Celebrity Nude Photo Leaks
In 2014, there occurred the biggest photo leaks in the modern history. However, many women celebrities were the victims of over two hundred pictures that were leaked onto the internet. These photos of women celebrities who are seen to have unclothed or posing in various states of undress were obtained by hacking the Icloud and posted on Reddit. Some of the well-known victims of the incident include Kate Upton, Jennifer Lawrence, McKayla Maroney and Kirsten Dunst. Unfortunately, this nude photo hacking incident was not the first of the last to occur, since there have been more celebrity photo leaks recently and “revenge porn” has also become a rapid part of the modern culture. The rise of social media such as Reddit, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, has facilitated the rise of these sex crimes since they have provided a platform in which these photos can be accessed easily and the nonconsensual distribution of these nude pictures taken by the individual celebrities (Meyer, 21).
The digital presence has become a very important aspect in the modern world and hence the fallout from the nude photo hacking is drastic for the women celebrities that are involved. The issue of privacy has been put on the spotlight due to the use of the new forms of technological communication to illegally spread the nude photographs for specific persons (Meyer, 43). This idea that the modern society has granted more privilege to male gender while granting unequivocal access to the female gender is reminiscent of a “purity culture” that always believes that the sexuality of women is meant to give service to the men. In this case, the misconception that women are not sexually equal to men together with the hypersexuality of the bodies of women have been used to imply that the sexuality of women is used as a social control strategy (Ryan, 31). Moreover, it is described as a tool that is designed to keep the female gender from gaining agency over their personal sexual life and from accessing power in the modern technological world.
Daniel Bergner, an author of What Do Women Want? States that women’s inherent range and innate power desire is a force that has been underestimated and constrained (Hess, 13). This desire was constrained by Freud’s theory that states that, women possess a weaker sexual instinct as compared to the men. In the modern setting, their desire is constrained in an evolutionary psychology that points out that women have been rigged by their genes to seek the comfort of their relationships. In this case, he points out that there occurs no difference in how the women and men relate to sex, hence, the external one is just an influence by the cultural parameters. However, women are made to believe that their biology usually dictates the desire for sex only as a strategy of securing a relationship and not for their sexual pleasure (Hess, 37). On the other hand, young men are taught that sexuality is a very integral part of a man and being sexual determines his manly character. This socially constructed dichotomy that portrays how women and men interact with sex has fostered the belief that the sexuality of the female gender does not belong to them. This perception of women’s sexuality has created an immense effect on the psychology behind the men that expose these women celebrities’ nude photos.
The role of technology cannot be ignored in these nude photo scandals since human beings are using technology to embrace this character. Photo sharing tools, texting and chat applications have been integrated into the facet of the people’s daily lives and the personal relationships of people. Snapchat is an example of social media application that has dominated the world today, and it allows its users to download and send photos that are self-destructing. This application is known for “sexting”, sending goofy photos and due to its disappearing picture trick make the platform suitable for people to share nude photographs to any person they please (Cook, 52). Despite its overwhelming popularity, there have been many controversies that surround this application. Multiple hacking of the user photos have been experienced recently whereby screen shots of sent pictures are taken without the sending a customary notification to the sender of the photo. This technique has facilitated the secret hoarding of these nude photos that are later used for blackmailing the owners or for personal use. The hackers tend to believe that not only do they possess unequivocal access to these photos, but also possess the power to arm themselves against a possible slight with an ability to spread out these images across the web for public viewing. Such a perceived entitlement to the personal nude images plays into the belief that sexuality of women is aimed at the male gender, who eventually make a choice about what they will do about it.
The circulation of these nude celebrity photos has been brought about by the desire to view naked women, hence withholding the power of women in the modern world. Bruce Schneier offers some insight in his article “The Battle for power on the internet,” he points out the different ways in which the internet has been used as a cradle for power. He argues that internet marketing has changed the way of doing commerce, mass media has dramatically changed, and some of the influential people in the media system have risen from the blogging world. The change in the online marketing has increased the significance of a person’s online presence. As in the case of celebrities, a nude photo exposed in the media affects the amount of support one has in the public since her image is irrevocably tainted (Ryan, 19).
Women have not only been exploited by hackers, but also by their male companions whom they were involved with previously before they quit the relationship. This is usually done in the form of a “revenge porn.” Mary Anne Franks, a Law professor, describes this as a misuse of graphic images, which were previously the products of a private consensual relationship. After ending the relationship, one of the partners uses these images to harm the other by sending them to a family member, peers, employer of the victim and porn websites. In her explanation about the rationale of the users who post and consumers of these images, she states that these people would argue that the fact that one voluntarily gave shared her personal information to a cell phone gives the provider a right to hand the information to other authorities. Moreover, they argue that a woman that gives her boyfriend a photo that is sexually explicit has given him the right to use it in any way that he would like, and that includes distributing it to her friends and family and uploading it on porn sites. Franks states that this logic inconsistency might be amusing if it did not reveal the alarming hostility to the women rights concerning their personal bodies.
According to professor of women’s studies, Todd Ramlow, The leaking of nude celebrity photos basically illustrates victim-blaming. He points out the discussion behind this topic has left out a demonstration of proliferation, maintenance and pervasiveness of “rape culture,” as described by the female scholars. This culture presumes that men have a personal right to access the bodies of women, whether they are nude photos of celebrities of other women. Furthermore, he argues that victim blaming has the direct connection to rape culture after the hacking of the relevant sites to acquire the photos. Larry Wachs, a Shock jock and talk-radio host of “The Regular Guys,” tweeted at @itsjenlawrence. “Maybe you shouldn’t pose nude if you can’t handle the public seeing it. #dumdum. And don’t step on downed power lines!” (blogs.gwhatchet.com). These sentiments are milder towards a celebrity since they blame the women for their own exploitation. This looks like victimizing a celebrity for an act that she never committed. On another commentary a person asks, “What’s wrong with checking out nude photos of celebrities?” The persona continues by arguing that if Jenifer Lawrence were to pose naked on the cover of the Playboy magazine, the magazine would have more sales of the issue (www.reddit.com). In this case, it would not have scandals all over like the stolen images posted on the internet.
From the commentaries, these comments have a very negative effect to the celebrity herself and the target audience easily portray these women celebrities as prostitutes that record these videos themselves and allow other people to access the easily (Rose, 25). In this case, a celebrity is bound to lose the fame she has got on the ground and may lead to stressful life to the owner of the nude photos like Jennifer Lawrence. As an actor, she is likely to destroy her career due to her nude photos being exposed to her fans and employer. The employer is likely to reconsider her employment and eventually get rid of her to ensure that the bad reputation that some people view of her does not affect the sale of movies. On the other hand, these messages are posted on the social media like twitter that every person is likely to view and hence may influence other people to have a similar point of view. Twitter and Reddit are very influential social sites and hence these messages have been created with particular individuals with a set of assumptions, values and priorities (Rose, 62).
From the comments, it is clear that women do not warrant the same rights over their personal bodies as men since most men are seen to portray a woman’s body as a tool to pleasure a man. This is evident on the second commentary, where the speaker tries to point out that if Jennifer Lawrence could have posted that nude photo on a Playboy magazine, it could have had lots of sales. This case of a dismantling of the women rights over their personal selves plays a role in keeping them out of powerful positions in their sex lives and the modern world (Ryan, 34). From the commentaries, Jennifer Lawrence is a great actor that has an influence over a group of men in the acting industry and hence bringing her down may be advantageous to these men. From the research conducted on the hacks from Icloud, only one man was a victim. This clearly indicates that the power of men in the modern culture has allowed them to shake off the invasions of their privacy.
In summary, the digital technology is not the cause of hacks to outpour the women celebrity nude photos in the public, this is an attempt by the male gender to combat women’s fight for the digital power in the advancing technological world. Men have just embarked on oppressing the women over the internet and with the increasing rates by 2014, the women are required to fight back to build their empowerment within the modern society.
Cook, James (2014). “Hackers Access At Least 100,000 Snapchat Photos and Prepare To Leak Them, Including Underage Nude Photos.” BusinessInsider. Business Insider, 10 Oct. 2014. Web. 30 Oct. 2014.
Hess, Amanda (2014). “What Do Women Want? Sex. Why Don’t They Know That? Men.” Slate. The Slate Group, 4 June 2013. Web. 15 Dec.
Meyer, Elizabeth J (2014). “Sexting and Suicide.” Psychologytoday.com. Psychology Today, 16 Dec. 2009. Web. 11 Nov.
Rose, Cassandra (2014). “Former Disney Star Dylan Sprouse Nude Photos Leak.”PopCrush. PopCrush, 16 Dec. 2013. Web. 14 Dec.
Ryan, Erin Gloria (2014). “Behind Every Bullied Woman is a Man Yelling About Free Speech.”Jezebel.com. Jezebel, 2 Sept. 2014. Web. 30 Oct.
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