Search

‘Naked pictures are just modern day love letters’

PUBLISHED: 08:00 11 May 2017

Snuff Box Theatre present Blush 
at the Soho Theatre. Picture: The Other Richard; 
info@theotherrichard.com

Snuff Box Theatre present Blush at the Soho Theatre. Picture: The Other Richard; info@theotherrichard.com

©The Other Richard 2016

BRIDGET GALTON talks to Charlotte Josephine, a writer exploring where our desire to shame others with vengeful sexual images comes from in Blush at the Soho Theatre

Charlotte Josephine describes her play Blush as an “aggressive call for empathy”.

The Hackney writer performs alongside a male actor in interwoven stories of five victims and perpetrators of revenge porn.

She wrote it in response to 2015 legislation making it illegal to disclose a private sexual image without the consent of the person depicted.

But the 27-year-old felt the law didn’t begin to excavate the issues around a practice that foregrounds gender, sexuality and our changing relationship with technology.

“I was furious that it always takes an impossibly long time to change laws that protect women and I didn’t know what to do with that anger,” she says. “Blush is an angry and honest look at where our desire to shame others comes from and how the shame we feel at not measuring up to impossible glossy images can spill out sideways into acts of violence.”

The law, she says was made by middle-aged middle-class white men “who’ve never used Snapchat or Instagram and have no understanding of how it’s affecting young people and their relationships”.

“It’s not as black and white as saying just don’t share images. Everyone’s got the internet in their pockets and is taking photos of themselves all the time. Naked pictures are a modern day love letter for a whole generation.

“Anyone over 25 has been shocked by the show’s content, anyone under says ‘we know this’.”

In an age where someone can be publicly dumped by changing a Facebook status to ‘single’, getting back at an ex can also be swift and public.

“It’s so quick, to attack back is only a couple of clicks with your thumb,” says Josephine.

“I didn’t get the internet on my phone until 17 but young people now are growing up watching hard core violent porn from a young age and it’s affecting how they behave with each other. It’s fast forwarding all those awkward fumbles to ‘do I look like that man on the videos?’ It’s a different world and sex education hasn’t caught up. We are all stuck in this experiment that no-one signed up for.”

Josephine dislikes the term revenge porn which “suggests the victim has done something that deserves revenge, when often they have just broken up with someone”. She adds: “We live in a society where we victim blame and say ‘you shouldn’t have taken them in the first place.”

Comparing the practice to sexual assault, she prefers the term: “image based sexual abuse” but accepts the phenomenon isn’t new.

“The desire for revenge is primal, it’s attack or be ostracised it’s just the method that’s changed, sped up by the internet.”

The sites themselves make money through advertising and she found them “horrific.”

“Researching this was really dark. Reading those comments, seeing shame photographs I lost faith in humanity for a bit and men in general – because most perpetrators are male. Luckily I have lots of feminist men in my life.”

For the victim there are often “ripples of trauma”.

“It’s shared very quickly and it’s hard to get rid of. If you are applying for a job it comes up.”

But her deepest interest lies in what the practice says about gender.

“I’m interested in what are we teaching our boys that makes them feel they need to behave like this to be men and how are we teaching girls to be attractive? Men view vulnerability as weakness and when a girl leaves them they feel shamed and emasculated.”

The antidote to shame she feels, is empathy. “There is such a lack of empathy at the moment but humans are capable of extraordinary kindness and we crave community and human connection. That’s what theatre art and music offer, an opportunity to say ‘me too’ and allow a healing to take place.”

She’s also a passionate advocate of looking audiences in the face and making them “feel part of the conversation”.

“Blush sparks a debate about the internet, porn shame and gender. I don’t know the answers. I am not smart enough to solve misogyny, but I feel there’s a possibility we can culturally take responsibility for it.”

Blush runs at the Soho Theatre from May 16 to June 3.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington Entertainment Stories

Friday, December 8, 2017

This is wholesome, traditional, uplifting, entertaining and highly recommended

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Homerton performer’s show is back for a week in December, with a modern and “ridiculous” retelling of the New Testament

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Christmas can be a difficult time for care leavers, says Lemn Sissay. That’s why he decided to start organising Christmas dinners for them

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Expect a fun-filled, frothy, festive, feel-good, fab-time show at the Hackney Attic

PROMOTED CONTENT

“With teenagers there’s a lot of banter, and you can really establish a relationship. You have to trust teenagers to make their own decisions.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now