It seems that Pennsylvania has passed legislation pertaining to "up skirt" and "down blouse" photography of "intimate parts," specifically the "new act makes it illegal to take pictures of someone's 'intimate parts' without their knowledge or approval in a place where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy."
Where to begin? I guess first with some background grounded in the moral philosphy of the pre-hippie sixties...
First, as a male child of perhaps six or seven, I was taught (by parents, nuns, teachers and the girls themselves) the basic rule that anything placed between a girls legs without her permission (which included a semi-cylinder from the hem of the skirt to the ground on which the girl stood) is fair game to cause the one placing the object in such a position total, complete abject misery - from the girl, from local adult authority figures, and from parents (the girls parents as well as your own). Note that in this archaic definition "rules" the semi-cylinder would not "collapse" with the skirt, when, for example, the girl sat down.
Similarly, male children were also taught that the mere act of looking down a girls blouse or shirt without the girls permission also placed one in a position to receive the abject misery.
Girls were taught these same rules well before the boys would start to test them (both girls and rules). Girls were also taught that any girl who relaxed these rules "got what they asked for." Girls were also taught a strong sense of privacy for the secrets of being girls - secrets which were never revealed to a boy until a certain level of intimacy was reached.
These rules worked well until about the age of twelve or thirteen. At that age opportunities arose where girls would publicly allow situational relaxations of these rules, for example, a girl would willing ride on a boy's shoulders at a pool party or allow the boy to sit in her lap. Any relaxation of rules was, of course, controlled by the girl - though there was always the fear that an overstepping of the rules on either side could result in any number of embarrassing or miserable consequences.
All this worked well as a preparation for the final learning phase of life - the fear of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease phase - which took hold along with the age of cars and high school. Boys and girls, now young men and women, would be allowed more and more responsibility - going to the dance, the game, riding in cars, riding in cars with boys, and so forth - until they reached the age of responsibility (eighteen in those days).
Rules often had corollaries such as "Never where a top (shirt/blouse/etc.) that allowed anyone to see more than you wanted them to" and "Never get into a car with alone a boy you couldn't handle." Note that the rules allowed some latitude in deciding what you wanted someone to see or do with you and that those actions were balanced against the consequences to you and your reputation.
Failures to respect the rules could always be overcome with the right attitude, hard work and taking personal responsibility.
By the time I left high school, everyone knew where they stood relative to the opposite sex - some left to get married, others to school or work, others had babies.
The upshot of all this is, of course, you were responsible for what you did - male or female - with a larger burden of responsibility being placed on the girl.
The rules were obvious and well understood by everyone - as obvious as knowing how to wash your own hands.
Unfortunately, from the late sixties on feminism began steadily eroding these rules. And, as the rules eroded, so did the protection they afforded women. Fast forward to today - the rules have eroded away to nothing.
In their place a miraculous thing called a "right to privacy" has emerged. What is this right to privacy?
Apparently by Pennsylvania law it now means that anyone who might, for some sexual purpose such as publishing the picture on a web site, take a picture of your publicly exposed cleavage or breasts - its not your (the exposer) fault and the law (society) should punish the evil-doer. Apparently, by Pennsylvania law, it also means that even if you allow someone to stick a camera (or cell phone) under your skirt (or, I suppose lift your skirt for the camera or cell phone) its not your fault and the law (society) should punish the evil-doer.
Someone in the office brought up the passing of this legislation in casual conversation.
I took immediate offense. Why? Not because I run lurid web sites. But because such laws limit liberty and restrict freedom to which I am entitled (as explicitly provided for me in the Constitution of the United States).
After expressing my outrage I made it clear that I believe that "everyone is responsible for what happens to them." And let me be completely clear here. If I step outside my front door and I get shot - I am responsible - for I, not the shooter, stepped outside. If I get drunk at a party and get into bed naked with several other naked, horny and drunken friends and I am mistreated sexually - I am responsible - not my friends - for I got drunk and I got into bed. If I go to a restaurant and eat bad food, I am responsible for making myself sick - I ate the food.
Do I mean to imply that the shooter, my friends, or the chief are not responsible for their own actions? Of course not. But neither are they responsible for my actions.
Others expressed grave concern for me and my views regarding my horny friends. "Do you mean that 'no' doesn't mean no!" they cried. "In that particular situation neither no or yes mean a damn thing," I replied. Why? Because why should my party friends take responsibility for my lack of judgement; after all I got drunk, I took my clothes off, I got in bed with them.
Then someone pointed out the fact that there are "hundreds" of "up skirt how-to" web sites showing you "how to convert your gym bag to an up skirt imaging platform". (Hmmm? How would someone know about this? Perhaps this is actually part of the problem.)
I personally don't know any women or girls that would allow a cell phone, camera, gym bag, or anything else to be stuck between their legs in public (certainly not my wife, my daughters, daughters friends, son's girl friend, son's girl friend's friends, my daughters children, friends wives, friends children, and so on ad infinitum; why, in fact, I won't let someone do that either).
Perhaps I don't travel in the right circles? Hmmm? Loose women wearing skirts so large as to allow strangers access under them with gym bags or cell phones? Women of virtue unknowingly but publicly exposing their cleavage?
As my old business partner would say - I might have been born yesterday, but it wasn't at night.
Someone said, "Well, most definitions of responsibility include liability..." Hmmm? I am only responsible for what I am liable for? While that may be an convenient ruse to your mind free of guilt I think that it doesn't work in the real world. Folks often take responsibility for things they aren't liable for, e.g., someone elses child.
But back to "no means no" at the drunken party. "Well," I say, "would you teach your child that in this situation 'saying no' would be sufficient?" Howls erupt! "No, not my child," someone replies. "I would teach my child this is a bad situation and to avoid it in the first place," someone says.
I persue this further: "What about HIV and STDs?" I ask. "Oh," comes the reply, "if you're asked if you have one of these you must tell your partner!" Let's see. If your not responsible and you don't tell me and I get sick - ah ha - its your fault. Never mind my participation.
"Would you teach your child that his or her partner's answer would be the right amount of information on which to make a decision?" I ask. More howls erupt! "No, I would teach my child to know better than that..." is the reply.
Hmmm? Let's examine this model. You teach your child common sense, but push to have stupid, obvious privacy laws passed which make common sense unnecessary?
I think there is a problem. If cars are provided with safety devices (like air bags), people will come to rely on their presence. Similarly, if laws are passed to "protect people's privacy" then people will tend to rely on them (and not on common sense).
Closing The Loop
In the olden days (the early sixties) and before (to the time of the constitution) people were taught simple rules of self responsibility. The rules (and the laws created at that time) relied on personal responsibility. Girls knew where the trouble was - they stayed out of it. Now, trouble is everywhere and girls are no longer special (they are treated like boys).
We're stuck with stupid laws (like public health notices pasted up in bathrooms on how to wash your hands).
Had someone pasted something like that up when I was a kid, it would have been a complete joke...