Celebrities: They Sext Like Us

by Dish Staff

The Internet is atwitter over a number of celebrities’ phones getting hacked for nude photos. Jessica Valenti urges the curious to look elsewhere for titillation:

There’s a reason why the public tends to revel in hacked or stolen nude pictures. It’s because they were taken without consent. Because the women in them (and it’s almost always women who are humiliated this way) did not want those shots to be shared. If Jennifer Lawrence was to pose naked on the cover of Playboy, for example, I’m sure it would be a best-selling issue. But it wouldn’t have the same scandalous, viral appeal as private images stolen from her phone. Because if she shared nude images consensually, then people wouldn’t get to revel in her humiliation. And that’s really the point, isn’t it? To take a female celebrity down a notch? (We have a term for when this is done to non-celebrity women: “revenge porn.”)

Jessica Roy pens a modern-day J’Accuse:

To be clear, it’s not just the hacker who’s guilty here.

It’s also the fault of administrators and vocal male users of platforms like 4chan and Twitter that cling to misinterpreted notions of the First Amendment to excuse the systematic harassment of women online, who blatantly favor the protection of misogynist hate speech over the well-being of women. It’s the fault of people who tweet the photos or users who re-upload the cache of images to sites like Imgur with no regard for the victims (and make no mistake — the women in these photos are victims).

And it’s the fault of those who actively seek out those photos, who link to them on blogs or upvote them on Reddit or even run a simple Google search for them. You, too, are complicit in perpetuating the cycle of abuse, shame, and sexual violence that women are forced to fight against every day.

But Ben Popper notes that for millennials, there’s nothing unusual about having this sort of content on one’s phone to begin with:

According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of teens reported sending or receiving a sexually explicit text, or sext, a jump of nearly double the 26 percent who reported doing so in 2012. The number of users among all age groups who say they have received a nude photo is now one in five, compared to 15 percent two years ago. A separate study from Purdue University found that among 21 year olds, 80 percent had sent or received a sext and 46 percent had sent a nude selfie. A report from the security firm McAffe found half of adults surveyed had used their mobile device to send and receive “intimate content” and half of those kept the images and texts stored on their phones.

And keep in mind that the number of people who could be photoshopped into a compromising image is 100%.