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In my own words: a commentary on the death of women’s privacy.

red carpet

So, ladies and gentlemen, we are reminded that privacy is a thing of the past.

Over 100 famous women had intimate photos stolen from their personal devices and made permanently available to everyone in the world.

Some individual(s) amongst us woke up a short while ago and thought: ‘I am going to seek out private nude photographs of successful celebrity women, I am going to steal them and put them on the internet in exchange for money.’

Over 100 celebrity women woke up a short while ago and found that images of their naked bodies pictured in private settings have been posted on the world wide web, so that they have no control over who sees them, forever.

This, is being called a scandal by the media.

A scandal is an incident or action considered immoral, shameful and/or illegal. Only it is presented as the famous women’s scandal, not the thief sex offender’s scandal.

This, is non-consensual full frontal nudity. This is turning 100+ women’s private lives into public pornography. This is a serial violation of women’s right to bodily privacy.

This is a sex crime.

Think back to a moment when you felt safe, comfortable and sexually confident; perhaps you were with your partner, things were going well. You decided to express, even indulge in your sexuality, naturally. You took a photo and you were proud of it; that photo is a fond memento of that moment of your life.

Imagine the chilling realisation that your moment, your memory, your photos are public property. Imagine how your partner feels, how your family feels, the number of people affected. Think about the unwanted advances you’ve had (particularly as a woman) and those that are yet to come. Your consent is now irrelevant because your nude body is available to everybody.

I am spelling this out because the whole reason we are talking is that as a society, we fail to recognise the human impact that this exploitation of women causes.

And yes – there were no male celebrities among those 100+. Just women.

Consider for a moment that there are people telling these women that they have nothing to worry about because they look good in the photos, as though they have ticked the most important box a woman can tick so all else is dandy.

This is as sad as it is unsurprising. Our society is obsessed with women’s bodies while regarding them with a sense of entitlement.

It is no wonder that there is an entire industry devoted to teaching women exactly how their bodies should look, and shaming them for not meeting the ideal. Celebrity women on the red carpet (or any other public platform) are automatically scrutinised and lined up alongside each other in tomorrow’s paper to be compared on looks.

At the same time there are books full of rules set in legislature about what women are and aren’t allowed to do with their bodies and unborn children.

There are parts of the world where women’s virginity (and by extension, sexuality) is so heavily policed that their genitalia will be mutilated as a matter of routine to ensure that her husband can rip her open.

Have you ever asked a heterosexual woman if she is, say, a biceps or a six-pack woman? But it is anything but absurd to overhear a man describe himself as a ‘tits man’ or a ‘legs man’. Almost every part of the female body is fetishised in mainstream discourse and men are casually encouraged to choose among these ”parts”. The text between the lines reads dehumanisation.

Alas, when we see others as human beings who are just like us and deserve the same respect, we do not overstep social boundaries.

Anytime that stranger on the street and on the internet gives themselves licence to tell a woman how she should look and behave, they are showing a basic lack of respect for her personal autonomy. This is bad enough, but today we are talking about a case of mass non-consensual nudity.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is not Jenifer Lawrence’s scandal.

ZFEM.

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