In Search of the Body Beautiful: What the Celeb. Photo Leak Says About Us.

pilloryImagine waking up one morning, stretching and battering the snooze button until you are forced by nature (your cat) or nurture (do I smell bacon?) to get out of bed. You stumble around doing necessary morning things until you find your glasses and take your pills. You open your laptop, hit the little blue “F” and BAM(!) your feed has been changed to “Top Stories” once again (dammmitttt) and the trending column is screaming:

 HOME INVASION! 100 Families Robbed. Children’s School Pictures Stolen and Sold Online.

 Wow. What would you do? You would be shocked, angry, want the criminals caught, and maybe go to the albums where you keep the school photos of your own kids just to make sure they were okay. 

 What wouldn’t you do?  Say, “What were those parents doing taking pictures of their kids anyway? They are a bunch of braggy mommy vanners and they deserve what they got.”

 Or perhaps you realize you read that wrong. What the news really says is:

 CYBER ATTACK! Hackers take bank codes from Target, Home Depot and TJ Maxx.

Thousands of Pin Numbers Sold Online.

Yikes! What would you do? You would call your bank, change your pin, ask for a new card number, hope the thieves get caught, and move money into a secured savings account until you’re feeling safe again.

What wouldn’t you do?  Say, “How stupid can you be to shop with a debit card? Why would you trust a store? Did these people really need more cheap-chic capri pants and garden gloves? What a bunch of phony balonies. They got what they deserve.”

And yet – when it comes to the celebrity nude photo leak story –  in comments and conversations all over – while everyone admits the hacker(s) is where the blame goes – it is somehow the fault of these young women for taking pictures of their naked bodies and putting them in an online storage program. How vain, dumb, opportunistic can they be??? They deserve it.

Why is our response to this story so different that it would be to other crimes? Because it involves the body. For people who don’t like their body (some folks hate their own frame so much they aren’t even on speaking terms with it – let alone taking its picture) this is a chance to express their internal anger by engaging in the act of shaming someone else.

Get your mind out of the gutter and off that last 10 pounds you can’t lose, and THINK for a moment. Other that being dumb, vain or slutty – why might a young female celebrity take pictures of her naked body?

She is comfortable in it.  Acting isn’t just a job you do by raising your eyebrows and scowling (Kristen Stewart and Hayden Christensen, excepted). Performance art requires your whole body and you have to be comfy inside your skin. The body is a tool. I am not afraid to take pictures of my computer or a screen shot of my writing and store it online. They are the tools I use.

She won’t have it forever.  Maybe it would be nice for these young women when they are fifty, sixty or eighty to look back at pictures of themselves and say “wow, look at me then,” or “still got it!”

Girl - you still got it! (c) 1981 Orion Pictures/(c) 2014 Broadway World

Girl – you still got it!
(c) 1981 Orion Pictures/(c) 2014 Broadway World

She is an adult person who has sexy fun with another adult person. Seriously. Intimate relationships aren’t just made up of Saturday Bath Night and accidentally kissing your lover’s pillow when saying goodnight. They also involve sex, games, fun, chocolate body paint, and yes – pictures.

Maybe, just maybe, these women aren’t really that different from us, after all. These women took pictures, likely with the closest, easiest camera they had (the phone) and stored it in a location they were told was private (iCloud). They didn’t put their pictures on Facebook then complain someone saw their body. They put the pictures in online storage. Not very different from the soccer mom who takes a picture of her kid and puts it in Dropbox. Except, because they are celebrities we feel the right to judge and throw stones. After all, that crappy movie they made cost me $12.50 plus popcorn.

Our reaction to this crime is another indicator of how much work we have to do as a culture in self-acceptance, body esteem and “getting over it.”  In The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron says that if you get angry when you go into a bookstore and see all the “crap” that gets published these days, it’s really not about the books. It’s about the writer inside of you wanting to be on that shelf but fearing to do so.

Our reaction to someone’s nude pictures being leaked isn’t about their vanity – it’s about the body we inhabit– wanting to be accepted, cherished, and celebrated as well. We aren’t champions of modesty. We are uncomfortable with nudity – even private nudity – because when we look in the mirror we’ve been told we have something to hide. While we watch the FBI seek and destroy the wrongful violation of someone else’s privacy, let’s also pause and admit we have a need for a little private peacemaking with our beautiful bodies.

So give the ladies a break, give your beautiful naked body a big hug, and…look up that chocolate body paint. You won’t regret it. (Photos optional).

chocbodypaint

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