Treatment of leaked nudes shows gender bias

Emma Pederson, Staff Writer

“It’s not nearly as dehumanizing when a man’s nudes are leaked,” said junior Betty Mfalingundu, leader of South High’s Gender Equity Collective. She was commenting on the topic of the hacking and leaking of various celebrities’ nudes earlier this month. “No one mentioned anything about him [Dylan Sprouse] being a slut or a whore for taking [his] pictures, in fact they didn’t even question why they existed in the first place,” she continued.

Over labor day weekend, celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Ariana Grande, Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, and several others had nude photos hacked from their personal phones and computers and released to several social media platforms. As time goes on, the list seems to be increasingly long… and composed of only women.

“We don’t really hear about men’s leaked photos. Most of the focus on women in pop culture is all really sexually oriented.” said junior Owen Casey. Because we hone in on women and what they’re doing with their own bodies, men’s nude photos don’t carry the same weight in society. Men’s sexuality is normalized, while women’s is inappropriate. “It’s kind of laughed at, kind of made a joke. Like, ‘haha’ everyone sees that guy’s d**k pics, you know, or it’s a politician and it’s a big scandal. But for female celebrities, including non actresses, it’s all just frowned upon and like, “How could they send a nude picture?!” junior Kendra Roedl, also a leader of the GEC explained.  Women are held to a ridiculous double standard revolving sex and sexuality. Men are free to express themselves however they please, while women are continually shamed and critiqued for when they do the same. We see women as sexual objects, and then shame them when they take their sexuality into their own hands.

Victim-blaming or the practice of shaming the victim of a crime is incredibly common in our society, and in the case of the leaked photos, we would rather shame these famous women than the hacker.  The hacker  or hackers supposedly obtained the nudes after hacking into the celebrities’ iCloud accounts. The hacker(s) still remain anonymous, but Apple and the FBI are both investigating the security breach.

The responses to these individuals’ personal photos was “if you don’t want your nudes leaked, don’t take them.” And as actress, director, and producer Lena Dunham ,tweeted,“The don’t take naked pics if you don’t want them online’ argument is the ‘she was wearing a short skirt’ of the web.”

We feel the need to shame these women and their personal forms of sexual expression, and this isn’t the only circumstance in which we do this. Women, myself included, have to change our behaviors, our attire, our beliefs to avoid criticism and harassment.  We are silenced and shamed for our forms of expression.  From basic things such as what we wear to the amount of makeup we choose to put on, women are targets for negative attention and criticism. “I think too many girls and women are called sluts for any type of action. I’ve been called that and so have many girls and women. Nobody should be called that, for anything. And that’s that, whether anybody was expressing any sexual activity or not.” said Roedl.

The responses we see from society when something like a nude leak comes around, sends the message that women’s sexuality is wrong and that comparatively, men’s sexuality is a normal practice. “For men, it’s them commending their masculinity to take a picture of their junk and send it to someone but for a woman to take a picture of herself and send it to someone, it’s a sin.” said Betty Mfalingundu.

We need to end the double standard between men and women’s sexuality, and stop shaming women. If we as a society continue to blame victims of sexual harassment and assault, including victims of nude photos, the crimes against women will only increase. It’s time to take a stand.