It is not difficult to look at naked women on the Internet. There are, after all, a lot of men and women who post nude photos of themselves online hoping for pageviews, extra income, or just exhibitionist titillation. So with the news over the weekend of “leaked” nude photos of various celebrities, can we please all agree not to search these pictures out? If we want to look at nude people, let’s restrict ourselves to photos of people who actually want us to see them nude. It’s not like there’s a lack of them to choose from.
Because, look: When people seek out stolen images like the ones just released of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities, those people are violating these women in much the same way that the person who stole the pictures did.
There’s a reason why the public tends to revel in hacked or stolen nude pictures. It’s because they were taken without consent. Because the women in them (and it’s almost always women who are humiliated this way) did not want those shots to be shared.
If Jennifer Lawrence was to pose naked on the cover of Playboy, for example, I’m sure it would be a best-selling issue. But it wouldn’t have the same scandalous, viral appeal as private images stolen from her phone. Because if she shared nude images consensually, then people wouldn’t get to revel in her humiliation. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To take a female celebrity down a notch? (We have a term for when this is done to non-celebrity women: “revenge porn.”)