August arrived and reminded us how much we missed 60 degree weather, college football and pumpkin spice lattes. On the way out, it also reminded us that misogyny is alive and well — thanks to some on the Internet — and is reaching alarmingly high levels.
A massive leak of nude female celebrity photos made their way around web communities, including Reddit and 4Chan, under the false pretense of freedom of speech. Reddit CEO Yishan Wong stood behind the decision to allow the photos to keep circulating on the site, referencing Reddit’s self-regulating culture — but then copyright complaints under until Digital Millennium Copyright Act came in and Reddit began banning users posted users who posted pictures. 4Chan, soon after followed suit with a new policy to have moderators delete content when contacted by the copyright-holder.
Saturday left us with another mass dumping of leaked photos, the victims of which included Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Hayden Panettiere and many more.
Although the idea of strangers spending copious amounts of time to hack and obtain a woman’s private photos and expose them on the Internet is terrifying, what’s more unsettling is the response and willingness of the general public to seek out those photos. We live in a delusional society that frequently partakes in shaming women for their expression of sexuality. We view this gruesome violation of privacy as the price paid for being in the public eye, too often placing blame on the victims.
These anonymous hackers aren’t seeking fame or fortune. They’ve readily exchanged exuberant amounts of their time for these private photographs because they’ve created a culture that champions the violation of women. Each time someone engages in the viewing or sharing of these photos, they’re feeding into that culture. You weren’t under the impression that there’s a lack of naked — and more importantly, consenting — women on the Internet who will happily provide content for your viewing pleasure, were you?
Fortunately, this frightening display of misogyny has prompted a much-needed conversation about male entitlement, a concept that holds zero regard for the well-being of females.
In an interview with The Daily Beast, actor Andrew Garfield had the right idea about the leaks.
“It’s disgusting. It’s this violent, abusive violation of womanhood — of divine womanhood,” he said. “It’s violent, and it’s misogynistic, and it’s revolting, and it’s another example of what this distance has enabled us to do — it’s enabled us to be disassociated from each other.”
If a woman is perceived as a sexual being, she is also seen as welcoming any violation that she encounters. By viewing and sharing these images, you are perpetuating these ideals, as well as providing an audience for such misogyny to continue.