Before having the instinctual reaction of excitement and pleasure because naked pictures of several gorgeous, talented women have been posted to the internet, take a moment to think about why posting pictures of naked people, against their will, on the internet has become normalized. Think about how the pattern of circulating stolen, nude pictures of people, who do not want those pictures to be circulated, doesn’t seem like a strange occurrence. Think about how a lot of the same people leaving comments rejoicing in the stolen photos (these photos weren’t “leaked.” “Leaked” implies it happened by accident.) are calling the women in them sluts.
“Well, they shouldn’t have taken naked pictures of themselves in the first place!”
You shouldn’t have bought a car if you didn’t want it to get stolen. You shouldn’t have done your banking online if you didn’t want your identity stolen. You shouldn’t have gone out of your house if you didn’t want to be mugged while walking to your parking spot. Just because these women are famous and attractive, doesn’t mean they’re not entitled to the same level of privacy as everyone else. If you have ever decried the monitoring of American citizens by the NSA, acknowledge the hypocrisy in delighting in these photos. The fact that the men of the internet are cheering doesn’t make this any less of a crime.
I’m not going to go into depth on the man who went to jail for ten years for hacking Scarlet Johansson’s email and posting her nude photos to the internet, because the threat of prison should not be necessary in order for people to act like decent human beings.
Looking at these pictures is condoning and participating in a form of sexual assault. They represent not only a severe breach of privacy, but also the sexualization of unwilling participants. Generally, when those two things are added together, they come out to equal rape. There are some of you who will say that’s too harsh, that looking at pictures of naked women can’t be rape. However, consider the fact that these women were never given the option of saying yes or no to letting millions of people look at pictures only meant for themselves and their significant others to see.
Does that make you uncomfortable? Imagine how Jennifer Lawrence feels.