The selfies we like to see – the knowingly-shared kind. Photo: Alana Blanchard
If you’re a human with eyes, you’ll know there’s been a huge image dump of X-rated pictures of celebrities splattered all over the internet. The leak happened on 4chan’s infamous /b/ forum, and mainly consists of photos apparently stolen from celebrities’ iCloud accounts. They range from casual bikini shots, to planned pornographic photos.
They also feature a wide variety of women. Mostly, they are talented actresses and beautiful models. There are also supposed snaps of famous sportswomen, including American gymnast McKayla Maroney (who has claimed on Twitter that the pictures are fake) and the U.S national women’s soccer team goalkeeper, Hope Solo. Surfing’s most-followed female, Alana Blanchard, is currently in a position where the hacker claims he has photos of her, but is yet to leak them. We can’t even fathom how that must feel.
the fake photos of me are crazy!! was trying to rise above it all, and not give “the creator” the time of day.. BUT.. pic.twitter.com/hceQcOxYkJ
— McKayla Maroney (@McKaylaMaroney) September 1, 2014
And we know that you know you shouldn’t click on these photos, because you’re probably a woman and you’re reading this website. But just in case you’re considering it – take it from someone who has looked through the photos for journalistic reasons. Don’t.
Even the straightest ladies enjoys the idea of a scantily-clad Jennifer Lawrence. And the desire to see these photos is borne, for me at least, from a mind-soup of inappropriate thoughts. The appeal of getting to examine superstars’ bodies and thus satisfy an endless desire to compare myself with other women, especially if they’re famous, is overwhelming. Add on top of that the fact that I’m attracted to a lot of these women, and well, it’s the perfect anti-feminism storm.
But here’s the thing. The people who stole these photos did so in order to exert control over women. And perhaps they get sexual pleasure out of doing so. But these photos are not just material for ‘The Fappening’, as Reddit has so-subtly christened the masturbation-fest currently going on. These photos are an example of one person, or a group of people, showing the world how they believe they deserve ownership over female bodies. And the idea that women’s bodies are public property, that can be shared, downloaded, and wanked over, is a problem.
It doesn’t mean you’re a terrible woman if you feel a desire to see these photos because you think they sound hot. You’ve just, you know, grown up in this universe.
But the scariest thing about these snaps is that the thing that makes you realise it’s wrong to be looking is the presence of the boyfriends and husbands of these women. It’s because we’re so desensitised to women’s bodies being public property, that it takes a man’s presence in an image for us to realise what idiots we’re being.
Also, these photos are distinctly unsexy because, you guessed it, a wee part of your soul knows you’re looking at something that wasn’t shared with you.
As one of our Facebook friends said today: ‘I looked, regretted it and felt like part of the problem.’
For more info on voting with your clicks, watch this great TED talk about clickbait.