Actress Emma Watson gave a speech on being a feminist and appealed to men to join the HeForShe movement that seeks to create a broad coalition in support of gender equality. It was a good speech, not at all incendiary or even controversial, but as is so often the case these days, all it takes is for a prominent woman to speak out publicly on an issue that advances social justice to result in all kinds of weird people to come out of the woodwork with angry responses and threatening revenge. And the latest vehicle for revenge is to threaten to release nude photographs and they promised to do so with Watson too.
But James Cook says that the threat against Watson turned out to be an elaborate hoax with several layers of deceit. While Watson seems to be safe, such threats are becoming more realistic with the increased ability of hackers to get into the private accounts of people.
What I don’t understand is why people bother to go to the trouble of hacking computers for these photographs, given that they can be charged with serious crimes and face jail time if caught, since if you wanted to see naked women, there are plenty of such photographs on the internet that have been voluntarily provided by them.
The interesting question is one of human psychology. It clearly seems to matter to some people that they are seeing the actual naked body of someone famous instead of the naked body of someone else who may have such a similar body type that they cannot tell the difference. It is not the naked body itself but who it belongs to that seems to matter. I am trying to understand why that is. Is it that people are far more interested in seeing those things that people want to keep hidden rather than those that are freely revealed?
How times have changed. Growing up in a socially conservative pre-internet period in Sri Lanka where images of nudity were not freely available, seeing photographs of bare-breasted women in a few magazines like National Geographic or as part of some artistic photograph exhibition were highly titillating for us schoolboys, even though the women were totally unknown.