Privacy In The Age of Information

The latest scandal to rock Hollywood hit the internet a couple of days ago. Dozens of female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence and quite a few others who I’m not going to bother naming because it shouldn’t matter, had their iCloud accounts hacked and nude photos of them stolen, then spread online. This has, as things do, shown a stark contrast in the way some people see the world, and especially how we treat and view women.

I only mention Jennifer Lawrence because her publicist has come out and said they are going to pursue legal action, which I absolutely agree with. I am not writing the other names down because it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to give the pictures any more attention than they already have, because the pictures aren’t the issue here. Privacy, and the way we view celebrity, is what is at issue.

When you choose to go into acting, or pursue a career as a musician, there is an understanding that, after a point, the public’s eye will be on you. We revere our actors and rock stars, our authors and even our more notable chefs. However, a career choice does not completely negate one’s right to privacy, and that is where the discrepancy here seems to be.

There are many people who are blaming the celebrities themselves, saying “Well, they should have known better than to take nude pictures! They’re celebrities, of course they are going to get out there!!” but why should pursuing and achieving a passion mean that you give up all rights to a normal life at home? These pictures were taken for husbands and boyfriends, people that would keep them private. They were a show of intimacy, and that intimacy is now on display on the internet.

There is another issue that raises out of this, one I have covered before, and that is an issue of gender. After all, these types of scandals rarely involve male celebrities, and this latest one is no exception. On the list of names, there is not a single man, only women. Of course it’s only women. Men get pictures of ‘conspicuous bulges’ that end up being microphone wires, women get their entire body put on display.

The nature of the internet, of course, means that these will forever be available and never go away. Actresses and actors choose whether or not they want to put their bodies on display for the world, and this time that choice was taken from them.

So, once again, I’m going to suggest something, but it is something simple: Don’t look at the pictures. Looking at them is a violation, and if you love these actresses, these performers, as much as I do, let their private stuff remain private, at least to you. That’s what makes a fan, and that’s the kind of fan I want to be. I am much more interested in having a conversation with Jennifer Lawrence than I am seeing a picture she never meant for my eyes.

Categories: Commentary