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I’m still trying to puzzle out Nishant Shah’s notions of exposure and exposé as described in Exposed Net Porn, and whether either of those terms are inherently linked to hegemonic power as he seems to suggest. Exposure concerns circulation and proliferation of images without one’s knowledge or against one’s will – exposé is that with a judgment cast, a narrative added with the goal of blaming, shaming and taming a body. Can exposure be understood as a purely technical phenomenon, as, for instance, Facebook algorithms choose which images to reproduce onto one’s feed? In contrast, exposé could be the addition of the human element of judgment, of deliberately detrimental commentary. Shah specifies that the victims of exposé are already willingly in the public domain, and possess agency to produce and disseminate images. Exposé is not forcing victims into the public domain, but rather robbing their agency to produce and disseminate their own images, rewriting the narrative of that dissemination to criticize victims’ participating in the public sphere at all.

My question, then, is this: can you call expository actions against powerful organizations, like those revelations made by the work of Edward Snowden and Anonymous, exposé? Is exposé inherently linked to some hierarchy of punisher and punished, or can it be reversed – can the citizen shame & tame sly corporations and weird religious organizations? If so, the regulations that arise from the moment of exposé, as wrongdoing is identified and incriminated, could do some good in the name of governmental transparency and free speech. Which isn’t to say that exposé’s dark side, as seen in the experiences of revenge porn victims and many more, shouldn’t be paid close attention to; but perhaps a *conscious uncoupling* of exposé from its slanderous connotations could be a productive way of understanding calling power structures out on their failures.