J-Law’s photos are the rage of every tabloid, and yet some well-respected individuals still feel the need to throw an inappropriate comment into the mix.

 

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably caught wind of the recent celebrity photo-leak that saw Jennifer Lawrence thrown into the spotlight. The 24-year old Academy Award winning actress has recently, along with a handful of other A-list females, seen her sexual privacy obliterated at the hands of an internet hacker.

The blatant violation of her privacy has been rightly viewed by many as disgraceful, punishable behaviour. But sadly for some, it appears that victim blaming is still the way forward. On September 1st, Ricky Gervais posted the following Tweet: 

“Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not putting nude pics of yourself on your computer.” – Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais), September 1, 2014

Having private photos of your own body is not a crime. Stealing such photos that do not belong to you is; and a morally repugnant one at that. By all means, a fully grown woman is allowed to acknowledge her womanhood. She is allowed to be a sexual being; she is allowed to share that sexuality with those she chooses. These choices are hers and hers alone. She should not have to abstain from such actions for the fear of them being stolen and shared publicly. She has not given consent to that.

Imagine that you rang the police to report that something valuable had been stolen from your home. The policeman turns up, has a look around, and says, ‘why don’t you make it harder for burglars to steal your TV by not owning one?’ That’s the kind of thinking Gervais seems to have employed here. It makes me wince to think that it so closely resembles a sketch from the US version of his own sitcom, ‘The Office’, in which Andy Bernard infers that the only true form of safe sex is abstinence. In comic fashion, Daryl Philbin mocks ‘Oh… I didn’t realise we were doing trick questions. What’s the safest way to go skiing? Don’t ski.’

Gervais’ tweet seems to lean distastefully towards the vein of ‘if you don’t want to be raped, don’t go out alone after dark.’ In this day and age, why should we have to live in fear? This backwards way of thinking should be a thing of the past; I, along with a million others, no doubt, long for the day when we really do teach ‘don’t rape’, instead of ‘don’t walk alone at night.’ You might argue that this is already a reality – but then how do you explain the not-so-infrequent shaming of women for their choice of dress? You only have to look up and down a Twitter feed before you find something along the lines of ‘if you don’t want the attention, don’t wear such slaggy clothes’, as I woefully discovered the other day. Even in court, rape victims are still questioned by the defence about their attire, their flirtatiousness, or their reason for walking home alone in the dark.

A woman cannot help that her physical being is a source of attraction to some. She should not have to hide herself away, cover herself up, or abstain from taking sexual pictures or making sexual choices for the fear of exploitation and violation. Nobody should.

In concentrating on the exploitation of specifically female victims in this article, I do not mean to dismiss the violation of their male counterparts. The reason I am focusing on women is because the list released by the hacker, supposedly detailing whose photos have been stolen, is compromised solely of women.

Maybe Gervais is right: maybe if you don’t want your personal photos being stolen, you shouldn’t take any – maybe you shouldn’t even own a camera. Maybe you shouldn’t even get naked, ever. And if you don’t want to die, here’s some advice from the same school of thought: don’t ever bother living.

The more I consider Gervais’ comment, the more I hope it was a joke. Yet, even as a joke, his tweet was completely inappropriate and disrespectful; it should never have been posted. It is with sadness that I close this article, knowing that my respect for a brilliant comedian has been forevermore tarnished.

Sally Allmark

Please note: Gervais has since removed the tweet from his Twitter feed.

*The content of Perspective articles, as with all articles posted on the Tribe, reflects solely the views of the authors. The opinions expressed are not those of the Tribe as a publication or necessarily those of any other member of the editorial and/or writing staff*