The recent release of stolen, private photos and video of a multitude of famous female celebrities has polarised the online world in a manner not seen before. Scanning through Social media there are two main camps, those who are disgusted by this massive breach of privacy, and those who are unashamedly eager to see some boob.
Reddit has had a new subreddit setup called “The Fappening”. In less than 48 hours it has reached a membership of over 130,000 people all clamouring for news about the leak and discussing where you can get the pictures, what websites to avoid, how the media is tracking the leak, and how law enforcement is attempting to catch people who are downloading the content. The sheer amount of effort is astounding.
I’ve been watching the subreddit for a few hours and the coordination amongst the members to disseminate the photos is impressive. Scary, but impressive. And since the very recent announcement that the leaked photos include photos of girls that were underage at the time the threads on the subreddit have also started to include methods on how to clean your computer to remove traces of any child pornography on them.
I am a strong advocate for freedom of speech, I don’t agree with what a lot of people say but I agree with their right to say it. But eventually a line has to be drawn where the Reddit site admins have to step in and say enough is enough, allowing a community of hundreds of thousands to disseminate stolen photos and also advise how to clean up the traces of child pornography is getting into a very dark grey area of freedom of speech.
The ways the Redditors try to justify their actions have an almost perverted honour code to them. The most recent one being encouraging all The Fappening users to donate to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. It was chosen as the charity to donate to because one of the recommended methods to avoid prostate cancer is regular ejaculation and thanks to the leak of nude photos, everyone on the subreddit is masturbating themselves to death. This has led to an awkward situation for the Charity being targeted as raising money is good, the method and means for raising it are not so good.
On the other side of the Social Media storm there has been some finger pointing as to who is to blame for this. Some point at the misogynistic social world that we live in where all men are sex-starved slaves to their continual desire to see boobs. Others are blaming Apple and their iCloud for low security standards that allowed the images to be released. Though Apple is now denying this saying that their systems are secure and that it was a targeted effort to guess the passwords. And then there are the people blaming the victims for having nude photos on their phones.
Out of those groups the Victim Blamers are getting trounced on, I know this because when I first heard about the leak my reaction was, “If you don’t want people to see you nude, don’t take nude photos and store them on a cloud service”. It is the same reaction I have to anyone who complains about their details being spread around the internet after posting them on the internet. But having read into the effort involved in the hack I’ve had my mind changed. My initial reaction was wrong. There is a vast difference between taking nude selfies and sending them to someone via a Cloud service and just having the Cloud backup of photos that you took on your phone hacked into.
For what it is worth, I feel like a douche for having jumped to the conclusion that it was the actors’ fault for having those images of themselves, for thinking that famous people should be more aware of the fact that they are targets for this kind of thing. They want to be normal people too and reactions like my initial reaction enforces the belief that they can’t be normal. We should be focusing on who is holding the sights that make famous people targets, why we are so eager to see every little facet of their lives that we are willing to blame them for “not being more careful” with their private photos.
How can we change a society where everyone has a right to privacy unless you are a famous person that everyone wants to see naked? Perhaps those “primitive” tribal people that walk around nude have the right idea? Everyone goes naked and then the demand for exclusive photos disappears? A bit extreme but we are getting to a point where we need extreme measures to combat the extreme expectations of an increasingly connected world.
In the grand scheme of things the fact that my eyes have been opened a little bit wider than they were before probably means nothing to the women who have had their private lives ripped into the public eye but I hope that there are other people that, like me, realise that a society that encourages the invasion of privacy and then blames the victims like this is not what we want to have. As I have been writing this post I have been flicking back and forth between the Reddit page to pull stats on the number of people and the news updates and I found this site which has covered the newly announced child pornography images included in the leak and I found these comments which seem to be scarily typical these days.
Unfortunately the way the laws are currently set up, it is likely that, if proven true, there is a chance that the girls who were underage at the time of the photos could be charged with the production of child pornography. That is one messed up law.
I can see this event, this “Fappening” have far reaching consequences for many facets of society.
Ultimately I think I have rambled over a couple of different topics here but the TL;DR of my post is, I reacted like a douche, had an epiphany, have realised that society is worse than even my cynical mind thought, and I hope for some sort of justice, no matter how hollow it will be for the victims. Also that I’ve matured more than I thought.
And before anyone asks, I have looked at the photos. I challenge anyone else to deny that they are curious about them. Unfortunately my epiphany occurred after seeing them and I had already partaken in the herd mentality of the perverted masses. I never pretended to be a saint but I do feel bad about having looked at them now.