What’s in YOUR smartphone?

Jennifer Lawrence

It has been more than four hours since Jennifer Lawrence’s nude pictures were leaked, and millions of of panicked men have started calling their doctors.

If I were an agent or publicist in the entertainment field, I’d be advising my clients (at least the physically attractive ones among them) to always keep a suite of alluring nude selfies stored in their phones in hopes that a savvy and ruthless hacker with zero regard for other people’s privacy will find them and leak them onto the Internet, thus setting off a juicy hacking scandal.

I might even collaborate with a skilled hacker to ensure precisely that outcome.

As long as the materials in question show the hacking victims from flattering angles such that their fans won’t be disappointed because the latter had imagined their idols to look much better naked than they actually do, what’s the downside to all that publicity so effortlessly reaped?

Given the well-known issue of celebrity hacking, unless a public figure either (a) wouldn’t mind or (b) actively desires their prurient portraits to be fraudulently abstracted and splashed all over the World Wide Web, why would she (or he) keep ’em stashed on their mobile devices in the first place?

Celebrities aside, half the Internet appears to be flooded with images of young people—females in particular—in various stages of undress and in all manner of sexual situations, from NC-17 to quintuple-x and beyond.

No doubt, many of these materials came about under unwholesome circumstances, perhaps as a result of intoxication or coercion, or in exchange for financial remuneration.

But surely not all of them by far.

Although many of these models may regret it a few years down the road (when they’ve embarked on a career, other than movie or rock star, that might not exactly flourish in the wake of a sudden resurfacing of salacious visuals from the past), I dare conjecture that millions of young women have their nude pictures taken, or take them themselves, because they want to be seen that way by as many people as possible.

One of the main themes in Shakespeare’s sonnets (that were, incidentally, addressed to a man) is the fleeting transience of youth and beauty. In those days, the easiest and most effective way to preserve these attributes and guard against the ravages of time, with the possible exception of subjecting oneself the laborious (and for most people probably prohibitively expensive) slog of posing for an oil painting, was by way of replicating oneself through procreation.

When you had grown older, so the thesis went, your child would be a youthful copy of yourself, as it were. That way you could stay young vicariously via your offspring.

Today, the easiest way to preserve your lusty youthfulness is to take digital pictures of ourselves, which will remain unchanged forever in all the vernal sexiness they project. And why stop at the neck? What about all those areas commonly concealed by clothing? Why should those aspects of yourself be excluded from preservation for the ages?

If Facebook has shown us one thing (as if we hadn’t known it before), it is our insatiable desire to share what we like.

Ergo, if we have some hot-looking nudes of ourselves that meet our personal approval (all the others we’d have quickly deleted anyway), chances are we want them to circulate beyond ourselves and a handful of trusty confidantes.

By the same token, we may be reluctant to publish them on our own initiative, fearing that doing so might tar us with the label of exhibitionism or nymphomania or attention strumpetry or some such condition that some might regard as pathological in nature.

In which case the best thing would be if these images (or clips) were stolen and published behind our backs, would it not?

Long story short, I question the notion of a “victim” that had the nude selfies or elsies on her (or his) smartphone filched and distributed by a nefarious third party against her (or his) will.

Not always, but more often than not, I would conjecture, the invasion of privacy that leads to their publication is (secretly) desired by the subject.

  • Richard

    You argue from the particular, or your own view of the particular, to the general.

    There is no reason to hide the beauty of the human form, nor anything about it’s unadulterated state which should cause shame. But is there to be no privacy? Is the sight of an individual’s body to be common property as soon as the possessor records a digital image of it in the mistaken belief that it is private?

    • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

      Privacy is fine, and I oppose its invasion as much as anyone.

      However, I maintain that there exists a strain of exhibitionism among a sub-segment (majority? minority? hard to say) of nude-selfies takers that causes them to (consciously or subconsciously) want these images to be viewable to the general public, but they are reluctant to publish these materials themselves for fear that doing so would reflect negatively upon their character in the eyes of others.

      Therefore, having these materials stolen and published behind their backs kills two birds: the images are out, and as a bonus the subjects garner all the sympathies commonly bestowed upon victims of wrongdoing.