Okay, so I wrote a thing on Facebook recently and I would like to write more words about those words.
The status was intended, as almost everything on Facebook is for me, to be a flippant and funny reference to whatever the news of the minute was - and that day it was that.
What happened next was an outpouring of my male friends being like 'Yo, links bro' (not helping my case, guys) and my female friends being rather disgusted with me and liking each other's comments in solidarity. I got a few personal messages with people being very upset at me, with one person even saying I was 'contributing to rape culture' and that I was 'basically like a rapist,' which I considered especially hurtful since (and I can't believe I have to say this) I don't endorse rape, have never raped and don't plan to in the future. Obviously. I've got friends and family that have been raped and sexually assaulted and I see the mental toll it takes on them - I consider myself to be especially sensitive to these issues.
So let's break it down. Privacy is clearly being violated - that sucks and I do genuinely feel sorry for all the people that had these personal (clearly private) moments that are now being broadcasted. That must be horrifying. I can't imagine how violated I would feel if someone did that to me. It's shitty. Not only shitty but it's illegal - and I look forward to the guy that did it being prosecuted. (Note that the people that leaked Donald Sterling and Anthony Weiner's private data have not been prosecuted, but hey, that's another story. Isn't selective outrage grand?)
As for the notion that this is emblematic of the idea that men have a claim over other people's bodies --> You're famous, you get paid for a weird reason, you might get taken down for a weird reason. You get paid to do a spread in a magazine and then some people might want to see you naked. I would argue it's not a gender thing as much as it is a crazed celebrity culture thing. People worship you. They worship your body. You get paid handsomely in return, this in turn creates a market for your body and once it's out there people want it. It doesn't matter whether it's right or wrong, it's simply the case. There's a reason that there's an extensive data-bank on the internet of people that have photo-shopped numerous celebrities faces onto porn-stars bodies in crude and weird ways. I'm not saying that the celebrities are in any way to blame for this - it's simply something that happens when you become a famous person: people think they are entitled to your inner life, what you eat, what you wear - and sometimes, apparently, your body. Man or woman. It's part of the price of entry into stardom. It's fucked up and horrible and wrong but it is the case - though I do acknowledge that this specific type of hacking does affect female celebrities disproportionately.
People should be good people. People should respect everyone's privacy. But I still have locks on my doors and blinds on my windows because some people are shitheads. The acknowledgement that things are not as they should be does not mean we abnegate our responsibility to safeguard ourselves against those who would do us harm.
'Attention pervs' is not an endorsement. If anything it's a condemnation - and barring writing a full length essay like this I don't have the character limit (nor necessarily the inclination) to explain myself in full (I auto-tweet my status updates, because I'm a terrible person).
People want to see them, because they're movie stars and they're the people we fantasise about. That isn't the fucked up part - the fucked up part is some creepy perv spent hours and hours cracking all these iCloud accounts (or whatever) and spent time collecting and sorting these images and then uploaded them. That's the problem - you and your data (regardless of its content) are clearly not safe anywhere and that is extremely concerning.
I do have some advice for any people taking naughty pictures: maybe consider taking them from the neck down, or not at all. I'm not really a public figure and I only take pictures I'd be happy with everyone seeing. This is the world we live in - it sucks, but it's true. I have a piece of blue-tak on my webcam and I'm not insane for doing that. I understand we all have porn-production studios in our pockets at all times, but that doesn't mean we're required to use them. Photos like these are like precious jewels and we need to protect them as best we can. Again, not blaming the victims they are literally 0% to blame, but in my experience it's very hard to steal something that doesn't exist - or that's stored on paper in my house.
I don't blame someone for being robbed, but I am careful where I put my wallet. People are not to be trusted.
At some point though - we do have to take the things we read on Facebook with a grain of salt. We must understand by now that the complexities of every issue can never possibly be fully parsed out with a passing status update. Not to mention the fact that the person may be talking about something with a tone that isn't immediately apparent in text. Or maybe they're just lying. Or just saying words for the sake of it. Or literally anything. The only thing we can really know about the intention behind a status update or tweet was that someone typed those words into a device. That's all we know - anyone who pretends to know more is simply serving their own agenda.
I did not provide links, I don't even believe I alerted anyone to the existence of these images that would not have already found out about it in some other way. I'm not sure how what I did differs from The Guardian or The Age reporting on the matter. If anything I condescended to the notion that someone would seek out the images - 'perv' is not exactly a word with the most positive connotations. I think it's always important to keep in mind who the target of a joke is. In this case, I would argue, it's not Jennifer Lawrence or Kate Upton, but the people posting all over the place, salivating on themselves trying to find the photos in question.
I guess the thing that upsets me the most is the people that saw this and rushed to judgement - they assumed that I was advocating and encouraging the behaviour and of course, by proxy, that I'm a sexist. This is especially hurtful considering that I consider myself extremely anti-sexist (or at least as much as a straight, white(ish), cis-gender male can be after all the pre-programming society has brought to the table). I consider myself to be a champion of gender equality and marriage equality and you know what, just equality of any kind. If it comes to two things being equal, I'm probably on board.
Obviously I have not made it clear to people my stance on these issues and I guess that's my failing - and something I will do more to rectify, but in the meantime, I'd like to ask my friends to take a second when they see me post something dumb and maybe give me the benefit of the doubt. Just for a moment.