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On Behalf of All Women, Natalie Morales Slams Paparazzi Who Take Crotch Shots

Natalie Morales

The Battle of the Sexes star went after photographers who take pics of women's bodies without consent.

Ten years ago, crotch shots of famous women stepping out of limousines were such big business that it felt like every other day when some ratty tabloid site would post pictures of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, or Paris Hilton completely exposed. It may have seemed as though a big payday for those types of intrusive shots were a thing of the past, but now Battle of the Sexes star Natalie Morales, who plays tennis great Rosie Casals, wrote a screed on Twitter calling out the disgusting, misogynistic, invasive practice of the paparazzi taking and selling pics of women's privates to the highest bidder.

Morales, the 32-year-old Parks and Recreation star, shot back at a photographer who purposely shot photos up her skirt and then offered to sell them to a publication that forwarded the photos to her, according to Entertainment Weekly. The photographer was not named.

Rather than ignore the photographer's proposal to sell imagery of her body, Morales, who came out as queer this June in an essay on Amy Poehler's SmartGirls site, used her voice to call attention to the systemic issue of treating women as less than the sum of their parts.

On Monday, after she received the photos the photographer labeled as a "wardrobe malfunction" of her skirt, which had a high slit in it, Morales sent out a tweet storm.

While her initial tweets about the incident justifiably berated paparazzi who seek to exploit women for their own gain, she explained in her statement that the issue goes beyond the violation of privacy and general indignities that female celebrities endure and dug into the larger problems that all women face, which is why she chose not to let it "slide" that a photographer tried to humiliate her.

"I am not going to let that photographer or the people that buy their pictures continue to believe that it's ok. It's not ok. This photographer, not unlike the ones that wait outside of the cars female celebrities are getting out of just to purposely take pictures up their skirts, angled their camera to see up the slit of my dress," Morales wrote. "Even if they wanted to claim this was an accidental shot, they could have done what they would have done had they taken an accidental shot of their daughter's, mother's, or sister's vagina: deleted it."

Next the actress spoke about issues of consent, a topic that's been in the media a great deal since Donald Trump's remarks about grabbing women without it went viral last year and since Education Secretary Betsy DeVos chose to roll back campus sexual assault guidelines under Title IX last week.

Rather than do the admirable thing if the photographer had gotten an accidental shot up Morales's skirt, "instead, they sold pictures they took of my private body parts -- without my consent -- to a site that makes money off trying to embarrass me. For just existing as a human being. For having a body and body parts under my clothes," Morales wrote. "This is not, at its root, a 'celebrity' problem. This is a problem with how we tear down women and reduce them to a sum of body parts, to be at once sexualized and shamed."

Finally, the actress known for her roles on Girls, White Collar, and The Grinder wrote that attempts to shame or embarrass her with pictures of her body parts were fruitless but called out the photographer and the machine that supports exploiting women for crossing boundaries of consent.

"It's a vagina. We all come out of one. It's nothing to be ashamed of," Morales wrote. "But it doesn't belong to you. It belongs to me. And you can't have it unless I say you can."

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Tracy E. Gilchrist