The Fappening: The War on Women and Why You Shouldn’t Look at the Pictures

Unless you have been living under a rock (which, I might add, isn’t comfortable; see a chiropractor a.s.a.p.) and away from social media, then let me enlighten you: towards the beginning of September, nude photos of Kate Upton and the chosen Jennifer Lawrence hit the internet. Dubbed “The Fappening,” (after the fap , or male manual stimulation), it serves as a glaring reminder that in the world of technology, there really is no such thing as privacy. Numerous female celebrities have been hit: Hayden Panetierre, Kim kardashian, Gabrielle Union, Kaley Cuoco, Vanessa Hudgens, Amber Heard, and Rihanna. These are just a few, the tip of the perverted iceberg. Some might disagree that the hacker/s is/are perverted, for the woman whose pictures have been published v “should have known better” than to take nude photos of themselves. This victim-blaming is despicable because it further emphasizes the notion that women have no right over their bodies. THAT, my readers, is a problem.

I absolutely adore Jennifer Lawrence. While I am not the biggest fan of the Hunger Games franchise (dystopian novels just aren’t my thing), I love what she stands for. She doesn’t believe that one has to fit a certain physical mold in order to be successful, and (cue the cliche) that it’s one’s internal content that counts: courage and valor supersede superficiality. It recently came to light that she has a no-nudity clause in all her contracts, and refuses to ever bare it all for the camera. I applaud her for that. Now, that is not to say that females who do bear themselves before the camera are not as virtuous or noble. There is no correlation here between external appearance and internal character. Lawrence does not need to provide any further explanation aside from “I choose not to,” just as Kim Kardashian and Rihanna, whose nude pictorials are public knowledge, have every right to bare themselves as they so choose. The point here is choice. It’s about hegemony. When it comes to the world and any social interactions, these women have the choice as to how they want themselves to be portrayed. Wanna show your areola? Go ahead. Want to not show them? Go ahead. Whatever you want to do with your body.
So, when Jennifer Lawrence’s nude photos were leaked, I could hear the utterance of “Hypocrite!” and “That’s what she gets” from miles away. Ummm, semantics lesson. Hypocrisy is turning the other cheek, when one does not practice what one preaches. How is Lawrence hypocritical in taking these in pictures? She chooses not to appear naked on-screen. Nudity, she feels, has no place in her professional life. Whether these photos were taken for a lover, for fun, or even to document some physical journey (weight loss, for example), she did these personally. There is a separate of spheres here, people. Please acknowledge that. Jennifer’s actions were in no way hypocritical. Her body is hers for the using, and what she chooses to do with it is her choice. More importantly, she chooses to whom it is revealed. Whether the iCloud system is faulty or not, the real breach here is both a breach of privacy as well as of ethics.
Now, let’s move on to Kim Kardashian . I’m not the biggest Kim Kardashian fan, just because I don’t like the whole playing-dumb thing. That’s my choice. I don’t agree with her on that, but one, here life is not for me to approve or disapprove. Her life, her choices. She has shown her naked body in magazines, and some of her Instagram shots aren’t exactly G-rated either. Kim Kardashian is her body, as far as her career (TV shows, endorsements, magazine covers) is concerned. Yet, just as the publishing of Jennifer Lawrence’s hacked photos is despicable, so is that of Kim Kardashian’s. A media-loving Instagram junkie, if Kim Kardashian wanted these photos to be public, she would have publicized them long ago. These photos were private, and she had the final say-so as to their distribution. No matter what you think about Kardashian, and whether or not you agree with her choices, she is still a human being with the fundamental right to privacy.

This scandal is an invasion. Gabrielle Union has gone as far as to label this a “hate crime.” I agree completely. If you disagree with that label, consider the following story. Emma Watson, beloved actress and new ambassador to the United Nations, gave a moving speech about gender equality. Quickly thereafter, Business Insider reports that a user on 4chan, the site responsible for the hacking, published a countdown until Watson’s personal photos would be published. Coincidence? Definitely not. It’s as if those behind this countdown thought to themselves, How dare this woman speak out about gender equality? Does she not know that she has no rights? Hmmm, well, she’ll learn pretty soon.

Is this a new war on women? I don’t think so, because I don’t believe that there was a ever an end to the war. perhaps some cease-fires, but that’s about it. This scandal is just reminding us that many in society do not believe that we have the rights to our own bodies. Saying that the aforementioned women should have known better than to take pictures is truly analogous to saying that I shouldn’t use my Macbook Pro in the library–a public space–because someone may want to steal it. If it is stolen and I am physically injured in the process, it is, ultimately, my fault. Yes, we should proceed with caution in all aspects of life, because the hunter-hunted dynamic is always there; however, those who get off on taking away basic human rights are the real despicable ones.

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