…Celebs got hacked

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - REPORTAGE - By ZANELE KU­MALO, con­tent ed­i­tor / The Pub­lish­ing Part­ner­ship

MY FIN­GER HOV­ERED over my mouse for a few min­utes while I de­cided whether or not to click on a link that would take me into a celebrity’s pri­vate sex mo­ment. They hadn’t cho­sen to share this with me and the rest of the world. I wasn’t en­ti­tled to take a look – and nei­ther was the hacker who Noth­ing we haven’t seen be­fore, right? It’s the kind of scan­dal that made Paris Hil­ton and Kim Kar­dashian West house­hold names. Dif­fer­ence is, de­pend­ing on who you be­lieve, Paris and Kim had been com­plicit in the dis­tri­bu­tion of their sex tapes.

Jen­nifer Lawrence, Wi­nona Ry­der, Keke Palmer, Kate Up­ton and oth­ers tar­geted by what’s been dubbed ‘The Fap­pen­ing’ (fap is slang for mas­tur­ba­tion) did not give their con­sent. Con­sent is what sep­a­rates sex from rape. There seems to be a mis­guided sense that celebri­ties have no pri­vacy and the re­ac­tions to the photo leak have been alarm­ing. Cer­tain sen­ti­ments echoed that of El­liot Rodgers, the Santa Bar­bara shooter who whined about a lack of at­ten­tion from at­trac­tive women be­fore go­ing on a killing spree. With the pa­tri­ar­chal idea still preva­lent that beau­ti­ful women ex­ist solely for the en­joy­ment of men, many felt en­ti­tled to ac­cess th­ese photographs. Cue the vic­tim blam­ing, lead­ing to Lena Dun­ham point­ing out that say­ing you shouldn’t take naked pho­tos if you don’t want them hacked, is as vulgar and in­cor­rect as say­ing that wear­ing a mini-skirt in­vites rape.

I don’t agree with Jen­nifer Lawrence’s re­sponse in Van­ity Fair that a sex crime has taken place; in nei­ther the hack­ing nor view­ing of th­ese nude images (ex­cept, of course, the images fea­tur­ing un­der­age girls). It’s as misplaced as Char­l­ize Theron equat­ing press in­tru­sion to rape. But this vi­o­la­tion of pri­vacy is misogyny at its most vi­ral and vile. What dis­turbs me the most, though, is the sheer ap­petite the world has for th­ese leaked images. It moves beyond look­ing at women’s naked bod­ies to get­ting off on images that seems that porn is no longer shock­ing enough.

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