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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nude celebs - what's the big deal?

If you have genitals, you probably know that there was a huge privacy breach that exposed videos and photos from over one hundred celebrities. (All women I think - just goes to show that there is a need for more female hackers.)

For those curious, these are some of the celebrities affected: Jennifer Lawrence, Michelle Keegan, Kirsten Dunst, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice, Kate Upton, Hope Solo, Krysten Ritter, Yvonne Strahovski, Teresa Palmer, Avril Lavigne, Kim Kardashian, and Rihanna.

A few of these famous people have denied these photos of being theirs, some outright say that those are photos of them, and others like Jennifer Lawrence's representative say, "The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence," which is a more professional way of saying, "Yes, those are her titties."

When reading articles and comments on social media regarding this, I was displeased to discover a myriad of comments like these:

1) "Most importantly...where can I find these?"

2) "These celebrities deserve it. Why are they complaining anyways? It's like a celeb rite of passage. They always have their fame and money to cheer themselves up."

3) "There is one simple answer to all of this: DON'T TAKE NUDE PICTURES OF YOURSELF!! God, people are so stupid."

The problem I have with the first comment is that it is called a "privacy breach" for a reason - it is violating people's privacy. Sure, I am curious how some of these celebrities look in the nude (especially with the lack of professional lighting, Photoshop, etc.), but I try not to encourage the exploitation of these individuals, especially since these photos and videos were posted without their consent.

I felt bad enough sharing this on my personal Facebook - Libertarian Troll
Somehow, a lot of people think that celebrities literally have it all. "Is  John Travolta depressed? He's famous and has a lot of money - he can just buy the new "Be Happy Forever" medication that only rich people can afford! Wait...no such thing? He still has a lot of money...and he's famous. A lot of people like famous people. Also, didn't you know that money can buy happiness?" If these celebrities wanted the public to see these naked photos, they would have found a way to make it happen - staged it in a way that actually makes the individual stand out. "Hope Solo has private photos released at the same time as over a hundred other female celebs? Who cares - I'd rather ogle over an Oscar winner!" (Okay, I admit, I had to look her up to see who she was and make sure she wasn't an Oscar winner to make the joke work.)

I hope that not everybody forgot that celebrities are human beings too.

So the third example is probably the most-said and is definitely the one that pisses me off the most. I seriously would not be surprised if over half of my Facebook friends have nude photos of themselves. It is when nude or partially-nude pictures of celebrities emerge that I notice slut-shaming at its worst. First off, these people have the rights to take pictures/videos of themselves and send them to those who want them. Secondly, why does the United States have to be so prudish?? Good luck to the mother who wants to breastfeed her hungry child in public without anybody flipping shit. If you want to feel sexy, go for it (hopefully you don't rely on the opinions of others to feel confident though). If you think believe nudity is natural, you may just be right.

Jennette McCurdy on Reddit
As for "knowing better" because these may come back to haunt you some day...Why should the public even care? Last time I checked, my GPA does not rely on how sexually-attractive or "immoral" I am. (I mean sure, there may be some subconscious influence, and I would be lying if I said it would be terrible if my GPA did rely on my attractiveness - though it is subjective.) Why should a man not be hired by a company because sexy pictures he took of himself for his wife five years ago were found?

Penis ≠ Incompetence

Vulva ≠  Incompetence

Breasts  Incompetence

Butt ≠ Incompetence

We all have at least one of these body parts (butts). "Oh my god, I have seen his bare tush - we can't hire him!"

Even if a person does regret taking photos of him/herself and is afraid of a possible leak, it does not mean that the person deserves to feel that way. This is just speculation, but I think it is very likely that the main reason someone is afraid of having risque photos uncovered is because of the fear of being shamed. Why shame someone for something they did in private, which does not hurt anyone?

The Onion made a very good point that every potential 2040 US presidential candidate is unelectable due to social media.

What do y'all think about government action on behalf of victims?

Scarlett Johansson's hacker was sentenced to ten years in prison. Is this a worthy punishment? Is there a better way of dealing with this individuals? (I am not talking about victory parades.)

Rumor has it that these photos and videos from this ordeal were obtained via Apple's iCloud. I will not bash people for having this kind of content on the cloud or their phones, but just be aware of how easily it can be accessed by those with bad intentions. (If we cannot trust Apple with our nude photos, how can we trust them with our wallets?)

There are jokes (or maybe they're not supposed to be...) that someone from the NSA leaked them. Whether or not that is true, it is scary to think how they can look at your personal stuff. However, as a friend once told me, "I don't care if the NSA sees me naked. The poor people who work there are always being antagonized by the public. If the sight of my genitalia makes them even a little bit more happy, so be it."

I am glad that I am not the only person pointing out the ridiculousness of this "scandal," Forbes has this great piece on it, so does Clickhole, Daily Life, and The Huffington Post.

The point of this all is that nudity is nudity. I am a firm believer that our obsession with over-sexualizing and shaming the naked body needs to stahp. Judge me all you want, but I am not ashamed of the God-given beauty that is my body.

Taking one for the team
You have my consent to look at this and even enjoy it. However, you do not have my consent to use it in a way that will reflect badly upon me or make me feel bad about myself. Why am I doing this? Some people may think it is for attention. To be honest, if utilized correctly, I could make this a very popular post. The real reason I am doing this though is because I would feel a bit hypocritical for writing about nudity not being a big deal, then keeping myself hidden. It sure is one thing to talk to talk, but another to walk the walk.

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  1. Oh noes! Not nudity! The great American bane!

    Yeah, a lot of this comes down to a mixture of patriarchy, lack of education, and general immaturity.

    We've had a brief chat on patriarchy and nudity in film, but yeah, you noted that these were all women's nudes. Well, male nudes DO leak, too, but they're not nearly as requested or as prevalent, especially since the male nudes I've heard of are, for example, band members who are only really famous to a niche circle.

    Likewise, again, gender roles state that women "just aren't" sexual, and thus would never have any purposeful desire to, say, see Christian Bale's cock. Furthermore, of the female hackers out there, how many are out to expose Chris Hemsworth?

    Finally, as we all know, the female body is an erogenous display, whereas the male body is just whatever. Male nipples? Totally unimportant. Male buttocks? Who cares? Penis? Only really becomes a matter when erect.

    Lack of education is just distressing. Many developed nations expose kids (of varying ages) to pictures - whether anatomical models or deliberate sexual organ photos - and explain how babies are actually made, what sex is, and so on. Because of the openness, there's a general lack of care.

    I mean, sure, if you were to stroll down Germany nude (admittedly, I don't know German's nudity laws), yeah some people would stare, others might film or take pics, but, for the most part, nobody's going to harangue you for being a "whore" or "damaging children."

    As for the final part, well, you've already a living experiment. You obviously maintain the maturity that your body is just that - a body - and that you acknowledge there will be those who shrug, and those who do a bit more with their arms.

    It's actually one of the reasons my own public nudity is dependent on situations. Like, I'd have no problem posting a nude here (I just don't have any recent ones and I'm too lazy to strip), nor would I have a problem, say, playing strip poker. However, the reason why I'd have reservations is because I know not everyone there is as mature or understanding.

    While I guess as long as you're not getting groped it shouldn't matter, what if, for example, you become a famous public speaker, and trolls show up at your rally passing this photo around?

    Obviously, I'm not at all condemning your choice - I'm simply illustrating that Americans, in particular, are almost like youths when it comes to sexuality. When I was 14, quite a few boys I knew would, indeed, pass around nudes like it was breaking news or something, gossiping about every detail of a woman's body. Of course, given our education system, this isn't really surprising.

    But that youthfulness never really goes away. It's why a celeb's first nude movie does relatively well (assuming that celeb was in high demand for a nude scene).

    So yeah, hopefully you don't one day become uber famous and then your blog views skyrocket and this picture finds a way of resurfacing in a negative way.

    As somebody who has shared quite a few dick pics in his time, and does have at least some ambition for fame, I entirely agree with your stances.

    And on a final note, I mostly feel bad for people who have body issues. I don't know if you do (not that you'd need them, clearly), but I just wonder, for example, if you were heavier, or perhaps had acne or what have you, would you still be as confident? I mean, I can bet from your conviction you would be. I just do feel bad, because I was, many moons ago, overweight, and so if I were to read this blog back then, I'm sure I'd find myself saying "Well, you're cool with it because you're actually good looking." That's another thing I don't feel gets enough attention: the fact that people can be beautiful regardless of appearance or body type :)

  2. My personal take on the whole, for lack of a better term at this point, fiasco, is pretty simple.

    The person or persons responsible for plastering these photos across the 'net are very much in the wrong for doing so.

    The persons in the picture/who took the picture are not at fault for taking or allowing to be taken, said pictures. Its your body, your life, your choice, male or female, celebrity or not.

    However, the people so victimized DO share part of the responsibility for thier own breach.
    NOT for having the data to begin with... but for not making it secure.

    I have erotica, and i also have some images sent to me by 'friends'.

    Guess which one i keep on my computer?

    if it really matters to keep something private, as those pictures do to me I don't keep them on my hard drive, and i most definitely don't keep them in an offsite 'cloud' storage.

    Anything that is connected to the internet can be breached. No exceptions.

    the only thing these celebs are to blame for it not being as security-conscious as they should have been. Which is not such a big deal since most people aren't either. they're human.

    But blame them for being comfortable enough with someone to take/send such photos, particularly in a high-profile life such as they lead?
    fuck looking down on them for it. I'm just glad they have people like that in their lives.

  3. "...You acknowledge there will be those who shrug, and those who do a bit more with their arms." haha

    If this nude (or any others) resurfaces if I ever become famous, I will own that shit. I'd probably refer everybody to this post.

    For your final note, that is definitely interesting to think about. One thing I decided to do was not edit it any way (I had mainly been thinking about making it more "artsy" - black-and-white, etc.). While I am pretty confident about about my body, I definitely am a bit self-conscious about a few things. I remember one of my sisters was watching an episode of "America's Next Top model" or something and the girls were sent to a personal trainer who worked with Victoria's Secret models. He asked them what they thought needed to work on with their bodies. Some of them were confident and thought they were in good shape. However, this man nitpicked every detail of what was "bad" about their bodies. That got me thinking of how a celebrity personal trainer or Photoshop expert would view me, and it's really sad to think about. People will compliment when I lose weight, whether or not it was deliberate (whether it was from working out and eating well or abiding by the "Poor College Kid" Diet), and it makes me feel terrible. Girls seem to be more condescending towards how I and others look. Some girls may call my hair "greasy" at times, but one of the most common compliments I get from men is about my "shiny" (and "dark" and "curly") hair. If it weren't for people shaming me for how I look, I would probably be 95-100% confident with how I am. Actually, I would say that I am 95% confident with that now I have grown up. However, especially in my teenage years, the number was waaaay lower.

    I feel like if I had something "wrong" with my body (acne, etc.), that the picture would have resonated with viewers better. I put "Some people may think it is for attention" because that's how I feel a few (or more) will interpret it. While you may hear that attractive people have it easier, I don't always think so. (This is based on talking with people, and most seem to think I am attractive.) Sure, it's great if I want someone to buy me a drink at a bar, but sometimes if I am at a conference, meeting, etc. with guy friends, it really seems like others attending view me as the "trophy girlfriend." Not many people seem to contemplate the possibility of me being smart until they have a good, long discussion with me. A lot of the times, it seems like people antagonize me, and it *could* be because I am attractive (they don't know me, so why are they judging me so harshly?). Not only that, but because I am attractive, viewers might view my photo in a more sexual manner than of a less-attractive person, taking away the point of this post...which is also one reason why I refrained from doing a frontal nude.

    We just need to stop shaming people's bodies and over-sexualizing the "attractive" ones.

  4. "but because I am attractive, viewers might view my photo in a more sexual manner than of a less-attractive person, taking away the point of this post...which is also one reason why I refrained from doing a frontal nude."

    Well, you already know full and well that being attractive + nude photo = sexual lens regardless of which side :P, but yes I understand.

    I definitely get what you mean about the prejudice you experience in regard to many people expecting you to be stupid since the typical dichotomy is that attractive people tend to be dumb and unattractive people tend to have to find ways to make up for their lack of surface attractiveness. It kind of reminds me of how, in many Asian countries, pretty girls are actually also bullied. Obviously unattractive people aren't safe, but I've read numerous accounts of teenage girls considered attractive or popular who get attacked or bullied for being such. Not that that's okay, but I find it intriguing since, idk about you, but I certainly haven't heard of that happening in America (although I've definitely heard anecdotes about the jealousy/cattiness that can come between, say, attractive female and another attractive female).

    Glad you're so willing to own up to everything. Not just the nudity, although on that note, gotta love the vehement denial in many celebrities, even with the signs are crystal clear. I wanna say Ariana Grande had said something to the effect of "my ass is MUCH cuter than that", when she could've just said "ain't it adorable?!" Besides, pictures never really tell the full story. Kind of reminds me of how guys will take dick pics at varying angles to give the illusion that they're bigger or wider than they actually are. Oh, what photography skills are used for :|

    But yeah, overall, it's important to be able to own up to the things you've done. Dignity is an indispensable quality.

    Totally just got reminded of something. Did you by any chance hear about the 18 year-old porn star who was basically stalked and harassed on campus for using porn as a way to pay off college debt?

    She really is something of an idol. She's in total control of and comfortable with her sexuality. She's a women's studies major (huzzah). She actually appreciates her collegiate journey and understands that ever-growing problem of college debt. Above all, though, she never gave in to any of the shit that people tried thrusting upon her - which really exposed how we view girls, young girls (because age is a factor, in many ways), porn, etc.

    Finally, speaking of editing and artsyness, I've always said that if I was caught up in some nude leak scandal, or if I were to simply have some "nude debut", I'd make sure it's both as graphic and as artful as possible. Not saying sex tape, but like, not just some meager fanservice.

    I kind of like, for example, the movie Love and Other Drugs, because you see so much Anne Hathaway tit and Jack Gyllenhaal ass that, really, you stop caring after a while, because you are so used to it.

    In it's own weird way, that could always be a good way to protest against American nudity fear.

    "Don't like nudity? Here, LOOK AT ALL OF THESE NAKED PEOPLE! Want my nudes? LOOK AT ALL OF THEM, FROM EVERY ANGLE, complete with M.C. Escher distortions and trippiness ;3"

  5. While I agree for the most part, people shouldn't have to live in fear of hackers. Yes, they do exist, but, again, you shouldn't just lead your entire life fearing what might happen, even if you are a celebrity.

    There is a difference between, say, my risk of being hacked versus Jennifer Lawrence's. She's sought after, nobody knows me.

    But the general point remains: cyber crime and security isn't the wave of the future; it's already here, and while I realize how difficult it is to monitor, we need to start looking into it more heavily.

    In any case, I really hope this is a teaching lesson. In all honesty, I stopped sending nude pics after the Anthony Weiner scandal. Not afraid of nudity, and very few of my nudes have my face. It is, as I mention below, just a general acknowledgement that not everybody is as mature as me, and, yeah, sometimes my sending of a nude to somebody doesn't mean I really wanted it shared with everybody.

  6. Haha, Belle Knox! (Real name Miriam Weeks) She is a Young Voices Advocate - after news broke out about her, the libertarian community reached out to her, and now she is quite involved with what we do. This is actually the second time this week someone I've been talking with has brought her up.


    It's interesting what you were mentioning about angles and such to make dicks look better...not that it really comes as a surprise, but I don't have a dick, so I wouldn't know. :P

    There is this show called "Girls" that supposedly depicts nudity in a realistic way. A few of my friends love it, and I've been meaning to watch it.

    I'm glad to know that I'm not the only attractive person who has it pretty badly sometimes. All I hear is "Pretty people always get what they want," and I just want to smack them.

  7. It's truly unfortunate that both gender equality and sexual expression/acceptance have to become political issues. But, of course, anything can become political so that people's opinions can stretch far beyond the originally-intentional privacy that beliefs are supposed to have -_-.

    Yeah, it's pretty silly, but then again I can't stand when women stuff their bras or wear SUPER padded ones that very clearly make their chest look larger. I could care less about breast size, but it truly is a let down to discover you were only chesty with your bra on :|...

    I've heard amazing things about Girls; I, too, need to check it out. But yeah, I think one of the main draws to Girls is that the females (well, the lead, at least) is, well, normal. She's like a size 14 or so, not at all the typically "beautiful" female, and my understanding is that her sexual habits are realistic (in that the show isn't just another venue for exploiting the female body).

    Well, you mingle with crowds that aren't really common for "attractive people." The unfortunate reality is that it starts young - when young people know they are better looker than the norm, it often does build a superiority complex, that you now get to be with the "in" crowd and, thus, you join a culture of people where what's on the surface matters most.

    Obviously, being into things like politics, drug reform, and so on, aren't exactly things you expect to see A+ visages.

    Truly, though, I think it's only a matter of time before unconventional beauty really starts getting its due. For example, Benedict Cumberbatch. Bluntly speaking, I find him wholly unattractive, physically. His face just...no. But I mean, ladies are all about him. I haven't seen Sherlock, so my knowledge of his acting capabilities are minimal, but, really, if he's getting tail, good for him, because I'd definitely put him next to Rupert Grint :O

  8. These celebrities are pushed in out face all day every day. Can't watch something on tv without one of them flaunting around in the underwear promoting a perfume during the ads, can't walk down the street without seeing the big stars doing the same thing. They can't expect to be provocative in the eyes of millions of people, and for people not to want to see them naked.. if I hadn't of seen some celebs being extremely sexy on camera, like katy perry for example, i wouldn't be thinking about whats underneath.. you know what I mean?

  9. One thing I feel compelled to mention is that Apple was 100% responsible for what happened. In short, they had no maximum number of password attempts in place for downloading full iPhone backups from iCloud. Password lockouts are the most basic form of security, since any password can be cracked by a computer using brute force (trying every possibility) given enough time. There was mainstream commercially available software that would allow "hackers" to download a complete backup of a person's iPhone knowing (or guessing) only their email address. This would give anyone with the software - you don't need to know anything about hacking to use it - access to photos, text messages, notes, basically everything stored on the victim's iPhone. There is documented proof that Apple was informed of this vulnerability more than a year before the incident, and they took no action to fix the vulnerability. Realistically, any other company would be ruined if they made the same mistake, even without proof that they were informed and took no action. They were lacking the most basic of security measures while claiming that their products "just work," i.e. leading people to believe that security was taken care of.

    After the incident, Tim Cook came out and denied responsibility, blaming the victims for not using good enough passwords or falling for phishing schemes. Any password can be cracked given enough tries, so that's bullshit, and Apple never informed the user in any way when a backup was downloaded, so they couldn't find out their account was compromised until their data was publicly leaked. Apple's legalese explanation was "Our systems weren't compromised, just select accounts." In their book, it doesn't count unless the whole system is hacked. The truth is that hacking is guerilla warfare - hackers target weak points not strong points. There would be no reason to attack the entire system, since it was so easy to hack individual accounts and they were only interested in data from those accounts anyway. Basically, Apple's defense is yea we got robbed, but it doesn't count because they went through the side door and not the front gate.

    What's truly disturbing to me is that all of this info was publicly available, yet tons of regular people were still defending Apple. I read many times "well there you go, Apple said it wasn't their fault." This was a week before the iPhone 6 release, so it's not like they had any reason to be dishonest (rolleyes). Anyway, the reason I brought this up is that the female celebrities tried to sue not Apple, but ridiculously Google. Google had no involvement in the leak, but they claimed that it didn't take their photos down fast enough and they made advertising revenue off of them. Google operates almost entirely autonomously, so to actively take this stuff down the second it was posted, they'd have to put together a team of people. The lawsuit was basically suing Google for not immediately cleaning up a mess created by Apple and the celebrities themselves on Google's dime. The only explanation for this behavior is that Apple is the "cool" company, so as far as they are concerned Apple can do no wrong. Either that, or saying something bad about the cool kid could hurt their own social status. However, they weren't going to accept personal responsibility either, so they blamed someone else with deep pockets who isn't as well liked. I don't think the celebrities were at fault, but if any party other than Apple and the hackers is responsible, it's them. Their decision to sue Google shows me that they don't care about real justice, so while they are victims, their actions make it harder to sympathize with them.

    I do agree with pretty much everything you said in the article though.