A toxic mix of desires

I recently screwed my face up reading Van Badham’s article on the sexual violation of Jennifer Lawrence, and female celebrity nude photos in general. The quote that caused this face scrunch was the following:

“[To look at these pictures (no context applied)] is an act of sexual violation, and it deserves the same social and legal punishment as meted out to stalkers and other sexual predators.”

As someone who is aware of the daily abuses and institutionalised sexism that is subjected towards my earthly sisters, part of me wants to agree that it is indeed a sexual violation to view female nude material you have no consent to. After all, it is immoral, a clear violation of privacy and pertaining to nude (and therefore in this case, sexual) material but I still can’t help but feel a niggling itch that it’s an over-exaggeration of terminology.

Sexual violation usually refers to assault of some kind, or other sexual deviations such as voyeurism. The act of looking at the photos, however, doesn’t require that same level of dedication to one’s own perverse sexual self-gratification as being a voyeur in someone’s bushes. Irrelevant misogynistic last-minute resistance I hear you cry. I’m afraid I don’t mind girls and that, it is actually an argument for reason but I’ll come to it later.

Allow me to break this down using ‘star’ as a substitute for any famous person involved.

The creation of the photos were star’s choice and therefore cannot be compared with child pornography, which Van Badham did, in a rebuttal to criticism of her article.

The automatic cloud storage of the photos were perhaps unfamiliar to star. It’s either a lack of understanding of the technology or star knew and trusted in the cloud security but either way, it’s irrelevant to the crime. No ‘she shouldn’t have been so stupid’ victim blaming from me.

They were copied from the original file, not taken. It doesn’t matter, it’s still theft BUT we are talking about data. Analogies about personal property being stolen such as someone’s TV are not relatable. And by the same token data theft that is beneficial to the public is not relatable, like Snowden’s revelations.

The distribution or supply of stolen data to the public is highly immoral and an abuse of privacy. If it isn’t already, it should be illegal.

Now, with that cleared up. Let’s get on to the wankers.

One thing that was missing in Van’s article was the MO behind the ‘criminals’ she would have locked up for taking a peek, the reason why someone would think it’s OK to look at the photos against JL’s will. Van ignores the psychological and more importantly sociological conditioning of men who view women as objects, and for people in general to sensationalise celebrity.

These two things when put together give a toxic mix of desires that on the surface is disgustingly intrusive and underneath embarrassingly immature. While I agree it’s deplorable to take a look, it does not require the same compulsion you see in sexual predators. Men (or women) who have speciality sexual tastes that they keep within the confines of their privacy (where in the creation of said materials no law has been broken) are not and should not be covered by the same legal prosecution as those who opt to take it outside of their bedroom. Viewing these photos is inconsequential to the direct abuse of JL et al as, although a case may be argued for the popularity and ad revenue of the sites that gets raised as a result, the harm was done when the pics were put into the public domain.

Because of this men who view these photos need a good slap and awakening about the world they live in, but to be sent down?

There is I fear an opportunistic aura around Van’s article.

Her attack on a ‘crime’ she knows to be predominantly committed by males seems a great way to highlight the constant abuses men subject on women through their wicked evil ways, and take an underhand jab at them. The link she included to the site of the photos themselves in a way seems like a smug taunt, a dare to click. And advocating further invasions of privacy to track down those who have invaded someone else’s privacy.

It reeks of hyper-feminist, yellow journalism. The 2D, black and white, right and wrong argument in a 3D, colour world of variables.

Oh and just to be clear Ms. Badham, I didn’t give a toss about any of these photos until your article. So if I get done for viewing them for context in this kind of debate, I’m fucking taking you down too for persuading me.

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