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Leaked Photos of Nude Celebrities and Feminist Responses or Societal Sexual Violence?

September 4, 2014

I should preface this post with my sad resignation over the fact that my top blog post, in hits/reads, ever, ever, ever, was about vaginas. The concept of ugly vaginas, to be precise. And it had pictures. And it has a NSFW title. And it continues to be my top post. And it causes people to try to look at my profile pic, which I don’t have. It’s not me people are interested in, per se, but the concept of vaginas. If you want to read the post, click here: https://unaskedadvice.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/vaginas-are-ugly-work-warning-includes-photo/

I have been tempted to write about vaginas again, or more precisely, how women are worried about the cosmetology of their anatomy when it’s not even legal to show it on the street, but it gets a bit depressing to write about. So while it may seem like a nonsequitur, writing about naked women seems to draw lots of male attention that depresses me because it inevitably regresses to talk about women and nudity as though combining them is evil unless it is for male pleasure, and with rules that I can never keep straight.

We keep our pants all the time, except at the doctor and when men want sex? But then, men want sex a lot, so only keep our pants on when men don’t want sex? When does that happen? And certainly men want sex, even at work, so keep your pants on all the time and ignore sex? That doesn’t seem to be part of the rules. Keep your pants unless you are having sex with your husband? But then you can only have sex with your husband when you are of reproductive age (if you go with the conservative agenda that marriage is only for producing children–see same sex marriage arguments). Or maybe women aren’t supposed to wear pants ever, because men get to wear the pants. Unless a breeze happens upon you in a skirt (and it did, to me) and you expose your underwear by wind association and through no personal attention (and it did, to me), so you prefer wearing pants. Notions of pants and female nudity are confounding.

All of which leads me to question this concept of leaking nude photos of celebrity women as if, finally, men get to take charge by acknowledging women have female bodies. Nude picture leakage cost a past beauty queen her crown. Leaked photos cause embarrassment for the women, and in a disturbing twist, become revenge for men not getting the attention they feel they deserve, or the access to women’s bodies they deserve (read, rapist mentality):

Neetzan Zimmerman, the editor in chief of Whisper, identified a similar tendency:

https://twitter.com/neetzan/status/506253100248608768/photo/1

Zimmerman’s tweet is prescient:

Shades of Elliot Rodger in the terrifying mentions of nude pic leak victim

Who is Elliot Rodger? Elliot Rodger was a killer who expressed rage toward women who didn’t give him the attention he felt he deserved:

He described seeing “two hot blonde girls” waiting at a bus stop. He flashed a smile at them and was ignored. “In a rage,” he wrote, “I made a U-turn, pulled up to their bus stop and splashed my Starbucks latte all over them. I felt a feeling of spiteful satisfaction as I saw it stain their jeans.”

(from another excerpt)

On PUAhate, a site that was taken down after the murders, Mr. Rodger expressed his disgust at women, questioning how they could resist his charms. He would urge other “incels” — or involuntary celibates — to fight back. “One day incels will realize their true strength and numbers, and will overthrow this oppressive feminist system,” he wrote. “Start envisioning a world where WOMEN FEAR YOU.”

This quote was taken from a NYTime article focusing on the emotionally unstable and violent young man that his parents never realized was so ill. It reminds me of the Sandy Hook shootings, yet another emotionally disturbed and violent  young man whose parents never identified as mentally ill. What do these threads have in common? The violent young men who feel they have a right to women, and these same men who will use nude photos as a form of taking what they want of women’s bodies in a tone that suggests violence, violence that spreads to other people.

The article I originally read about the leaking of celebrity nudes linked the publication of women’s nude  bodies to a feminist “frontier,” Why Leaked Nude Photos Are Another Frontier for Feminists, by Anna Altman. I would argue it’s less about feminism–after all these photos were published by men without the women’s consent–and more about society’s acceptance of violence against women. Women shouldn’t be held responsible for men posting nude pictures of them without the woman’s permission. Why is a woman’s nudity something that should be held against her anyway? Why is this the form of acting out against women? It’s more about taking sexual violence to a new level and Reddit and other sites allowing it to happen.

 It’s all about photos of vaginas not being safe for work, because they might be…vaginas? ugly? quell damage…ugly vaginas at work…ugly female body parts…ugly female body parts that men want altered by cosmetic surgery…naked female body parts…naked females…naked women…naked…naked…naked women…

See the theme here? Naked women are dangerous. Naked women should be controlled, by men, by the internet, by men for the internet, by men who will never get pleasure from those naked women except when they take it by force on the internet.

 

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2014 3:28 am

    “in a disturbing twist, become revenge for men not getting the attention they feel they deserve”

    Some of the comments on Twitter are indeed disturbing, and I don’t throw that term around casually. They all basically boil down to: A woman like you would never give me the time of day, even though I’m sweet and caring, so I hope you suffer, fucking bitch.

    The lack of self-awareness boggles the mind.

    • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
      September 4, 2014 2:55 pm

      I think it boils down to mental illness. Sane men, good men don’t talk about women that way, as evidenced by the comments other mend have made about this twisted thought process. I just wonder: what is it about rejection that makes these men feel they have a right to violence then? Lots of people, both men and women, suffer rejection in the dating, love, and even marriage realm but don’t go out and shoot people because of it. It’s a pathology that I think needs more exploration.

      • September 4, 2014 3:31 pm

        Sometimes I am shocked by how much rage is boiling just below the surface of “nice guys who can’t get a date.” Maybe most women can see past the facade. I don’t know. Nice guys don’t take pleasure from others’ humiliation and suffering. Nice guys don’t ingore the real women in their lives in favor of unattainable celebrities and then become enraged when their so-called affections are not returned. To your point on mental illness, some of these guys seem to have real delusions about their “relationships” with movie stars.

        There has been a fair amount of hyperbole flying around the internet this week regarding this situation, but putting all that aside: Jennifer Lawrence (along with the other victims) is a real human being who has been humiliated and is right this minute suffering emotionally. She probably hasn’t slept all week. She probably feels like crawling into a hole and not coming out for months. Imagine the moment she realized what happened, that the whole world saw pictures of her meant for one person. Anyone with an ounce of empathy for other humans would understand she is in pain and not be a dick about the whole thing.

      • brokeharvardgrad permalink*
        September 8, 2014 1:59 pm

        You are right, so right, Eric Baker, and your emphasis on human beings, as opposed to separating things by gender is brilliant. Thank you!

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