During my freshman year of high school, there was a girl on my basketball team who I wasn’t really fond of. The friends of the boy I was dating knew this, so one night, when we were all hanging out, one of the boys asked me if I had seen her latest photo. Thinking it was another ridiculous Myspace-esque selfie on her Facebook, I rolled my eyes and took his phone.
The picture was of my teammate entirely naked. Apparently she had sent the photo to a friend of theirs, and for all I knew, anyone could have seen it by then. The next morning at practice, she found out that the picture had circulated pretty widely.
I feel guilty to this day for how I responded to the situation. I didn’t hug her while she cried in the locker room. I didn’t chastise the boys who were passing around her picture. I laughed.
People seem to react initially to that kind of situation with a “well, what did she expect?” attitude, and I was no different. I can’t say that I think taking nude photos of yourself is that great of an idea, but that common response places the blame on the individual for expecting someone that she trusted not to violate her privacy.
The recent unauthorized circulation of nude photos of celebrities is just as much of an invasion of privacy as what happened to my teammate.
Someone actively sought out these photos in an attempt to humiliate these women, and boy did we let them succeed. We called it a scandal. People searched for the images, subreddit after subreddit, until they found them.
We need to realize that when any of us does any of those things, we allow this invasion of privacy to appear as something that these women should be ashamed of, and I don’t think they should be.
Now that I am older and wiser, the idea of seeking these pictures out, calling it a scandal or acting like these women did anything wrong is the last response to come to my mind. They are all adults taking pictures of themselves on their own phones. No one should ever presume to tell you what to do with your own body or phone.
I find it ridiculous that people are saying that these photos are scandalous. There are worse, and far more scandalous, things for people to do besides take a picture of themselves.
James Franco allegedly asked a 17-year-old girl to go to a hotel room with him and received almost no backlash for it, and football players who essentially got away with murder are allowed to remain in the NFL, but it is a scandal when Jennifer Lawrence takes a picture of her own breasts.
We should be ashamed of ourselves for thinking that these women did anything wrong, and those of us who participated in seeking the images out should be doubly so.
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