Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Privacy is Dead

A long long time ago, in a practice space we no longer use, a speed practice was ending and the public was coming in to a public skate.  One of my former teammates was taking video of the practice and the team cooling down; we were all waving at her camera, singing the bad music being played by the dj, when another former teammate decided to moon the camera.  Oops.  Nobody really thought too much about it at the time, and the woman taking the video even said "I'm definitely posting this tonight when I get home." Situation over, right?

Wrong.  Teammate A definitely posted the video and started to tag people in it. Hoo boy, she did warn us, didn't she?  Well, instead of being angry at the person who mooned the camera deliberately, people started getting pissed at the person who posted it. Interesting.  I didn't care one way or the other; the woman who mooned the camera was aware it was on, that it was getting posted, and that she had chosen to do something inappropriate in a public area.  What was the problem?

Clearly, I have no shame.
Well, the problem is that derby folk think that they are surrounded by a wall of derby society that let's them behave in "inappropriate ways" without any fallout.  A lot of people argued that it was our team's job to protect the mooning teammate from her own stupidity.  Personally, I felt that the teammate in question was an adult woman, and she wasn't inebriated, just silly.  She wasn't wearing a league shirt in the video and since the video was so long, most people wouldn't have seen her extremely pale butt anyway.  But it made me wonder, why do derby people think that other derby people will cover for their bad behavior?

I behave the same in my "real" life and opposed to my "derby" life.  I don't have a persona, and I generally don't act like an idiot no matter where I am, or I act like an idiot no matter where I am!  Evidently, others do, and expect people not to expose their antics to the public.  The problem is, the public is everywhere now; if derby people get out of control at an afterparty, you can bet someone there has a cell phone and is taking pictures.  They don't need your permission!  If you are in a public space, you are fair game.  If you are doing something embarrassing to you or to your league while wearing your team logo, you have made a grave error in judgement.  Nobody HAS to protect you; you shouldn't be putting yourself in situations where you need to be protected.

But Q, teammates have each others backs!  Yes, absolutely, but teammates shouldn't force other teammates into the babysitter role.  Just because I don't drink much or any, doesn't mean that I want to be the "fun police" for the night; I shouldn't have to stop you from from climbing onto the bar and trying to pour yourself a beer, or chase you down so you don't flash the party your boobs, or screaming threats across the room.  Even if I was ok with being your babysitter, I certainly can't be your security force and stop people from documenting your public ridiculousness.

With the advent of better cell phone cameras and the immediacy of Facebook, more and more people are opening themselves up to being humiliated on social media, and that means they are also opening their league up to the same humiliation.  Remember, most leagues are fighting to have this sport accepted as legitimate; when you are out being inappropriate, it reflects badly on everyone involved.  Sponsors don't want their names associated with an out of control group of people; derby already has that rep, and it's been a long struggle to change the perception of derby.  Also, most leagues try to attract families to be spectators, and when the image they have of a derby girl is a half naked party girl, then maybe they won't be inclined to come to the games!

I'm not saying you should never cut loose at an afterparty, but you need to know that derby isn't going to be able to stop outsiders from posting pictures or videos of you.  Facebook is another problem.  Even if you are tagged in a dubious picture and you think you're the only one who can see it, you're wrong.  Friends of your friends can sometimes see pictures and posts because you friends have a different privacy settings on their account.  You can't always assume you can control who has access to your images.  Google your derby name once in a while, and see what images come up. You might be surprised.  Just remember that privacy is not what it used to be, and big brother is watching!  Also, once it's on the internet, it's like digital herpes.  That's stuff is there for life.


  1. "Yes, absolutely, but teammates shouldn't force other teammates into the babysitter role. Just because I don't drink much or any, doesn't mean that I want to be the "fun police" for the night." AMEN SISTER! What I used to say was: Do not make me parent you. I joined derby to get away from my own kids once in a while. :D

  2. These blogs just keep getting better and better!!
    I was once criticized by two former teamates for posting pictures of a derby event because they had people in their professional lives connected to their personal page that they didn't want seeing derby pictures. And that what they do in their 'derby life' should be private. This only immediately brought me to question #1: How is this my problem?! & #2 How is this supposed to be private when you're doing it in PUBLIC?!
    I'm a firm believer in that if you don't want people to see it, don't do it!!

    Thanks for another great read!!

  3. I so agree with you Q. For the longest time I got put into or felt it was my responsibility to play the role of the babysitter, and I just let people do their thing and deal with the consequences. It's not my job to protect others from their own stupidity even if they are my teammates.

  4. Arkansas Razorback fans may not cotton to you pulling the ears on that hog!! I only wish I had those kind of cool toys in my home....

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