Art & Culture

Bella Thorne reclaims her own nudes: Sexualisation, agency & the issue with clout

Women have sex. Women enjoy sex and won’t stop having it.           

She’s not the first and certainly won’t be the last. In a sorry state of social media affairs and the parameters of morality  on the internet has skewed our perceptions of where outrage should be channeled. Earlier this week, an anonymous user had hacked actress/musician, Bella Thorne in what was believed to have been via an iCloud entry point. As a victim of abuse, both sexual and physical, Thorne has been a vocal advocate for women’s rights, centering molestation and agency. The actress was compelled to divulge on the violation in a spirited rant over the ordeal in a series of threads on her twitter account: “Yesterday as u all know, all my s— was hacked. For the last 24 hours I have been threatened with my own nudes and I feel gross, I feel watched, I feel someone has taken something from that I only wanted one special person to see,” additionally, “For too long I let a man take advantage of me over and over and I’m f—ing sick of it,” she said. “I’m putting this out because it’s MY DECISION NOW U DON GET TO TAKE ANOTHER THING FROM ME.” Thorne went on to rationalise her decision to leak her nudes and the importance of reclaiming the agency that she was at jeopardy of losing, again. 

Many applauded the actress for her resilience and strength. Many do not and cannot react to the abuse in the same way that Throne has, and perhaps there is a privilege in publicly owning your sexuality without fear of consequence. Yet, for many of the actresses peers and elder statesmen within the film and television industry have hit back with criticism regarding the action of photographing private images in its entirety. On the US talk show, the View, a panel show discussing pop culture and politics, featuring Joy Bahar and more, EGOT, Whoopi Goldberg, slammed the ordeal by stating that, “If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are. You don’t take nude photos of yourself,”. Of course, one might argue that as a public figure, you are vulnerable and prone to torment at any given opportunity and knowing that photos of yourself in the nude exist merely intensifies your risk to revenge porn. Yet, victim blaming aside, it is important to debunk archaic notions of sex. Women have sex. Women enjoy sex and won’t stop having it.           

In the words of Zendaya’s character, Rue, in the newest HBO series, Euphoria,“Nudes are the currency for love”. Where love letters once were the optimum symbol of one’s affection, today, have been replaced by nudes. To share one’s body both physically and virtually has now become worth more than any word and rightfully so. Rationalise it first. Parts of you that are willing to share only with the individual that you’ve chosen to be intimate with. Unfortunately the climate in which we exist, it seems as though we’ve regressed, or rather those who harbor bigoted views on womanhood have picked up the steam necessary to further oppress and demonise women. Revenge porn, is a tool commonly used to for women in to submission and to dim their agency. It’s a flagrant violation of one’s human and sexual rights.

Notice how these public figures who’s nude photos have been exposed. They are often outwardly confident and assured, vocal women; Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Misha Barton, Emma Watson to name a few. Although reasoning behind the abuse still apply, to an extent, assessing the role that celebrity, social media and immediate gratification has on society’s moral compass is something largely overlooked.

Our obsession with newness and complete immediacy of information has led to an insidious air of forced information. When your sole purpose of being ( on the internet) is to shock, horrify and (fundamentally) impress, there exists a convoluted self righteousness to content that comes at the expense of others and their wellbeing. Be it, someone innocently sleeping on the tube, public fights involving minors or even public sex. Society is so obsessed with videos and footage that they lack complete empathy for those that are affected in the process of gaining likes and retweets.

Well, if you were wondering what your rights were, here’s a list below:

-It is a criminal offense to publish someone’s private photos

-Police can interfere if you suspect that someone has or is about to publish your private photos/ as well as the platform in which they’ve been posted

-Unfortunately you will have to contact each platform individually if the photos have been posted on several sites

– Holding nudes for ransom is constituted as blackmail, and blackmail is a criminal offense  under the theft Act (1968)

-You can file a civil claim which would fall under the harassment act 1997

25 June 2019