Celebrities become victims of personal invasion, show sexism in society

Deanna Huffman and Deanna Huffman

This past weekend, we were all smacked between the eyes with a fresh reminder that the degradation of women is not only prevalent, but inundating a society that is web-based and internet-driven.

On Sunday, hackers stole and posted nude images of dozens of female celebrities online. This was a breach in security that was both physically violating and emotionally damaging.

Furthermore, the vicious act sent the message that the hackers — and anyone with an internet connection, for that matter — own these women’s bodies, and can violate them at will.

Allegedly, the victims of the breach included actresses Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Lizzy Caplan, as well as Olympians Hope Solo and McKayla Maroney. Among the dozens of leaked photos, only one victim was male — actor Dave Franco.

The female body is essentially used as a “commodity” to sell products, to sexualize and to appeal to a particular target audience.

That being said, exposing a woman’s nude photographs on the internet without her consent is a flagrant violation of her privacy.

It speaks to mankind’s obsession and need for control over the female body, and reduces women to sexual objects. When a naked woman is exposed to the entire internet population – composed of nameless, faceless, drooling scums — she is rendered vulnerable and powerless.

Some have argued that, if women like Jennifer Lawrence didn’t take the salacious photos in the first place, they couldn’t have been stolen. However, I don’t think the issue lies within the act of taking and/or saving nude photographs. Jennifer Lawrence’s biggest predicament is not that she took nudes.

It’s that she lives and works in a sexist society, where the internet shrouds the identities of individuals like the hackers, providing the safety of anonymity, while they use their intelligence and talents for devastating purposes.

In fact, if Lawrence wanted to pose sensually and celebrate the beauty of the human body, I applaud her.

The root of the issue is not posing scantily clad in front of a camera. It is the continued humiliation and degradation of women, manifesting in similar ways, as society continues to use the female body, often callously, for temporary physical pleasure.

The proliferation of free pornographic content has boomed since the internet became so widely accessed on computers and smartphones, and it has skewed viewers’ expectations on sex itself, as well as the physical appearance of female [and male] figures.

In opposition, some might argue that men view pornographic images because of a benign drive to fulfill an insatiable sexual appetite, and this is thanks to biology. However, I think it is a socially accepted construct that provides one small puzzle piece to an ultimately larger picture – misogyny.

Revenge porn is just one more rung, lengthening the ladder of gender inequality.

When I first saw the headlines regarding the leaked photos, my initial feeling was sadness. I felt sad for Jennifer Lawrence, and for the other women who were vulnerably exposed to millions.

But the more I thought about it, I began to feel sadness for the millions, as well — the multitude of women who are also affected, because with each image, our bodies are made cheaper.

My intentions are not to belittle or take anything away from the celebrities’ experiences, but I don’t think the photo leak was solely a crime against Jennifer Lawrence or Hope Solo, individually.

It was a hateful and disgusting violation against women as a whole.

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