A QUICK WORD ABOUT THE LATEST CELEBRITY HACKING SCANDAL
As you have probably noticed from your timeline on twitter, your facebook feed, or the comments section of various news stories and blog posts, there are a lot of people that are not very bothered by what happened to certain celebrities recently.
For those who have been away the last few days, I’ll bring you up to speed.
A hacker, exploiting a fatal flaw in Apple’s iCloud security, was able to obtain photos of well-known individuals showing them in various stages of undress. These photographs were not meant for public consumption, and may not have even been meant for another human being’s eyes.
You’ll notice I’m not naming any of those individuals. More on that in a moment. But first, we need to discuss the reaction that many (most?) men had to this: the joy, exaltation, and public shaming of the victims.
The comparison was drawn to actors doing a nude scene in a film. This false equivalence isn’t just absurd, it exposes those making it as active participants in a culture that literally presents a danger to all women, because a nude scene in a film occurs in a controlled environment, with restrictions that can be dictated by the participants. In short, it is consent. Those who make that argument that what’s happened recently is no different or should not be treated as a gross trespass and violation of basic decency are exposing their belief that consent does not matter.
No amount of apologetic spin can explain that away. Nothing has reinforced the existence and prevalence of “rape culture” quite like that aforementioned reaction, which is essentially “you me your body.”
What happened goes beyond the invasion of privacy. It’s not a rumor published on Page 6 of the Post or whispers at a cocktail party. It’s a violation of a person’s rights; not just in the legal sense, but as a human being.
The postulation of sexual debt from anyone, regardless of notoriety, is a cornerstone of “rape culture” that seems not to have subsided with the rise of the internet and especially social media in day to day prominence. In fact, it seems just the opposite.
Men who feel an actress’s stolen nude photos are fair game, men who think politeness is not a virtue but a commodity that should be rewarded with reluctant sexual acts, the fraternity date rapist, and the serial rapist are all encouraged by a continued culture of rape, misogyny, and male dominance in the cultural sphere. That’s why the lines between them are not thin, they’re non-existent. It’s not a matter of degrees, but opportunity.
Which is why, to an earlier point, you noticed I didn’t name any of the individuals affected. I won’t identify them because I consider them victims of sexual assault. And until we treat it in that context, we have no right whatsoever to dismiss any and all discussion of “rape culture” or tout any gains we’ve made recently in attaining anything resembling basic decency, let alone gender equality.
Should also take this time to remind those that suffer sexual assault of the resources available to them.
I think my favorite thing about this generation is how seriously everyone takes their Hogwarts house.