I think we as a society need to chill out about nudity, sex and propriety in general. Everyone has been naked or done something stupid or explicit at some point in their lives. And if any famous woman gets embarrassed by a nude pic, I say: I want to do that too.
I agree with Jia Jia in principle, but if I had a sex tape linked to the internet say, for example, for my junior high students, my family or my professors to stumble upon , I would be very displeased, to say the least.
There is a point here about how our society perpetuates an idealized and unrealistic vision of sexiness. A person who would happy to pose nude for a Playboy spread might easily be uncomfortable if candid, unedited photos, nude or not, were leaked online. A person who would do a fully nude sex scene in a movie might be terrified of having a real sex tape leaked.
None of the hairs and fat bunches, silly orgasm faces and the other embarrassing things that we do in real life. I think the issues at hand are ones of choice, control and consent. Whether a celebrity or not, we should all have the right to exercise some control over how we appear in public, metaphorically and literally.
As Joy pointed out, the person posing for Playboy is choosing to share that image with members of the public. They have control over the creation of that image and they consent to share it. This is a question of consent, and of privacy. Whether celebrity or not, we have the right to exert control over what we do and do not share. The sharing of a personal picture is more powerful than a hundred carefully curated nudes because it is personal; the sharing of such images beyond the intended recipient leaves that person vulnerable and violated.
The ones that were stolen were not and that should be enough for all of us. I agree that the problem is not about nudity but the blatant act of evil-doing and invasion of privacy. This kind of assertion of power is terrorizing. My friend Lena Chen — former Harvard sex blogger — just wrote a brilliant response through her own story. She is still dealing with the after-effects of her ex posting nude photos of her on the Internet back in It is only now, with a public discussion about cyber harassment and online misogyny, that everyone else is learning what I realized six years ago: It never really made sense to me that certain people should get so much spotlight for no reason other than being attractive and having some acting skills.
It really feels to me like people use their ability to follow the lives of celebrities as a substitute for resolving their own problems. Celebrities are simultaneously our ideals and our punching bags. Beautiful, glamorous, rich, handsome or fat, has-been, slut, or freak. I approved of his sense of style. No one is slut shaming Jennifer Lawrence, and no one thinks less of her for having taken pictures of herself for her partner. Once a public debate has been had I think it makes it easier for ordinary women caught in a similar situation who come after.
It does disturb me that the leaks focused exclusively on women, though. If it were just one person with a camera or a hack, it would be so easy for the rest of us to cast the person as an insane stalker. The other day, meeting up with some friends in Central Park, I passed a crowd with cameramen and TV station vans crowding the entrance to a synagogue. My first thought was that someone famous was getting married, and how absurd it was that so many people were trying to sneak a peek at an intimate event.
But when my friends were running late, I joined the crowd, a curious hypocrite. Joan Rivers struggled as a female comedian to change how society treated women, yet still felt insulted that Johnny Carson flirted with every women he saw, except her.
The same can be said for the celebrity photo hacker. A lot of people will view it as an isolated incident caused by a lone renegade and easily dismiss its morality. Yet we will continue to talk about who our role models are, how much we admire them, how much we would like to have a beer with them. People feel attached to characters in stories, and celebrities are the characters who exist in our world.
We feel we can almost reach out and touch them if we really want to. Even though we are not all as guilty as the hacker, we all have the same initial tendency. And if enough of us cross boundaries without thinking, no one will say anything. Except maybe someone like Joan Rivers.