Revenge Porn, Slut Shaming, and GASP! Naked Bodies

So, the social networks are all abuzz right now with stories involving women being victimized, thanks to the reveal that Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities’ cloud accounts were hacked, and nude photos released. It looks as though Congress may get involved with some new legislation. This is not a bad thing, and I will not complain if something comes from it that can help deal with people who steal other people’s property and/or violate their privacy.

What bothers me about the article is that it is hyped up as a solution to help bring and end to this type of violation. It won’t. Stiff penalties might deter some people, but hackers that really want to find the hot new actress’ nude photos and share them with his 4chan buddies will still find a way to do so. Forcing sites to remove content will only provide them a challenge to put it elsewhere.

Better is to examine why this happens and knowing why learn how to make the action itself meaningless.

What is at the heart of the JL picture leak? Is it lust? Is it power?

Well, if actor/comedian Ricky Gervais or New York Times columnist Nick Bolton are any indication ….

…. it’s about shame.

We live in a twisted society. On one hand, we are biologically driven to find people attractive and desirable, and to want to see them. It does not matter your sexual preference. It is why we hubba at a pretty woman in a tight dress or swoon over a ripped man in Speedos.

On the other hand, we are told that a naked body and the things we do with a naked body are dirty. Don’t think about a man’s no-no place and heaven forbid if you try to touch yourself “down there”.

What gets me is that people cannot seem to look past these Puritan ideas of sex and the boy to see just how destructive this line of reasoning is.

Those women took those pictures because they had someone they wanted to share them with. And good for them. But because we as a society look at that activity and say “Oh my goodness! How dare you take naked pictures and put them somewhere that someone (you choose to) can see them!” when those pictures get found, these women are shamed. And sometimes they feel ashamed. They should not, but it is not their fault that they do.

They should feel that their privacy was violated and they were wronged in that someone took something from them without permission. We as a society have taught them to be ashamed of their bodies, and when those bodies are exposed, they feel shamed. And no matter what laws are put in place to punish criminals or hosting sites, hackers will do this again because causing that shame is what gets them excited. They should be punished when caught, but punishment is only so much of a deterrent.

If we as a society stop shaming women who find themselves exposed – well, that would do a lot of things. Women would have more confidence in themselves, since they will no longer be shackled with a form that will only bring them harassment and shame. They will be able to experience a greater degree of sexual freedom and have the confidence to seek the information and assistance that will keep them safe in those experiences (how to properly use birth control, how to stand your ground when you need your partner to use it). When victimized through those experiences, they will have the courage to speak about it, seeing swifter justice for perpetrators because they are no longer being shamed for doing things that come naturally to sexually active women.

And these people who take a perverse pleasure at drawing shame out to haunt women will no longer have that club to wield.

If you really want to see people stop using “revenge porn” or sneaking photos of women and posting them online, then we as a society need to make it no longer inviting. Because if you are a woman, whether you are a Jennifer Lawrence or a housewife, and you have a need to upload that naked photo – like your husband being on his business trip for over a week and missing you – then you should be able to do so, and not worry about being shamed if someone not your husband somehow gets hold of it.

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