Let’s get this out of the way from the start. I have taken naked and suggestive pictures of myself. Not just when I was naive and ‘young enough to know better’, but recently. For the eyes of my boyfriend only. When I was younger, the pictures were taken in a mirror, carefully planned and practised, making them worth the 25p it cost to send the MMS. Now, in my safe, long term relationship, my boyfriend will snap a cheeky picture (consensually of course) of me getting dressed, or laying sleepily naked in bed.
Now, for the newsflash:
These pictures have nothing at all to do with you.
There is nothing wrong with these pictures.
You have no right to see them unless I choose to share them with you.
This is equally as true for every other naked picture that exists in the world. Whether it was taken by Jennifer Lawrence, or the Queen. Whether it was taken for a long term boyfriend or sent cheekily to a guy you’ve been messaging for a while.
The point is, this disgusting brief of privacy is by no means the fault of anyone but those who leaked and shared the photographs. If you want to take naked pictures of your body, that is fine, it is more than fine. Because it is just that your body. The people who are claiming ‘It serves them right, having pictures of themselves naked on their computers’ are exactly the reason we live in a rape culture that always blames the victims. That labels a woman who engages in her sexuality as a ‘slut’, but equally hates on a woman who doesn’t.
A Disney star, whose confidential, consensual nudes are leaked by someone she trusts is forced to apologise by Disney. Understandably, it creates an awkward area for the fans (‘though really at that age they shouldn’t be able to see them) but the apology should be coming from the person who violated her privacy. In taking photographs of her own body naked, she was doing nothing at all wrong.
It is entirely irrelevant if these women are ‘celebrities’, or if their bodies are desirable. You are, essentially, looking at their naked body without their prior consent. These images were stolen and none of us have any right to be searching for them, and sharing them. A crime has been committed, one that should be making us terrified that something like this can happen, and instead of supporting those who it has affected, we are delighting in their discomfort.
How are we supposed to teach our children that their bodies are nothing to be ashamed of, if we are constantly shaming those who use theirs in any way?
As for my cheeky snaps, well, I have to just hope and trust that those private pictures will stay private. The world tells me it is my responsibility to ensure that these things do not happen to me, and not the responsibility of the world to not do these things. That my friends, is a rape culture. and we live in it.