THE BLOG

Why the Public Loves Leaked Photos

02/23/2015 03:38 pm ET | Updated Apr 22, 2015

Another week, another leak. Flux is the new norm, and surprise is the new expectation. The latest unveiling has been a double-dose of diva exposure back to back. Not only a Cindy Crawford unretouched magazine photo made it on the scene earlier this week, but just days later, a Beyonce unretouched L'oreal ad photo. Most people seem to think this is about standards of beauty or issues exclusively about women, but there is far more to it than that.

This phenomenon is part of a much larger trend. To assume that the leaks and the reaction to them is solely about beauty is like selecting the first slightly dented can on the shelf of your local grocer rather than reaching a bit farther to the back to get a more perfect one. In other words, easy and obvious. No, this is about something that plays into a much larger trend. While the convo around beauty and "authentic self" is a part of the cultural mindset, the real issue is a desire for transparency in all areas. This is a deepening cultural value that is growing in impact. This is about revealing the hidden, often times trying to embarrass those in enviable positions and trying to poke at them, bring them down, and making them and/or making a particular system more transparent. It's about a democratization-of-sorts, or bottom-up stance somehow showing that the public is stating that the jig is up in terms of having unattainably perfected images, power, lifestyles, rules constantly promoted it. From celebrities to corporations, we continually see more disclosures of secrets (think: Sony Motion Pictures emails exposing racist thoughts), to hacking (think: Anonymous and crippling bank sites at which it is angered) and, yes, for better or worse, unflattering and/or nude (and soon in compromising positions) photos of notable figures (think: Anthony Weiner).

What will this mean? Certainly, different standards of privacy and new cyber security methods will be created but also personal decryption methods and more will begin to be introduced. We'll all have to think a lot more about what images and info we have out there and where. In addition Matt Wallaert, Behavioral Scientist at Bing says, "People love secrets revealed; even for very young children, the surest way to make someone want something is to tell them they can't have it. Even better when it is a celebrity, because it seems unusual, exotic. But as cliched as it may sound, celebrities are people too -- despite our curiosity, these leaks cause real people real pain and it is important that we don't become a culture in which becoming famous means giving up your basic rights."

Watch for discussion to build around this unique intersection of rights, cultural change, and the introduction of additional emerging tech platforms. For sure, it will be a hot one!