If You Don't Want People To Steal Your Nude Photographs, Then Don't Be Nude (or: The Sociology of the Celebrity Cell Phone Hacking Scandal)

Coincidentally, I post a similar tweet whenever I hear about a kidnapped child. "If you don't want your child to be kidnapped, then don't have kids!"
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Have you been reading about this celebrity cell phone hacking scandal, in which young women's private photographs are being stolen and posted on-line? Geez, our country is finally starting to heal from the "Joe Biden nude sun bathing" incident. And now this?

One must feel horribly violated to have one's most intimate images appear on public websites that anyone can look at. I mean, one time I accidentally sent a text to the person I was texting about. Awwwkward. But at least my embarrassment was genital-free.

Personally, I won't look at anything on the Internet that's "not safe for work." My boss is very strict about that... which is surprising because I work for an Internet pornography site.

I can explain how gravity works. I sort of understand E = mc2. (Though, before Einstein published his theory, I'm curious as to what scientists thought E equaled?) But- and maybe I'm revealing my cyber naivety here- I'm utterly astonished and amazed at how hackers are able to break into a celebrity's personal account. Yeah, I get it; there are "clouds" and storage files and data banks. But where does one's quest to stalk a celebrity even begin? What is the technological starting point? There are millions of people with cell phones and there must be billions and billions of images out there. How did they find Kate Upton? Does Apple maintain a separate "hot young celebrity" user list available for public viewing? I mean, yeah, these hackers are creepy perverts and they should be in prison. But how come we weren't using these little slimeballs during our hunt for bin Laden? Next time we're trying to locate American hostages in Syria, let's put the word out that the terrorists possess topless pics of Penny from The Big Bang Theory. I bet we'd have their hiding spot in less than a day.

Another thing about the celebrity hacking scandal is that it sort of disproves this Republican theory about invention stemming from profit. According to your typical economic conservative, financial greed is the motivating force behind one's technological creativity. But sleazy as they may be, these computer hackers are extremely innovative in their profitless quest to steal cell phone pictures and movies and Game of Thrones. At their own legal risk, without any monetary reward, they upload this stuff so that others may enjoy it for free. It's actually somewhat honorable- well, I mean in a corrupt, misogynistic, misguided, and awful way. Look, I'm not defending the actions. I'm just saying that people are more productive when they're doing something they love than when they're doing it for money. The giant corporation Apple exists solely to be profitable, and it has come up with exactly two decent ideas since Steve Jobs died: making phones smaller and then making phones bigger again.

Of course, the real story here is the exploitation of young women, though some opinionatists have been more accusatory than compassionate. Upon hearing the news, many tweets expressed a similar point-of-view; "if you don't want your nude pictures stolen, then don't take nude pictures of yourself." Coincidentally, I post a similar tweet whenever I hear about a kidnapped child. "If you don't want your child to be kidnapped, then don't have kids!"

But blaming women for their sexuality is pretty much a national pastime. Damn, I've gotten so used to media critics telling me that Miley Cyrus is a bad influence on my children, I'm starting to believe them -- which is insane because I don't have children... though I do have a dog who wears too much make-up and twerks.

If you don't want your nude pictures stolen, then don't take nude pictures of yourself? Hell, I don't think that advice goes far enough. I say, "If you don't want people to steal your nude pictures, then don't ever be nude!" Look at this logically. As long as you're never naked, nobody can look at your naked pictures. Wear a bathing suit in the shower. Keep a biodegradable loincloth between your underwear and your skin so that you're never exposed when you change outfits. Just don't be naked! Then you never have to worry about hackers stealing your passwords.

But seriously, I'm used to this "blame-the-victim" mentality that engulfs society. In debate, women are forced to spend less time supporting their rights and more time defending them. More upsetting to me, though, is the moralists' argument that people should stop taking self-nude pictures. I don't think people should stop taking naked pictures. Since when do we want less nudity? That's crazy talk. We should be encouraging people to take off their clothes. We should be advocating for more nudity: more butts and breasts and penises and vaginas. (Though I just want to be clear that I'm totally against more penises.) You never hear about a mass shooting at a nudist beach... though, in fairness, it's probably more difficult to enter the premises with a concealed weapon. Meanwhile, those morons in ISIS are covered from head to toe.

It's time to stop shaming people who take nude pictures of themselves. This is what people do now. Get over it. There are worse things that people do with their cell phones. Like Angry Birds.

I have nude pictures of myself, but they're mostly fakes. Besides, I know that nobody will ever find them because I keep them in the fruit and vegetable section at Walmart. And nobody ever goes there.

There has been speculation that these hacked naked photographs will hurt the actresses' careers. But that won't happen. Audiences love Jennifer Lawrence because, aside from being cute and talented, she seems like a really cool, zany, down-to-earth chick. She is the "Lee Marvin" of this generation. And this "scandal" does nothing to contradict that opinion. I still hated American Hustle, though.

Nobody will stop paying to see Jennifer Lawrence on screen. However the self-righteous people making comments on-line do seem to be enjoying the smug satisfaction of seeing this wealthy, famous, beautiful movie star being knocked down a peg. After all, she had the audacity to take nude shots of herself; she deserved what happened.

But I have a different theory about the moral judgment that has accompanied this scandal. I don't think that people are outraged because these young women took naked pictures of themselves. No, I think there is more to it.

Most of the pictures that have been released online were taken by the celebrities themselves. And there is nobody else in the picture. I mean, umm, from what I've heard. So not only were these pictures not meant to be seen by the public, but as far as we know, they were not meant to be seen by anyone. It's possible that these women took pictures solely for their own enjoyment. It's possible that these women -- and all women, for that matter -- just want to look at, and perhaps even admire, their own bodies... without the pressure of outside commentary and critique.

It's not that society is opposed to women taking self-nude pictures. It's that people hate what's in the pictures, or at least they hate the mindset of the women taking them. People don't like the fact that these women are looking at themselves in the mirror. I've read the critical posts. Society has revealed a layer of disgust in that women are interested in their own sexuality, that women are taking possession of their own bodies. Why? It's because, for years, women's bodies were meant for the sexual enjoyment of men. Women were not supposed to have control over their own bodies.

That women would be interested in their own bodies is still confusing to a large chunk of the population. And it's not easy for those with social power to give up that control: control of stricter abortion laws, control of lenient date rape laws, control of blaming women for being sexual beings independent of men.

Nevertheless, I hope they catch the hackers. And I long for the day when privacy was an actual thing. You are not famous. Hence, computer thieves might not be oogling your private images. But the government probably is.

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