Have you ever received an unexpected and unwanted picture of male genitalia? If you’re a woman, the chances are you have. According to a 2017 survey by YouGov, nearly half of all female millennials have been subjected to a “dick pic”, and nine in ten (89 per cent) received one without having asked for it.
What do we do with these images? Well, speaking from personal experience, I look in horror for a few moments before deleting – but I remember every one. An unsolicited dick database is etched into my memories museum in a way I wish something of a more intellectual nature might be instead.
I always remember where I was and what I was doing when I received a penis photo, in the same way others do when they’re asked “where were you the day John Lennon was shot?”. These explicit snaps knock you off balance. There you are doing something trivial like the ironing while there they are doing something, well, different. Are they threatening? Certainly disquieting. I would add I haven’t been sent one for a while but that might read like an invitation.
This week I stumbled across an interesting, creative (and some might say revengeful) solution to this problem. NFT THE DP allows people who have been cyber-flashed to turn these pictures into cash. You simply head over to the website, pay the minting price, upload the image and then you can create a permanent record of the picture with the sender’s name attached. Those who might object to their penis being stored online can apparently pay for the NFT and then it shall be burned. If they can’t, the text reads: “too bad lol”.
According to the co-creator Zoe Scaman, the initial inspiration came from a social media user who wrote: “Hey ladies, if a guy sends you an unsolicited dick pick… turn it into an NFT with his name as the artist, then share with him the link to purchase. He will have to buy it back from you if he wants to burn it and get it off the blockchain.”
Some of you may be thinking: what is an NFT? Well, let me briefly teach you something I only found out a couple of hours ago (I’ll be putting this knowledge on my CV). Simply put, an NFT is a digital asset. NFTs can be anything – domain names, virtual gaming items, and even tweets – but the most popular NFT category is digital art. Even if an image is copied, the original will be considered one-of-a-kind. For example, a meme auctioned off in 2020 sold for £398,000, while other works of art have been known to sell in their millions.
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According to Screenshot, “NFTs are backed by ‘smart contracts’, which are written into the token from the outset. The terms of these contracts will execute automatically from then on. Notably, artists can write themselves into these contracts for a secondary market, allowing them to earn whatever percentage they establish upon every subsequent sale in perpetuity. Thus, if the artist’s career skyrockets and work balloons in value, they’ll see benefit financially in perpetuity.”
I can’t decide whether I think this is a genius idea or if I disagree with the premise. On one hand, it empowers victims but on the other, it does feel a little like revenge porn. But surely, if you’re hard enough (no pun intended) to send a picture of your nether regions to a stranger, you won’t mind sharing it with the world? The very nature of something being “unsolicited” means there has been no consensual transaction.
Cyberflashing is soon to become a criminal offense in the UK and the policy will mean it carries the same maximum sentence as indecent exposure. The law forms part of the Government’s Online Safety Bill in which perpetrators could face up to two years in jail. Therefore, this solution may be short-lived but while it lasts, it’s definitely a deterrent and feels incredibly punk.
Take this either as a warning or a tip. Men, think before sending. And women, don’t delete something that could potentially earn you money. Never before has a penis been so valuable. Of course, there will be many men who simply don’t care. Their willies are destined to float on a blockchain in perpetuity until some modern artist decides to create a Turner Prize winning masterpiece.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.