By Rhea Arora
Elm Staff Writer
Recently, a band of hackers broke into several celebrity iCloud accounts to steal private photos. They then published the stolen photos on a website called 4chan for the entire world to see. Jennifer Lawrence’s humiliation was the most public. After confirming the authenticity of the photos, Lawrence broke her silence and said that hacking into her private iCloud account was an invasion of privacy, and taking photos without permission was theft. She also said that when the perpetrators of these crimes are caught, they will be charged with such.
At first celebrities just endured whatever judgments the public passed about them. Lawrence called out each and every one in society and said that whoever clicked around the Internet to view her stolen pictures perpetuated the crime. Yes, it is a crime. These hackers stole property. No one gave them permission to invade the celebrities’ privacy. No one allowed random, bored hackers to look at the celebrities’ naked bodies and then distribute the photographs like commodities for profit.
What’s even worse is that society took to slut shaming. Opinions on how Lawrence “asked for it” and “had it coming” were very loudly voiced. Would you agree that you shouldn’t have taken nude pictures in the first place if someone purposefully hacked into your private accounts to humiliate you? Is it a third person’s place to judge your level of dignity and integrity if you’re the victim of a sex crime? No. So, why is it acceptable for you or anyone else to do the same?
In the past, celebrities have had to hang their heads in shame and humiliation because “invasion of privacy comes with the territory” of their jobs. Which makes me think, what exactly is an actor’s job? It is to act. If the actor is able to roll out successful movies, why is it that aspects of their lives other than their professional work are judged? Why must celebrities tolerate invasions of privacy? Lawrence told “Vanity Fair,” “Just because I’m a public figure, just because I’m an actress, does not mean that I asked for this, it does not mean that it comes with the territory. It’s my body, and it should be my choice, and the fact that it is not my choice is absolutely disgusting.” Public figures like Kim Kardashian and Vanessa Hudgens have had to issue official apologies for leaked nude photos and sex tapes. Lawrence said, “I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for.” She’s correct. She does not need to apologize for being the victim of a sex crime and at the receiving end of humiliation and hurt.
After Emma Watson’s powerful speech on feminism at the UN, the hackers at 4chan threatened to release nude photographs of her as a response. It is disgusting to think that women’s bodies are used against them. Even in modern society a woman’s worth is attached to her body. She is objectified and considered a commodity whose value goes up and down depending on the extent to which her body is violated. In many cases, women themselves will critique other women; not constructively, but derogatively. In the age of technology social media forums are used for sexual harassment and bullying. This makes the perpetrators of these crimes more difficult to catch and punish.
It starts from within. If we make a conscious effort not to satisfy our curiosity and spare celebrities from embarrassment by not viewing leaked nudes then we’re being human. We’re respecting someone’s space and life. We’re creating good Karma for a day when we’re in a humiliating position and someone decides not to participate in our misery, actively or passively.