It's Okay To Take Upskirt Photos In Texas

1upskirtPhoto: REX USA/Beretta/Sims/Rex.
Back in college, I worked at a popular restaurant and bar in Austin. One evening, security was alerted because a man in a wheelchair was using a mirror to look up women's skirts. It was before smartphones, so it's doubtful he had photo evidence of his creepy exploits. He was escorted out of the premises and banned from returning. We female employees felt disgusted and violated, looking at male customers suspiciously and bemoaning the miniskirts cocktail waitresses were required to wear.
Advertisement
But, according to a ruling by the Texas court of criminal appeals published Wednesday, we maybe owe that perv an apology. Because taking upskirt photos is, like, totally cool.
In the latest we-must-hate-women decision made in Texas (it's okay, I grew up there) the court of criminal appeals struck down a statute banning "improper photography or visual recording" because it violates a person's freedom of speech — nevermind the freedom to walk around minding your own business without someone's Samsung Galaxy up your hoo-hah.
At issue was the judges' reluctance to make a distinction between upskirt photos and other images that could be defined as sexually enticing, such as a shot of a beautiful woman crossing the street. (Paparazzi photos could have also be criminalized.) Ultimately, they ruled that, while upskirt photos are reprehensible, the language is too broad to ban them simply on the grounds that they are intended to "arouse desire."
"Protecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of ‘paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant’s mind’ that the First Amendment was designed to guard against," presiding judge Sharon Keller wrote in the court's opinion.
Incidentally, the case that brought about this ruling was the 2011 arrest of 50-something-year-old Ronald Thompson. Thompson was caught taking photos of children aged three to 11 at Sea World in San Antonio. Police found 73 images of swimsuit-clad kids, “with most of the photographs targeting the children’s breast and buttocks areas."
Advertisement
In other words, the court ruled in favor of this guy. Great work, everyone. (Guardian)
Advertisement