The reaction to this has really been interesting.
Almost right out of the chute there was printed commentary about “don’t blame the women” who took, or consented to the taking, of embarrassing photographs. But in order to get there, you have to do three things, which are to assume:
Every young woman photographs herself in this fashion; and
Every young woman shares those photos with somebody, probably male, to whom she’s, well you know.
That’s all normal, and in fact the okay norm.
That’s quite the assumption, and you have to make a big leap to think that somebody so dense as to have such photos in an electronic medium won’t end up having them published in some fashion. This is particularly the case for people whose careers are based, in no small part, upon selling their image. If your rice bowl is your image, why would you be so careless with it? The defense of this conduct shows how debased our society has become. That doesn’t defend the theft of the images, but to suggest that the victims here didn’t set the situation up to some degree is missing a rather obvious point. And the defense of it protects the initial conduct and is only reduced to condemning the embarrassing theft of it for public consumption.
But then something interesting started happening.
As we watch this play out, it might suggest that in some ways we’ve finally hit rock bottom and people are getting a clue. One of the victims denied it was her, which at least demonstrates a sense of shame over the conduct. Having a sense of shame is a good thing, as it shows a retained sense of right and wrong. Another one said she was “embarrassed”, which is also a good thing, because a person wouldn’t be embarrassed if there wasn’t something to be embarrassed about, which in this case is the act of having the photos taken. Good news, really, again.
And the huge societal reaction may be a good thing. People don’t seem to be so inclined to want to look as condemn the theft. So society feels a sense of shame here, and that’s a good thing. Much of the public reaction isn’t so much “don’t steal personal images” so much as it is “don’t expose these women in their shame”. That’s an interesting reaction.
And the last day or so some of the published comments declare the people who are sharing the imagines on sites to be debased. That’s frankly stunning, as the language used is language that we haven’t seen for a long time. So people are bringing out the old standards to declare that the uploading of this sort of material, at least in this set of circumstances, demonstrates a level of personal depravity. And that’s a good thing.
So, all in all, maybe this is a small curve in a turning point. After years in which performers have worn less and less, and in which the roles of female performers has been more and more as objectified objects for males, and in which the portrayal of women has become increasingly scandalous, all of a sudden those doing this, which in at least one of the cases involves the revealing of herself in a way which she’s pretty much already done professionally for pay, is found to be personally embarrassing and generally beyond the pale, and those who engaged in the distribution are being called on the carpet for personal corruption. Sometimes, in our debasement, God turns on the light.