Feminists today should be up in arms about the sexual abuse of children in Rotherham, England. Over 1,000 white girls were raped and abused and prostituted by gangs of Pakistani Muslims in England over a period of more than a decade.
They have not weighed in on this one, because it does not fit the narrative. Which narrative might that be? Why the one about white privilege and the oppression of people of color. By this narrative, the rage of the oppressed justifies their humiliation of white males? The best way to humiliate the white patriarchs is to violate their daughters with impunity.
As I say, nearly all feminists have been notably silent about this one.
Not so with the great hacking scandal. By now you know that an anonymous hacker got into the Apple iCloud servers and exposed private nude photos of female celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton.
Other celebrities were involved, but the nakedness of Jennifer Lawrence, everyone’s sweetheart and a great actress, coupled with semi-pornographic photos of Kate Upton, everyone’s favorite swimsuit model, with her boyfriend, Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander caught the greatest attention.
Funnily enough, no one is making too much of a fuss about the privacy of Justin Verlander and the close-ups of someone’s (Verlander's?) virile organ. In fact, Sarah Miller, an indomitable feminist does not understand why there are no photos of anyone’s penis. Apparently, Miller does not understand why there is no market for penis pictures.
It isn’t sexism; it’s reality. One suspects that feminists will never grasp the difference.
Ideology aside, I have it on good authority that the uploaded celebrities naked selfies do include photos of a penis. As it happens, no one much cares. Apparently, Miller did not even notice.
Of course, this scandal is grist for the feminist mill. Many young American women have taken naked pictures of themselves on their iPhones. Many American girls have done the same. Many of these same women and girls have passed these photos on to other people, most especially to men and boys. And some of those men and boys have shown the photos to their friends.
You would imagine that every mother in America has told her daughter to be very, very cautious about taking and sending naked selfies. Why incur an unnecessary risk? What can be gained by risking humiliation?
Is there anything wrong with a mother telling her daughter to err on the side of caution? Is there anything wrong with a mother telling her daughter not to drink too much and risk being violated or abused at a party?
Surely, the people who exposed the celebrity naked selfies are criminals. Surely, the people who abuse and assault drunken coeds are criminals. And the people who post revenge porn ought to be considered criminals. All deserve to be prosecuted.
But, why tell a girl or woman that she can and should do whatever she pleases, because the fault for her violation will entirely be the man’s? Isn’t the point of motherly advice to ensure, as much as possible that the abuse not happen?
If you allow a woman to believe that there is nothing she can do to protect herself against male predators, aren’t you disempowering her?
In the meantime, normal motherly advice is generally denounced by feminists, because, after all, they believe that the root of all evil lies with the male of the species. They believe that telling a woman to be more judicious with what she posts online or even what she wears is blaming the victim.
It isn’t, but try telling that to the feminist.
British comedian Ricky Gervais made the point and was so widely attacked that he took down the tweet. For those who missed it, Gervais said:
Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer.
Does this advice really blame the victims? In fact, it does not. It counsels caution. It offers the advice that any sensible mother gives to her daughter. And it is factually true that if you do not put nude pictures of yourself online you are at less risk of having your privacy compromised.
The fact that Gervais was denounced for having committed a thought crime means that, from the feminist perspective all evil resides with men and there is nothing a woman can or should do to protect herself. Unless, of course, she becomes a feminist and tries to bring down the patriarchy.
By this feminist ethic, women should be able to do whatever they want. If anything bad happens, the fault lies entirely with their abuser.
True enough, up to a point. But only up to a point. There is nothing empowering about taking unnecessary risks. If you, by nature of your sex, are more vulnerable and physically weaker, the better part of caution tells you not to pick fights.
If you do and you lose, the fault lies with the person who beat you up. But, what virtue lies in taking an unnecessary risk. You might, from your hospital bed, feel consoled by the fact that your attacker will be prosecuted. But wouldn't you prefer that it had never happened at all?
The feminist critique of this event is directed at women who have engaged in sexting. And who have been hurt by it. As I said, it’s a recruiting tactic.
Yet, the celebrities whose privacy was violated did not, as best we know, send their naked selfies to anyone. They kept them to themselves. Storing them on the cloud does not count as sharing them in public.
So, the situation is different from that of a teenage girl who sends her boyfriend a naked picture one night. I hope that most teenage girls are not learning from the feminist response to this episode that they can share whatever they like with their boyfriends, secure in the knowledge that if said boyfriend shares the pictures with the hockey team, he is at fault.
But, the act of the hacker who exposed the naked pictures is more like the work of a peeping Tom and less like oversharing. Clearly, it is a criminal act.
And yet, ask yourself this. Assuming that a peeping Tom is a criminal and that nothing you do mitigates his crime, does that mean that it’s OK to undress in front of an open window? Don’t most people pull the blinds before they disrobe? And if you are a major celebrity, wouldn’t you want to be even more cautious?
Should celebrities show a greater level of caution about what pictures they save on their computers? Should two of the most photographed women in the nation, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton exercise more than usual caution?
Of course, Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton are not really the same kind of celebrity.
Jennifer Lawrence is an actress… and an excellent actress at that. She has never, to my knowledge, done a nude scene and has never exposed herself on film. She does not incite, excite, invite or delight the dread male gaze.
Like it or not, we feel more sympathy for her than we do for some other celebrities.
Kate Upton is a fashion model. In particular, she is a swimsuit model. She graced the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. In case you missed it, here’s a SFW gallery.
Upton has never appeared fully nude, but, to say the least, she has mastered the art of the suggestive pose. In more than a few of these shots she is a twitch away from naked. This talent, if you like, is not within the skill set of all high fashion models.
There is no such thing as a heterosexual male who is not at least curious to see what is behind the veil. One might denounce men for being men, but the fact is that Kate Upton’s career has been built on her ability to attract the male gaze and with male desire.
It’s a career choice and she has done very well with it. To imagine, as the dour Jessica Valenti suggests, that all men and presumably all women should look away when offered a chance to see Kate Upton naked is simply unrealistic. At the least, it shows that Valenti knows nothing about men.
Does this mean that Upton has sacrificed her right to privacy? Absolutely not. She retains it as much as does any women who wears a skimpy swimsuit on the beach.
It does mean that she should be abundantly cautious when doing semi-pornographic pictures with her boyfriend.
Celebrity in America pays very well. Unfortunately, it also exacts a high price.
One is saddened for all of those who were exposed in the data breach at Apple’s iCloud service.
And yet, one lesson should be that all women should be far more cautious in sexting images that they do not want in public circulation. Cell phones get stolen. Computers get hacked. Even the cloud is not immune.
Obviously, there is a distinction between a nude picture that is intended for public viewing, the kind that appears in a movie, and one that is taken for personal consumption.
Like it or not, one aspect of the distinction is that you are paid for the one and not the other.
Still, young people should come away from this unfortunate episode knowing the sexting is dangerous behavior. And it is dangerous even if we know, with great clarity that the person who distributes such material without authorization is committing a crime.