I have always thought – correct me if I’m wrong – that living in a world where I’m constantly spied upon, is eerie, disturbing and illegal. Yet, somehow, I feel like I have slipped into some crazy sort of wonderland reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984, because wherever I look, I constantly see references to Edward Snowden, the NSA scandal, and perhaps most relevantly, the celebrity nude photo ‘leak.’
Our current generation is defined by media, technology and the Internet. There has always been a celeb culture phenomenon where we cannot help but be fascinated by celebrity lifestyles and how the other half live. We are obsessed by what celebrities are wearing, have pretend celebrity relationships and get heartbroken (then ecstatic) when our favourite icon marries an extremely successful internationally renowned human rights lawyer (who also happens to be stunning.)
However, it has become evident that this fascination can cross the boundaries of what is acceptable into actual criminal activity. It is easy to see that in the recent nude photo leak that is taking over headlines. Everyone is going Twitter-crazy about it.
I realise that it is impossible to call everybody complicit in this particular violation of privacy and of human rights. Fundamentally, that is what it boils down to. Where in that declaration does it not define that we have the freedom to express ourselves in all manners, whether that be speech or actions? The problem may have originated with one lone hacker – a person who has the potential to be anywhere, anytime – yet at the heart of this problem is something much more reflective of our current generation.
This entire incident clearly exposes an inherent male-female inequality in our society. It is a great indication of why feminism is still directly relevantly to every woman that all the celebrities who had their privacy violated in such a way, have been female. Only two male celebrities – Matt Smith (and with his ex-girlfriend, Daisy Lowe) as well as the practically unknown son of Hulk Hogan (and mostly for his nude female friends) – have been reported and brought into question about how he spends his private time, taking private pictures, only for that to end up public property.
According to certain people, including Ricky Gervais who was swept up into a positive Twitter storm, the advice they offer is not to take the nude ‘selfies’ in the first place. Gervais suggested that celebrities keep their private pictures to themselves, however, this tweet has since been deleted and replaced in order to save grace.
However, to joke about the violation of women is not funny. It perpetrates the initial crime to the extent where it can become uncontrollable and there is no point as people rapidly began to point out.
A joke also does not reflect the gravity of actually being hacked. It is so disgustingly violating that one can almost compare it to rape culture of females. ‘Don’t dress provocatively – then you won’t get raped.’ I’m sorry – I’ll remember that when that advice becomes less geared towards male acceptance of the crime and less towards placing the blame on the woman.
By making female celebrities into these well-publicised victims of an obvious gender imbalance, we are also inadvertently taking away their power and influence as a positive role model. Young girls frequently look up to celebrities as their inspiration, and certain celebrities use this power in a progressive manner. Jennifer Lawrence, the current It Girl of Hollywood and star of the Hunger Games franchise, spoke out about the release of her private photos, accurately branding them as a ‘sex crime.’ She was the first victim of this hacking crime and yet she is constantly advocating a healthy body image. To abuse her body in such a way does not reflect any of her good work on promoting such an image. Other victims include stars like Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande who both have massive fan bases, predominantly consisting of young, impressionable girls.
Perhaps it might be prudent to argue that no-one should ever take nude photos again and be saved all the hassle. Then again, perhaps celebrity females – like every other person in the world – shouldn’t have to worry about being violated in such a manner and be entitled to their own personal privacy.