Five days ago Calum Hood of pop band 5 Seconds of Summer took a video of his genitals and sent it to a random stranger, who then posted it on the internet, where it went viral.
Two days later someone hacked into the iCloud storage of more than 100 young female celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, stole a bunch of private nude photographs and posted them on the internet, where they went viral.
Both stories made it into mainstream media. Both were described as a “scandal”. But only one prompted a barrage of tut-tutting and finger wagging aimed at the celebrity.
Can you guess which?
Dear Jennifer Lawrence: a) don't take naked pictures of yourself, and b) if you do, DON'T PUT THEM IN THE CLOUD. Sincerely, common sense.
— Mark Story (@mstory123) September 1, 2014
Dear Jennifer Lawrence, You're an Academy Award Winner…invest in an encrypted private cloud service.
— Throbbin Hood (@TomDeGrazia) August 31, 2014
— Vicky Vette (@vickyvette) September 2, 2014
Surprised? You should be. Common sense would dictate that if anyone were to be reprimanded for letting their nude photos be splashed all over the internet, the person who Snapchatted them to a total stranger is clearly more at fault than the person who put them in a password protected, secure storage space.
That’s not how many people saw it.
Rapper, producer and Wu Tang Clan member RZA told TMZ that celebrities who didn’t want their nude photos leaked shouldn’t take them in the first place.
Comedian Ricky Gervais echoed the sentiment, tweeting (and then quickly deleting): “Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on the computer.”
New York Times columnist Nick Bilton tweeted:
Put together a list of tips for celebs after latest leaks: 1. Don't take nude selfies 2. Don't take nude selfies 3. Don't take nude selfies
— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) September 1, 2014
And the rest of the Twitter chorus joined him:
Rule #1 of Silver Linings Playbook: Don't take nude selfies!
— Beavis H. Presley (@snarkbox) September 2, 2014
When are people going to learn 1. Don't take nude selfies 2. Don't use a 3rd party storage service Regardless, STOP tweeting STOLEN pics
— Garret Meikle (@garretmeikle) September 1, 2014
Dear celebrities. ..if your going to take nude selfies don't store them on the cloud where they can be hacked. #CelebLeaks
— Rich Meyer (@richmeyer) September 1, 2014
Meanwhile, an enlightening peek into “the mind of a man” on American news site The Daily Caller informed women readers that not only are nude selfies a scandal waiting to happen, they’re a bad idea because men prefer to see naked women in the flesh, rather than “on a screen that’s only four inches big”. Thanks for the tip.
But while Jennifer Lawrence and the other hacked female celebrities (who are, let’s be real here, victims of crime) were being lectured on what they should and shouldn’t do with their bodies, and how and where they should store their private information, Calum Hood was pretty much being hailed a lad hero.
This is how I feel about that:
A reminder: If Calum Hood were a girl, there would not be 2 trending hashtags supporting him for a leaked nude picture.
— John J. Salomone (@DudeNdaEaseOnUp) August 29, 2014
Meanwhile, far from wagging their finger at him, most news media actually congratulated Hood on his “integrity” for eventually admitting he leaked the video.
So, just to clarify: a bloke who publicly broadcasts a video of his penis to a stranger is just unlucky when it makes the news, but women who keep private, naked photos of themselves in supposedly secure storage should know better.
It’s a hypocritical crock of crud, of course, emblematic not just of the inherent sexism of the web and media in general, but of the sort of blame women have been forced to wear forever, for all manner of things involving the control of their own bodies.
This tweet pretty much sums it up:
Don't take nude selfies. Don't wear skirts. Don't drink. Don't go back to his room. This stupid fucking list gets longer every year.
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) September 1, 2014