Revenge porn didn’t earn the name “revenge porn” only because it’s vengeful. It earned the name in part because, as far as many men on the receiving end are concerned, it’s porny. Many men are eager to gawk at a naked young woman, which helps these images go viral: Vox points out that ordinary Internet users weren’t Googling to learn what Hill did or didn’t do. They were Googling to sneak a glimpse of her with another woman. Top search terms, after “throuple,” included “photos” and “uncensored.”
Just as crucially, many of these same men are eager to smear a woman as a slut even as they’re gawking, which also makes the images potent tools of retribution. Maybe compromising photos of a male legislator in his more vigorous years would rocket across the web, too, and were employees involved, he could surely meet his political demise as well. But he’d probably earn accolades for his virility instead of attacks for his wantonness along the way.