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Katrina Sands Headshot

What the Hacker Scandal Means for Society

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By now we've all heard about the recent celebrity hack that resulted in the release of nude photographs taken of numerous celebrity women, with the threat of more to come. I have to admit that when I first saw news of it, I frantically scoured a number of tabloid websites trying to get more information. It was shocking! It was like a car crash I couldn't look away from. So, I looked at the pictures; and now I regret it.

Let's start by stating the obvious: taking nude photographs is stupid. There is no such thing as total privacy anymore, and trust can only go so far. This applies to us all. If you're an average person, a nude photo sent to a monogamous partner can later end up as Revenge Porn; all it takes is one bad breakup. If you're a celebrity, I truly don't understand how, when hacking scandals are the norm, you could be so naïve. Perhaps this is what leads so many of us to look at photos when they're released. The mentality that if you were dumb enough to let the photos be taken, you shouldn't complain when they're made public. The problem is that the blame is not, and never will be with the victims.

Whether the photos were deleted years ago or taken yesterday, whether they were sent to someone or kept for themselves, whether some are fake or not, is completely and utterly irrelevant. The only fact that matters is that the seemingly constant hacks and leaks are indicative of a larger problem in society, where women consistently fall victim to the duality and hypocrisy of society.

Dress femininely, but not too much or else you're inviting harassment or assault. Don't act like a boss because you'll only be called a bitch, but don't rely on your partner either because then you're a gold digger. If you don't have sex you're a prude, and if you do you're a slut. Don't take nude photos, but if you have them we want to see them. You will be shamed for your sexuality while we simultaneously exploit it for some sort of profit or pleasure.

Computer science, and by extension hacking, is a male dominated field, which means that most of the time it comes down to a man forcing control over someone's body and deciding who has access to it. This control is held almost exclusively over women. We don't often see male celebrities having pictures leaked, and there were no men on the extensive threat list for this particular hack. Let's be real, we can all think of some male celebrities that almost definitely have some "dick pics" stored away, so why is no one trying to exact ownership of their bodies? Why is it that seeing photos we know were maliciously stolen is more interesting and pleasurable than photos of women who have given their consent to appear in pornography, and who gain their own power and profit from it?

Why do we normalize forced and involuntary pornography of women? Why do we consistently participate in the exploitation of women, and why do we turn the ownership of the female body into a spectator sport? Involuntary pornography does not seem much different than virtual rape, and I am sad to have been a part of it.