Last weekend I watched a new series, Nudes, which tells different stories but all related to the theme of revenge porn.
It made me think of a few years ago, when a person dearest to me was in the midst of puberty and to feel “older” posted on socials photos and videos that to my adult eye appeared “provocative”. I was very worried, I was afraid of the comments of possible “haters” or that some envious friend could spread them in an inappropriate way or, even worse, that some sick adult could take them and spread them or even attempt soliciting. I didn’t intervene, or rather, I used to say a few discreet words every now and then without being too intrusive, because I didn’t want to limit the need and freedom of expression, I didn’t want to “condemn” a sweet and naive malice, that is not born from vulgarity but from an adolescence that flourishes, as a song by Stadium says. Fortunately, nothing happened and the thing was over as that person acquired security and self-awareness, but I have always wondered and I still wonder what is the boundary, when it is necessary to intervene, what can and must be said to alert the kids of “dangers” on the net, how to stimulate them to “see” and when instead let them express and even make mistakes.
And so this Nudes offers an excellent opportunity to think, because it tells absolutely current stories and different ways of dealing with the violence of a terrible and fatuous action, the one of slamming on the net the intimate life of another person.
The story of Vittorio is worth dwelling on because the point of view is the one of the aggressor: an eighteen year old, the classic good boy of success and impeccable, who secretly records a minor, Marta, during a party while she secludes with her boyfriend after rejecting Vittorio. Vittorio posts the video on social media and is sued by Marta for the diffusion of pedo-pornographic material. The initial reaction to the complaint is the denial of the action, then the minimization, with an absolute emotional void, total absence of empathy not only from Vittorio, but also from his parents, immediately ready to defend uncritically their son, and also to force the “law”, thus condemning him not to understand the deed and what generated it, and leaving him alone and unable to face the anguish of responsibility for what he did, that comes in all its deconstructing power in the face of Marta’s suicide attempt when she finds herself alone in front of a judicial and social system that does not protect her.
The story of Sofia instead shows a protagonist with a stronger identity. Sofia suffers the outrage of a stranger who films her while she has an intercourse with Tommi, with whom she is in love and who finally notices her; the video is posted and becomes viral and exposes Sofia to the violent comments of her classmates at school and on social media and moves her away (at least temporarily) from Tommi, whom she believes to be somehow responsible. The very interesting thing here is that Sofia is not left alone by her friends, who help her not to isolate herself and to react, even when they’ll find out that one of them is the guilty of the action. And even more beautiful are the reactions of Tommi, who after a first moment of confusion does not leave her alone to face the label of “easy” girl, and the reaction of Sofia herself, who challenges the friend who posted the video by putting her in front of her foolishness and does not choose revenge in turn.
What impressed me the most about these stories, however, is the ease with which within a single moment one person damages the image of another and exposes them to the public wringer and the absolute lack of awareness of the gravity of the action and its consequences. And I had a question: but is it true that there is no awareness? How is it possible that people don’t realize? Isn’t it instead that there is a precise intention (unconscious?) to strike and injury, to “kill” the beauty of a sexuality that is expressed as free? Maybe out of envy and inability to feel in depth that beauty or live that freedom.
So perhaps the use of the word “revenge” is misleading, there is no revenge, there is only lucid coldness and a great inner emptiness of those who act materially and also of those who belittle the action and defends the aggressor without trying to understand and help them to understand the gravity of their action. And who, behind the screen or protected by the group, rants and vomits violent comments, how do we call them? An idiot? Of course, but that’s not enough. I would call them an accomplice, who teams up with the aggressor to stop the victim from reacting and giving them the coup de grâce.
But Sofia reacted, Tommi reacted, Sofia’s friends reacted and also Ada, the protagonist of the third episode, and her friend react. And this is beauty, which must be told.
Thanks to Chiara Fanasca for the translation of this article