A crime was revealed last week, the hacking and theft of hundreds, if not thousands of private photos from high-profile celebrities. Many of these stolen photos were nudes taken by the celebrity intended only for the eyes of her beloved. Reactions to this news falls broadly into two camps. One, the one that has been repeated in reaction to sexually related crimes against women for hundreds of years, is worn out to the point of ridicule. “She should have been more careful.”
What needs to be remembered, first and foremost, is that a crime was committed against these women. Their property – sometimes with extreme effort – has been stolen from their private devices. One woman noted that she’d deleted her images a long time ago – and was astounded when they suddenly showed up again.
Now, with the publicity of these photos, the women are being victimized again and again and again. How different is this situation from a peeping pervert photographing or videotaping a woman without her knowledge, and then publicizing those pictures or videos. It is a crime, and the woman in the safety of her own home, is not to blame.
Yet again and again the echoing rejoinder, the slut-shaming, victim-blaming culture insists that none of those women should have ever had naked pictures of themselves to start with.
Ok, Mr. Morality, let’s say they shouldn’t. Does that excuse the thieves? Does that justify the eyes of lustful men who intentionally seek out these stolen image for the thrill of looking at naked women. Of women who would NEVER reveal themselves like that to anyone but their very significant other? (It’s like reading other peoples love letters and pretending they were meant for you. How pathetic and creepy.)
The “but they shouldn’t have…” response was best answered by author Chuck Wendig. Chuck blogs over at Terrible Minds and his language is, well, more colorful than what you will ever read here. Still, his response drives home just who’s the criminal party in this event.
“If you don’t want nude pics leaked, don’t take nude pics with your phone —” *Tasers you* *steals your shoes* SHOULDN’T WEAR SHOES BRO
— Chuck Wendig (@ChuckWendig) September 1, 2014
The next question is, why am I writing about this? Because this attitude is a root issue. It is at the core of so much pain.
It’s the beginning of the rape culture that says, “did you see how she dressed/drank/acted in the past?”, as an excuse for inexcusable crimes. It is the attitude that a woman’s sexuality isn’t her own and once it’s “out there” it’s available for anyone to use for any reason without apology or even second thought. Because that entitled attitude is the foundation that leads to human trafficking.
In a Facebook conversation, one woman thought the deeper issue was about teaching young women to have more self respect, to not post nude photos. Caution, certainly, is a valuable lesson. But her plan is less than half of the solution. We need to be teaching our boys, too. We need to tell them, and demonstrate to them, absolute respect for each other and ourselves. Boundaries, in a word.
And one line that should never be touched is one you have to have hacker skills to cross.