I have a confession to make: I really want to see Jennifer Lawrence naked. I’ve had a major crush on her ever since the 2011 Oscars when she pranced around the red carpet in a form-fitting Calvin Klein dress, and that crush has grown exponentially since. And yes, I may have fantasized running across a beach and smashing our faces together on more than one occasion (as you’ve probably guessed, we were both rocking the Katniss Everdeen side braid). I’ve got the middle school hots for J-Law, I’m not gonna lie. And I’m not going to pretend I’m some sort of saint who wasn’t tempted to peruse the leaked photos of her that were hacked from her iCloud account over the weekend. But I fought that temptation, and so should you.
These aren’t nude photos of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and other celebrities. These are stolen moments from these women’s lives. You aren’t looking at a sexy photo of them, you’re intruding on an intimate moment. A moment, and a woman, who was not yours for the taking.
Consent is everything, and it continues to be a disturbing fact of our society that we cannot seem to grasp that it is a necessary aspect of all interactions. It doesn’t matter if someone has had sex, posed nude, is in the public eye, flirted with you all night, etc. if you don’t have an enthusiastic yes, an absolute agreement of consent every single time, then you should not be participating in further activities.
When I was younger, I used to pose nude for paintings. It’s an activity I’m comfortable with, and I’ve always been happy to be a part of the creation of art. A lot of people have seen me nude, both on canvas and in print. That was the intent. That was the activity to which I had consented. In essence, I was cool with showing some boob to the public in those specific instances.
I have also taken photos akin to the ones leaked over the weekend. It’s safe to say that the majority of us have participated in some sort of risqué exchange via phone, Facebook or Skype. And if you haven’t, I assure you, it’s pretty goddamn fun. When I’ve done it, it was fun for me and ONE other person. That was the intent. That was the activity to which I had consented. See where I’m going here?
It doesn’t matter how comfortable someone is (or may seem) with their body or how visible they are in the public sphere or whether or not we’ve seen them nude one or 900 times before. It’s about understanding that people are entitled to their own private sex lives. I loathe stating that celebrities are just like us, but in this case it holds true. We are all entitled to our private sexuality, without the threat of intrusion. It’s a party you’re not invited to, and just because somebody told you the address doesn’t make it okay to crash.
I would love to see Jennifer Lawrence in the nude. I’d be an extraordinarily happy woman if Mila Kunis, Allison Brie and Adam Scott were thrown into the mix as well. We all want to see hot people in the nude. But I don’t want to become a peeping Tom in order to do so. Their bodies are theirs to show, not ours to take.
You want to lust after J-Law? There are literally thousands of photos of her on the internet in bikinis and sexy dresses. Watch the dance scene in Silver Linings Playbook where she swoops her ass across the screen. By all means, lust. But there’s no excuse for voyeurism.
You haven’t just seen a tit pic, you’ve robbed a woman of her right to bodily integrity. The right to do with it what she wants, give it to whom she wants and protect and conceal it from those she doesn’t.
In the end it comes down to a few simple rules: Don’t take things that aren’t yours, don’t take things without asking, and back the fuck off if the answer is no. When it comes to these photos, they aren’t yours, you didn’t ask and the answer is most certainly no.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.