What can we learn from Jennifer Lawrence’s leaked photos?

Jennifer-LawrenceIt’s a storyline that many people have heard.  Whether it be a celebrity’s, a friend’s, or someone you go to school with, circulating private photos seem like the cultural ‘norm.’  On Sunday, August 31st, numerous actress’ private nude photos were anonymously hacked from their personal computers and leaked to the internet.  The celebrities involved in the leak include Jennifer Lawrence, Victoria Justice, Kate Upton, Ariana Grande, Kirsten Dunst, Yvonne Strahovski, and Teresa Palmer.

People are quick to point the blame to the celebrities for taking private photos, but who is really to blame here?  I’ll make it clear–not the women’s.  Scott Mendelson, reporter from Forbes magazine, opposes news sources by stating, “The story itself should not be addressed as if it were a scandal, but rather what it is: A sex crime involving theft of personal property and the exploitation of the female body.”

One may argue that it was the celebrities’ fault; why photograph yourself nude in a technology-driven era?  Simply put, it’s their choice.  These women took these photos with the intention of sending them to a partner, a friend, or even keep it for themselves.  These photos were not meant to be seen by you.  These photos were not meant to be seen by their friends and family.  And these photos were especially not meant to be seen by the public eye.  Privacy should be a right, not a privilege.

Celebrities were quick to defend the victims of the leak.  Lena Dunham, actress in hit show “Girls,” tweeted words of wisdom for the public in defense of Jennifer Lawrence’s photos.  Dunham states, “Remember, when you look at these pictures you are violating these women again and again. It’s not okay.”

In light of this crime, I believe everyone should understand how invasion of privacy affects women.  In Hollywood, risque photos of women are a hot-button topic for gossip sites and news sources to create crude jokes and punny headlines.  But, what people don’t talk about are the women who have their privacy invaded in their own homes.  Young women sending photos to someone through social media such as Snapchat in hopes of being closer to someone end up as the butt of a joke when people forward it to others.  Private photos circulate through college campuses, high schools and even middle schools.  This is not only a problem, it’s a crime.

Women have the right to take private photos.  I believe taking photos embraces body positivity and self-image.  We should not shame women for taking these photos, but shame the people who invade their privacy.  Shame the ones who view these photos, who signal boost and circulate these photos.  These victims have a right to their privacy and will not be shamed for their bodies.

———

Rachel Rogala

Publication Design Major

Ohio University Women’s Center Volunteer

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About Ohio U Women's Center

The Ohio University Women’s Center serves and responds to the needs of OU women students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the community. Founded in 2007, the center is dedicated to creating an inclusive and welcoming campus climate for all members of the community through programs, resources, referrals, advocacy, and education. Located in Baker University Center 403.
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