Pop-Culture | Posted by Eliza V on 10/6/2014

The Naked Celebrity Photos Aren’t A “Scandal” — They’re A Crime

Jennifer Lawrence: one of the hacked celebrities

When I first read that 100 celebrity women were hacked and their private photos stolen then distributed online, the incident was framed as a scandal. The first article I read ridiculed the women whose privacy was violated for being so stupid as to have nude photo of themselves on their personal devices and blamed them for the incident. It questioned how they would show their faces in public and, of course, the word “slut” was thrown around quite a bit. It wasn’t until I read an article written by Scott Mendelson on Forbes that regarded what had happened as a sex crime that I fully appreciated the magnitude of this event.

Many people seem to argue that this crime would have been prevented had these women never taken nude photos in the first place and try to rationalize or shame women for their motivations. Maybe these celebrities were sexting someone, to remain intimate while constantly separated. Maybe they thought they looked good and wanted to take a photo. Maybe they were even taken by accident. Who knows? And who cares? The reasons why the photos were taken in the first place are obsolete: the problem is that the crime of releasing them should never have happened

Ultimately, these photos were private and housed on these individuals’ private devices. The photos were sought out, found, stolen and then distributed by people who make their livelihoods by invading people’s privacy. These women are not to be blamed for the pictures being leaked. They have a right to privacy, regardless of their profession.  What matters is the fact that people are now profiting from this crime and searching for a reason, a right, to blame the victims. As Lena Dunham tweeted; “The “don’t take naked pics if you don’t want them online” argument is the “she was wearing a short skirt” of the web. Ugh.” Mary E. Winstead, one of the women listed, tweeted; “Knowing those photos were deleted long ago, I can only imagine the creepy effort that went into this. Feeling for everyone who got hacked.”

Any woman should have the right to express herself as she sees fit, to have nude photos of herself on her own devices and to delete those photos knowing they will stay deleted. Technology has become such an integral part of all of our lives that it almost seems ridiculous to believe that it wouldn’t infiltrate our sexual lives as well. Though most women are raised to believe that they must timidly control and repress their sexuality, women are just as sexual as men and should have every right to express their sexuality in the ways they see fit. Why must women specifically be policed and shamed for taking nude photos? What about that is inherently wrong?

No person has the right to steal those photos and then sell them for a quick profit. The fact that people are so eager to participate in a sex crime by purchasing, distributing and viewing the nude photos against the women’s wishes is astounding. It’s simple to not be involved in this horrific breach of privacy, to not be a participant in this sex crime. Simply decide not to seek out the photos and you will not have committed a sex crime. Chose to respect women’s basic rights to privacy.

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