posting someone else’s nudes is usually done in order to intimidate and humiliate the person in the explicit material. This behavior is unacceptable, and the only person who should be shamed is the one violating the other person’s trust.

These photos can also put people — especially women — in danger. These images are usually accompanied by enough information to identify the individual. Linking them to names and locations can include links to social media profiles, home addresses and workplaces.

As a result, victims can have their lives ruined. This situation exposes them to workplace discrimination, cyberstalking or physical attack. Many victims of revenge porn have lost their jobs and found themselves effectively unhireable.


Given the seriousness of the repercussions from spreading another person’s nude photos, some scholars even argue that the term “revenge porn” should not be used, and it should instead be referred to as “image-based sexual abuse.”

Young people who run for political positions, and really anyone in the spotlight for their work or activism, are susceptible to this situation. We have to create a culture that supports survivors and shames abusers for engaging in this behavior in the first place.

Madison Thompson can be reached at or on Twitter @heyymadison.