Wednesday, September 14, 2011

victim blaming on a feminist blog; re. celebrity nude photos

I just saw this post come up on my facebook newsfeed from a feminist blog that I used to read on occasion that engaged in victim blaming.

Apparently, there were a bunch of celebrities who have had nude pictures stolen fairly recently, and Scarlett Johansen was one of the victims of this theft. The post, after explaining what had transpired came up with a really good point, and then a really poor one, in my opinion.

But in any case, we really need to take a look at this fucked up situation: Hackers are targeting women, making their personal business public. But also: These women are taking naked pictures of themselves in an era when no personal information is safe. WTF.

It is a huge problem that this targets women, and it says something about sexism and objectification when it is pictures of the bodies of women that are being taken and put on display as though they were public property.

However, I don't think the second sentence is appropriate for a feminist blog. Lots of people have taken nude photos of themselves, and doing so is not justification for what has happened here.

Is it just me, or is telling women that taking these pictures puts them at risk similar to saying that dressing a certain way puts you at risk of assault... granted, there is the key difference that if no such pictures exist, they cannot be stolen, but women have a right not to have their computers hacked into and their personal photos taken and made public. And if this does happen, it is not in any way their fault for having those pictures in the first place.


  1. No, it isn't just you. I think your point about victim-blaming in this instance is very apt. The people who choose to photograph themselves in any way they see fit cannot be blamed for the actions of those who steal the photos and sell them.

  2. I don't think they are similar. Blaming the victim in a rape is far worse than blaming the victim in a robbery.

  3. In her book Sexual Politics, Kate Millett writes about the idea of a continuum of violence where one act is not inherently worse than another because they are all part of the same set of beliefs and practices that lead to women being at risk of sexual violence.

    I would agree with you insofar as a victim of rape is probably more likely to have a lot of difficulty returning to "normal" after such an attack, but I think that this is not always the case. I also think it is not a useful way to think about the topic because it trivializes some instances of violence and forces us to draw lines between which forms of misogyny are acceptable, which are tolerable under certain circumstances, which are bad, and which are horrendous.

  4. I disagree 100% and if anything 'trivializes' violence, it is referring to phone hacking as a form of violence.

  5. Any form of theft, especially theft that violates ones privacy in the way that digital theft is hapened is wrong. But something else might be happening. Often celebrities will stage the theft of these images in an attempt to push their career in another direction or to prevent themselves from falling out of the spotlight. Like Venassa Hudgens "leaked" photos. She actually posted them herself to get out of the child/Disney roles that she and other child stars get stuck in. After those photos there were no more child roles offered to her and instead she gets the ones she really wanted like "Sucker Punch". So it's interesting that these women would use their sexuality to get what they want but at the same time its sad of those who do this because other "non-celebrity" women actually do suffer from this horrible digital theft.