A Norwegian MP has come under fire after she posted a picture of a penis on her Instagram account.
Labour MP Jette Christensen snapped the picture of a man preparing to urinate off a balcony in the early hours of 17th May, Norway’s National Day. She posted it to the social networking site alongside the comment “Walked by the surest sign that 17th May is over and the christening has begun.”
According to The Local, data embedded in the picture pinpointed the exact location in Bergen that the snap was taken at.
But the picture provoked widespread criticism raising concerns over the man’s privacy, as well as Christensen’s judgement.
Olav Torvund, a law professor specialising in copyright at the University of Oslo, questioned the legality of posting the picture on to the internet, adding “On the other hand MPs are people too, no better and no worse than others. But this is also about good manners.”
Jill Walker Rettberg, a professor of digital culture at the University of Bergen, told the Bergens Tidene that posting the picture violated the man’s privacy: “In principle, no one should post pictures of other people’s genitals without consent,” she said.
Rettberg pointed out, however, that the post would have created much more of a stir if it had been a male politician sharing pictures of a woman’s genitalia.
Christensen herself has defended her actions, arguing both that it was impossible for the man to be identified, and that she hadn’t been aware his penis was visible when she posted the image. She explained that the post was intended as an ironic comment on the decision by Viking Cruises christen its new ship Viking Star on the same day as Norway’s National Day celebrations.
“It was intended as a comment on the christening of a ship and the selling out of the 17th of May. It was not meant to offend anyone,” she said. “I saw the person from the road standing in that pose. I could only see the hand, not the penis, I saw hair, not his face.”
She has since removed the picture from her Instagram account, which has 2,527 followers.