Tag Archives: twitter

The price of fame? Violation and humiliation of a sexual nature

What price fame when personal privacy is violated? This is the question at the forefront of the collective imagination after images of Jennifer Lawrence posing naked were stolen from her phone and published online on image sharing forum 4chan. More than 100 celebrities are said to have been targeted, including Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Kate Upton, Kate Bosworth, as the hacker threatens to post more images for the world to see.

Why has this happened? As Audrey Hepburn once said, “if I blow my nose, it gets written all over the world.” The thirst for the details of celebrities’ innermost private lives is as insatiable as ever, but this is no longer limited to paparazzi stalking one’s every move. This is the digital age, and with it comes new ways for privacy to be breached and lives to be ruined.

These women have been targeted because they are famous, because they have worked hard and their success has thrust them into the public eye. Does this mean they are asking for it? That the public has a claim on the intimate details of their lives? No it does not. This encroachment of one’s human right to privacy is a violation. These were images taken by consenting adults who trusted one another, and in the case of actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead, by a husband and wife: “To those of you looking at photos I took with my husband years ago in the privacy of our home, hope you feel great about yourselves.”

The ways in which we choose to share our bodies is exactly that: OUR CHOICE. That these private moments have been turned public for entertainment is extremely disquieting and paints a bleak picture of humanity.

Today, Ricky Gervais tweetedMAIN-Ricky-Gervais-and-Jennifer-Lawrence a warning against storing nude images of yourselves. This victim-blaming thread of discussion has reared its ugly head several times today, and it strikes me as utterly hypocritical. In a world where Snapchat and smartphones exist, sexting has gone from prevalent to de rigeur. Are celebrities now expected to abstain from such pastimes for fear of being hacked?

This “don’t take naked pics” argument is no longer a valid statement in this day and age, and as Lena Dunham brilliantly points out, it is on a par with the ‘she was wearing a short skirt’ rape justification. There is no justification.

What is deeply worrying is that this is just one of many incidents which set about to humiliate women for being sexual. Revenge porn is now a very real and worrying threat for anyone who chooses to share their body in this way. Young women have committed suicide after being victims of revenge porn, but how much more must we endure before something is done to protect people?

As Dawn O’Porter reminds us, this is precisely why we need feminism. It is our choice how we express ourselves sexually, we own the right to privacy, and by viewing these images we endorse criminal contraventions of these rights.

Why feminism needs to exist: Vanessa Feltz trolled for revealing sexual assault

Speaking out about a sexual assault is an incredibly courageous thing to do. After revealing on Sunday that she had been among Rolf Harris’ victims of sexual assault, Vanessa Feltz has been subjected to a diatribe of trolling on social media, and a barrage of comments about her appearance. 400,000 women are sexually assaulted each year, and with the hate campaigns meted out against victims via social media, is it any wonder women are reluctant to report abuse?

The trolls have tweeted images of human defecation at Ms Feltz, labelled her a ‘fat slag’ and suggested she is lying to prophet financially from Harris’ conviction. These comments are deeply shocking, and not only serve to remind of us just how much women are hated, but also underscore the necessity for feminism. As Germaine Greer once wrote, ‘women have very little idea of how much men hate them.’ Well, ladies, with the dawn of social media, now we have a very big idea of just how much hatred is out there. When I read these abhorrent comments, I can’t help but think that these individuals are justifying sexual violence against women.

Here are just a few of the heinous tweets…

Even more worrying is the mass misogyny, fat shaming and senseless victim blaming that is endemic on social media. So, is it just skinny women who are raped? I think not. These comments treat the concept of rape as if it were a matter of consensual sex, and the victim being ‘fanciable’.

Approximately 85,000 women are raped in England and Wales every year, with fewer than one rape victim in 30 seeing their attacker brought to justice. Faced with the prospect of being trolled, fat shamed and accused of lying, it is no surprise that victims of sexual violence will not want to prolong their ordeal and subject themselves to further abuse after their harrowing ordeals.

Victims should be applauded for their bravery when discussing sexual violence; it is not a publicity stunt or an attempt to seek financial gain. Talking about sexual violence brings the issue to the forefront of our collective mind and reinforces the need for justice.

If we silence victims through fear of trolling, are we ensuring that discussions about sexual violence will be avoided completely?

One thing is clear: feminism needs to exist.