The perils of posting naked pictures if you have tattoos, are not thin, and are married to the chief of police

“SNYDER, Okla. — The police chief, the mayor and a councilman in Snyder resigned Friday amid an uproar over nude photos of the chief’s 300-pound, tattooed wife that she posted on an adult Web site”

I caught a glimpse of this story while I was out of town recently. The wife of the chief of police in this small town posted nude photos of herself on the Internet, on an adult web site, and those pictures apparently outraged “dozens” of the town’s residents, who demanded that the police chief resign. He initially refused and, while the DA said the photos shown to him were “obscene based on local community standards,” the city council had supported the chief’s wife saying that the photos were protected by the first amendment. As a result of the hoopla, her husband (the police chief), the mayor, and a city council member all resigned their jobs. The chief and the mayor resigned over the criticism of the chief and his wife. The council member resigned because he didn’t want to be associated with those criticising the chief.

Let me be clear: Three people lost their jobs — and no doubt their families are suffering economically and socially — because “dozens” of people were offended by some naked-woman pictures. This is outrageous.

I’m angered by this story. First of all, if the photos were on an adult site, then whoever found them was also browsing adult sites. Why should it be okay for the viewer to view but not for the poster to post? And so what that the poster’s husband is the chief of police. Is his ability to do his job curtailed in any way by his wife’s use of an adult web site?

Then, worse, as if it weren’t bad enough that this woman’s nude photos were used against her husband at his job, the paper emphasizes the wife’s weight and tattoos. Why were those details included. Would it have been different in the eyes of the towns people if she had been 5’7″ and 130 pounds, with no tattoos?

The chief himself is quoted as saying, “My wife is 6-foot-3 and weighs 300 pounds. If there is somebody that thinks they can control her, have at it. I have tried for 11 years and haven’t been able to.” Apparently the criticism of the townspeople accomplished what the chief claims he couldn’t do. The 43-year-old woman — clearly an adult — took her photos down as a result of all the negativity.

“Local community standards” often reflect the standards of a vocal minority. In this case, they reflected the standards of “dozens” of vocal residents in a town of 1,500. Did the others remain quiet because they agreed, and thus found no need to speak out? Or did they remain quiet because it is too difficult to support something that is being loudly condemned as “obscene”? The latter seems much more likely to me, given the numbers of people who quietly cruise the Internet for sexual connections or information or stimulation.

In the end one person’s freedom was curtailed, unnecessarily and unjustly, by the outspoken voices of a few and the silence of many. And many others received a clear warning that, should they consider posting photos of themselves, they will be considered outcasts in their community.

This might seem to be trivial to some who say, “look it’s only a bit of nudity and it isn’t that important,” but this silence is the same silence that makes it so difficult to fight for the rights of sex workers, of gays and lesbians, of BDSM practitioners, and others who explicitly challenge the dominant sexual culture. In fact, I’d bet that the vitriol spouted in this case was all the more venomous because this was a woman — the wife of the chief of police — who was counted on to visibly support that restrictive dominant culture. If such respectable folks continue to make public their departure from that dominant sexual culture, even in the face of such criticism, imagine how quickly it could be replaced by something much more interesting!

I wish the police chief had not resigned, and that his wife had not pulled her photos. I wish they had posted more photos, perhaps together, and challenged the “dozens” and the DA. But given the norms of silence and repression it’s easy to understand their fear. It’s a difficult cycle to break. And it must be broken if we are all to be able to conduct ourselves as adults, openly and unafraid. We need cultural change and legal change, neither of which will be easy to achieve.

Sex bloggers and sex-radical writers who make what is assumed to be private public are certainly in the vanguard of this change. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom is fighting too. But more of us need to challenge the silence by speaking up for ourselves an by speaking up for those, like Doris Ozmun and her husband, who are stigmatized and publicly condemned for using what should be every person’s right to sexual expression.

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19 Comments

Filed under News and politics, Political Obscenity, public discourse, sex, sexuality

19 responses to “The perils of posting naked pictures if you have tattoos, are not thin, and are married to the chief of police

  1. 300 pound wife? all I can say is what a canvas for a tatoo artist!

  2. Sometimes I still can’t believe why the government just doesn’t allow people to do what they want, if they don’t harm anybody else…
    skugga 1302 the tattoo artist

  3. That’s very sad, and all too predictable in a small town. Well, not even just in a small town — I’m sure the response would have been the same in my town of 40,000. Heaven forbid that someone display their sexuality in the public forum; if they do, then they and all those associated with them must by definition be degenerate and incompetent. Guess I’d better keep my tattoos under wraps.

  4. Pingback: public morality vs. private, consenting behavior « more than the sum of my parts

  5. Tiffany, I hope you display your tattoos just like I applaud those who blog about their sex lives. I was talking to someone the other day who said, “You know, it’s amazing how homophobic people can be and then how quickly they change on a personal level when someone they care about comes out.” Certainly not everybody who comes out is accepted by their family and friends, but it is really fascinating, and heartening, when a person’s attitudes change because they suddenly know someone who fits into the stigmatized category (whether that be LGBT, or BDSM or tattooed and branded, or disabled, or any other stigmatized category). To the degree that those changes are meaningful it is encouragement to all of us to be more “out” about whatever it is that makes us different from the mainstream. So Tiffany, if its at all safe, bare your tattoos. And then blog about it!

  6. My mother, on the phone tonight, pointed out that pretty people also suffer sometimes from the perils of nude modelling. Specifically she mentioned Vanessa Williams who, you might remember, was forced to resign as Miss American after her Penthouse photo spread was published.

  7. I want to thank all of you for your support. I have not taken down my website and do not intend to give in to the small minded people of this town.
    I think things would have been different had I been 21, 5:7″ and a size 3, but I am me, I am very proud of my body, my age and my sexual freedom. I stated many times that going to my website or taking the photos of me that were distributed on Main Street is a choice. No one had to accept the photos they were handed and my website has an enter and exit button.
    I do not care if the people in this town condemn me because I do not judge people for any reason. We are all different and have different beliefs. I have made mistakes in the past and I paid for those mistakes, but I chose to be an adult model and that was not a mistake and the only regrets that I have is that my husband was persecuted for something I have done. My husband supports me, our grown daughters support us and as far as the people of Snyder who are casting the stones from their glass houses may God Bless you and have a nice day.
    Thank you
    Doris Ozmun aka Deviant Delyte

  8. Doris, I’m so glad your site is up after all. And I’m very happy to hear from you that you have the support of your family. I wish all of you the best!

  9. Here, here!!! Totally agree with you. What consenting adults do in their private life is their business. I guess people expect certain public figures to ‘conduct’ themselves in a particular way. I am disappointed she resigned too, and I applaud the other guys who resigned over the treatment of the Chief and his wife.

  10. Winter

    Wow, that’s neo-fascist bullshit.

    Keep up the good fight for freedom.

  11. a bit skeptical

    Ok the site http://www.deviantslair.com clearly has nothing to do with the Doris Ozmun who is the wife of the former chief of police of Synder, OK.

    The woman on that site looks nothing like the Doris Ozmun picture found in that Seattle Times article. Also the site said that she posted her photos up on an adult website, not that she made her own adult website.

  12. Maybe everyone in that town should have resigned their jobs and sat home looking at the chief of police’s wife on adult websites.

    http://www.Free-America.com

  13. Nick

    Freedom of artistic expression is important, but so is decency. Just as the US Constitution is important, so is a moral standard of the ethics in this human society.

    On the other hand, anyone who is offended by pornography should have it blocked by Net Nanny. Can the Internet be considered a discerningly private medium where users can utilize Internet technology to block offensive content?

    The Internet reflects all facets of society, including perversion, creativity, humor, etc. If I take a walk in the city, I can choose to visit the library—or the porn shop.

  14. J

    I’d guess that this was people getting even under the pretence of moral outrage. In a town of 1500 people, everyone would have met this chief of police.

    If he was well liked, everyone would have jumped up and said “He’s a good person, leave him alone”. The odds are he has personally annoyed every single person in town, so they were happy to see him go.

    That doesn’t make it right, or even wrong, but it might make you less annoyed to think of it as a commonplace small town vendetta rather than a genuine moral issue.

  15. I am new here, just saying hello 🙂

  16. Pingback: Grandes Poches » Au fond des poches (31/12/2006)

  17. Pony

    I want the people who viewed her photo and blew the whistle on her to resign too. What were they doing there, eh?

    {OT: I’m very impressed. According to your map, you have commenters in Churchill Manitoba, on the Hudson Bay coast, and another in what appear to be Ennadai NWT, unless the map is completely out of whack and it’s really Fort Smith NWT. }

  18. Pingback: A stroll around the square « Sex in the Public Square

  19. wkhai

    “In the end one person’s freedom was curtailed, unnecessarily and unjustly, by the outspoken voices of a few and the silence of many.”

    “… more of us need to challenge the silence by speaking up for ourselves an by speaking up for those…. ”

    AGREE! AGREE!

    brings to mind something i read 3 years back!….

    skip to the bottom and read Hangman by Maurice Ogden…

    http://domai.com/news/2005/07july-29/index.html