High horses and celebrity photos

So I don’t normally get all up on my high horse/moral ground etc etc, but I’mma do it now because hell, I feel like ranting.

This celebrity photo leak, y’all.

If anything could tell you everything you want to know about the internet and society at large, it’s this.

A guy – and it’s most certainly a guy doing it, believe me – decided to take the private photos of a lot of famous women and splash them all around the internet in exchange for money. Bitcoin, in fact. And the straight males of the internet obliged, gleefully.

This says a few things.

  • It’s not just a vocal minority. There are a lot more guys out there paying Bitcoin for the leaker to keep posting photos than there are guys who said this shit is wrong.
  • Said guys paying Bitcoin? A five minute fapping session is worth more to them than the damage the leak will do these women’s lives, mental health, and careers.
  • Many of the women have said that this hurts them and humiliates them. Those guys don’t care, because the women they so easily hurt are not real to them. They’re objects. Sympathizing with objects is hard.
  • The internet is full of porn, both free and otherwise, amateur and professional, of beautiful women who want their naked bodies to be on display. They gladly offer up their nude pictures and videos for the gratification of all, for their own reasons. All those guys, though – they value the crappy, stolen photos more, because those photos were not meant to be seen by them. Forbidden fruit, and all that. They want something more if they not supposed to have it. The breach of privacy, of social norms, is part of the titillation.
  • The women whose private lives have been invaded are being blamed for the invasion, as if they should not allow themselves to have private lives with private thoughts and private sexuality. “What did you expect? You shouldn’t have taken those photos. You should have known.” You shouldn’t have a life that can be used against you.

And I am angry, because even though I take steps to hide it, my life could be used against me. Everyone does; we all have secrets. We all have faces that we only show to those we trust. To take someone’s innermost self and sell it to the highest bidder as a object is vile, and evil.

The only difference between this celebrity leak and the kind of revenge porn/creepshots that ordinary women have to endure every day is that people are paying money for the celebrity kind. And do please note that it’s overwhelmingly women who have to endure this, because it is overwhelmingly women who are shamed for being sexual, treated like sexual objects, and whose feelings and careers and lives are ruined as a result.

Not always women, yes. And not all men do this, yes. But it is mostly men, who mostly do this to women, because of cultural narrative. Because there is no similar narrative that shames straight men for their sexuality, that insinuates that they are only sexual objects for the pleasure of women.

I don’t know if that bothers you. It bothers me. I despair that we are never going to develop as a society as long as so many men have this colossal sense of disrespect and outright ownership over the lives of women, and so many other men just can’t seem to accept that there is a huge, creeping problem of cultural narrative that actively screws up lives.

I don’t know. All I know is I’m not willing to just say nothing about it. If I do anything at all with my life, I will write stories that push back against it. If you’re a writer, I hope you will too.

//shay

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