To Look or Not to Look? A Female’s Perspective on ‘The Fappening’
For the second time in the last month, a hacker released a wave of private nude celeb photos and videos which they stole through a loophole in Apple’s shitty Cloud product. Titled “The Fappening” after the British slang word for masturbation, victims include: Jennifer Lawrence (again), Kim Kardashian (like we all hadn’t seen her boobs during the Ray-J sex tape scandal), Hope Solo (yikes), Aubrey Plaza and more.
Yes, I looked at some of the pictures. I looked at more than some of the pictures. I looked at enough of the pictures to make me feel bad about my own body, and a bit left out that I would never be famous enough or hot enough to be on a leaked nudes site.
But the distinct difference between me gawking at a naked J. Law and some random sweaty dude in his mom’s basement is that my reaction was that of complete admiration, followed by “you seen one tit you seen ’em all,” followed by boredom, followed by me closing my laptop and playing Candy Crush. It’s “Wow! What an amazing body that girl has. She’s so beautiful!” versus “*fap fap fap* I’ll be upstairs for dinner soon, mom! *fap fap fap*” Of course that doesn’t make it OK, but it does change the story a bit.
What I can’t get past is how creepy it is that there are not only naked pictures, but pictures of these girls in bed with their boyfriends taking cute couple-y bed selfies. Or pictures of them on the toilet, clearly taken as a joke and likely sent to their girlfriends. There was a picture of Kate Upton sleeping, mouth hanging open. I mean yeah she still looked gorgeous, but it’s like, what the fuck? Who is deriving pleasure from looking at these? Did we think that celebrities didn’t pee or poop or sleep like the rest of us?
I also love the feigned caring reaction that the media is putting out. I respect the fact that after the first round of leaks, major news outlets including 4chan and reddit–who on the internet creepy scale generally rank fairly high–took them down and many refused to post them. But it’s all just a game for clicks. Take, for example, this very concerned article by HollywoodLife.com:
“This is so awful. It’s facetiously called ‘The Fappening’ or ‘Celebgate,’ but really, these terms refer to the spate of crimes that occurred when an anonymous hacker leaked hundreds of photos of nude celebrities to the internet at large without their consent.”
In that two-sentence paragraph there are two hyperlinks bringing users to other articles written about the ordeal. ‘Cause you’ve got to get that SEO link juice, right? But as long as we say how awful it is, we’re exempt of feeling any guilt about reporting it. And lest we forget the empathetic tone taken when funny girl Aubrey Plaza’s footage leaked:
So just in case you hadn’t seen the “alleged masturbating video,” we’re going to tell you all about it. She’s in it, she’s masturbating. Allegedly. This is Pulitzer Price-winning journalism if you ask me.
What if media outlets just didn’t publish any stories at all, TV didn’t put anything on the news, and instead we all just agreed to stop using the Cloud because everybody knew it was sketchy from the beginning and who even understands how the fuck it works anyway?
Now for the sake of equality, let’s turn the tables and examine what the reaction would be if this happened to a bunch of male celebrities. I imagine a roundtable debate on The View about which leading man has a bigger shlong, which would turn into a heated argument between Rosie O’ Donnell and Nicole Wallace before Rosie is like, “Ya’ know, I don’t even like dick anyway.” Kathie Lee and Hoda would have a field day on the fourth hour of the Today show, and you might even expect a joke or two during Jimmy Fallon’s opening monologue at 11:35p.m. Sure, after every joke there’d be a somber moment: “but for real guys, this is a privacy issue and it’s not cool,” but the reaction wouldn’t be nearly as serious as it is in the wake of the current leak.
This might be because in our society, in most societies, women are by default weaker than men, and are just helpless little lambs waiting to be victimized and masturbated over. Or it’s because penises are inherently funny, and a naked male body–no matter how chiseled–always kind of looks like a Ken doll with Alf’s nose attached at the end. But, that’s a topic best saved for another time.