Unless you took a social media free day in celebration of Labor Day weekend, you probably have seen the news about celebrities’ nude photos being leaked to the internet. News sites such as CNN, People Magazine, Yahoo, and more have been discussing the issue, some hinting that this leak is only to be expected. Some of the conversation around this issue annoys the hell out of me because it’s so damn victim blaming. I decided that, in honor of kickass women everywhere, I’d take a crack at talking about it.
You have the right to take nude pictures of yourself
That’s right, you do. You have the right to take all the pictures you want. You can film yourself alone or having sex with someone else (with their consent and full knowledge) and you STILL have the right to have them and keep them all to yourself. No one has the right to those pictures but you.
You have the right to privacy
Even if you’re a celebrity, you have the right to privacy. Becoming famous does not automatically take away your rights to privacy. We are not entitled to know everything about a celebrity. We are not entitled to see pictures of them naked. We are not entitled to see their private wedding ceremonies, or know what their babies look like, or anything else. If they want to share, great. If not, that’s okay. Same goes for you. You have the right to have secrets. You don’t have to share your pictures or innermost thoughts with anyone and you don’t have to feel bad about saying no, either.
What about your social security number?
Some people have a hard time wrapping their heads around this so let me try a different example. You don’t want your social security number to get leaked online, do you? Why not? I mean, if I want to see it, don’t I have the right to? Of course not. Who knows what I will do with that information? What about your credit card info?
If you used the same argument, then:
- you should know better than to use your credit card online because someone will steal it.
- you should know better than to wear that fancy suit because someone will rob you.
- you should know better than to drive that fancy car because someone will steal it.
- you should know better than to wear expensive jewelry because someone will mug you.
Keep in mind that these things in no way compare to the emotional and physical violation of sexual assault. The theft of property is awful but things can be replaced. The theft of someone’s privacy is an assault on their feelings of well-being and safety and it’s utterly heinous.
Is it fair to think this way or is this victim blaming? Aren’t we allowed to have nice things? Cool things? Expensive things, without someone stealing them.? Of course we are allowed. Just like celebrities are allowed to have private lives and nude pictures that no one gets to see unless they share them.
Leaking nude photos isn’t a scandal, it’s a sex crime.
The celebrities whose pictures were stolen didn’t do anything wrong. The hacker broke the law, stole photos and committed a sex crime by posting the photos online. It’s not a scandal because that implies the victims were somehow to blame. The victims did not invite the hacker to steal their photos, nor did they ask for them to be posted online. The victim blaming needs to stop.
And the people who are looking for the photos, downloading them, or sharing them are also guilty of a sex crime. It’s a violation, a poisonous, awful assault on these women and it makes me sad that people still insist on blaming the victims for the assault the same way people blame rape victims for their rape.
So how can we change things?
Speak out when you see people blaming the celebrities for the leak. Challenge the idea that it’s a scandal, which implies the victims are to blame. Don’t go looking for the photos. Report them if you see them posted anywhere. We can collectively send a message to the asshole who stole the pictures if we stand up for the victims. How much harder would it be for weasels like this to find an audience if we refuse to be accessories to this sex crime?
Thank you to the news outlets who are emphasizing the crime in their stories. Thank you to all who are speaking out in support of these celebrities. Thank you to all who are not saying, “they should have known better. You get what you get.”
Thanks to all those kickass women and men who stand up for their fellow human beings.