08/11/2014 05:51 pm ET Updated Oct 11, 2014

Stop Looking Up My Skirt, You Creep! A Brief History of Peeping Toms

The latest catchy, scary term to sweep through the Internet is "upskirting," the icky act of sneaking a peek by looking up women's skirts. In the last month, it's happened on a train in Chicago and at a Target store in New Jersey. Earlier this year, after a guy used his camera phone to get upskirting footage on the subway in Massachusetts, the state rushed a legislative bill to ban upskirting in the state.

One hopes this and similar actions will send a clear and strong message to the pervs of the world: namely, "stop looking up women's skirts, you creep."

If it doesn't, may we remind them of the many other times throughout history where this gross behavior led to less-than-desirable results:

11th Century: Original Peeping Tom Goes Blind

As the story goes, the Earl of Coventry would only grant his wife Lady Godiva's request to relieve the people of a heavy tax burden if she streaked naked on horseback through town (totally logical!). As she gallantly streaked by, only one historic perv could not avert his eyes: Tom. Thus, "Peeping Tom" was born. Luckily, historic justice was served: Legend has it Tom was cast blind before he could see anything.

1960: The Film Peeping Tom Ruins a Career and Kills its Protagonist

When Michael Powell released his film Peeping Tom, about a man whose lust for filming women sexually turns into a yen for videotaping their murders, it was trashed to the point that it effectively ruined his career. The brashly sexual, violent film with a frightening message was perhaps just ahead of its time: The movie has since become regarded as a masterpiece, lauded by critics and filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese. As for the film's pervie (and tragic) protagonist, he is dead by the final credits.

1998: There's Something About Mary Turns Peeping Tom Justice into Comic Gold

There are a couple moments in this comedy classic that play with the Peeping Tom theme: when Ted sneaks a peek at Mary in her bra and undies, gets a sideways glance back from her mom, then promptly gets his penis stuck in a zipper; and when another attempted peek at Mary turns into a view of saggy old-lady boobs. While the movie makes light of the Peeping Tom theme, it also shows a nice bit of very painful comeuppance.

2013: Topless Woman Chases Down Peeper in Department Store

Ladies, meet your new hero: Last year, a woman who noticed a guy videotaping her while trying on bras (ew, ew, ew) started chasing him through the store in a rage while covering her exposed breasts. While the guy was able to slip out the front doors, citizen vigilantes then took over, and the creeper was arrested.

So guys, to recap: Peeping on women's intimate parts without their consent could make you blind, get you arrested, or lead to extreme pain down there. That'll teach ya!

Or will it?

This story first appeared at, an alternative news+culture women's website.