March 21, 2022

Am I allowed to say no?

People often take photographs for granted. It does seem obvious in our society that people like to appear with their friend on Facebook, TikTok, and what have you.

Early on I started telling people I didn’t want to have my picture taken. It has never really been clear why, not even to myself to be honest. It might have been out of shyness – a trait that is still ever so present – or because I didn’t like the way I look in them, or perhaps some other reason. But I kept telling them.

As I grew up I started fiercely advocating for privacy and so this obviously made it up the list of reasons. How would I know what people having access to this picture would do with the information that I was at a specific place at a specific moment, or what they would do with the image. And I kept telling people not to take pictures of me.

And despite saying all that, people kept teasing me about it, while some would plainly ignore my requests and take pictures anyway.

When somebody insists or asks why – not that I mind having this discussion when they’re not pointing a camera at my face – all I hear is society reminding me that not wanting to appear on pictures isn’t “normal”.

I can try to explain and justify this all I want, but the real issue here isn’t that I am saying no, it’s that nobody listens. What we really should be asking is why am I compelled to justify this behaviour to others in the first place, instead of them simply respecting me saying “no”.

Consent, to name it, is to get a freely given “yes”.

© Maxime “pep.” Buquet 2022. Licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0 unless specified.

Powered by Hugo & Kiss.