Earlier this week Bella Thorne released her own naked photos.
She did this after someone hacked her phone and then threatened to post them. With the photos Thorne tweeted: “I’m putting this out because it’s my decision now. You don’t get to take yet another thing from me. I can sleep tonight better knowing I took my power back. You can’t control my life you never will.”
I thought it was an empowering response to a disgusting attack, but it would appear not everyone has joined me in celebration.
Thorne’s actions have stirred up a bit of a debate surrounding the issue of cyber-attacks against women, particularly the leaking of private images online (often known as revenge porn), with Whoopi Goldberg appearing on the TV show, The Viewto say that women should not be taking photos of themselves in the first place.
“If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself”, Goldberg said. “When they’re hacking you, they’re hacking all of your stuff, so whether it’s one picture or a million pictures, once you take that picture it goes into the clod and it’s available to any hacker who wants it. If you don’t know that in 2019, that this is an issue, I’m sorry you don’t get to do that.”
Reading that, we can only assume that Whoopi Goldberg does all of her banking in branch, her talking in person and letter sending via bloody carrier pigeon.
Because, let us remember, in the year 2019, everything we do, we do online.
And when they’re hacking us, in Goldberg’s own words, they’re hacking all our stuff.
Every day people use their phones to harbour all manner of secret information, from bitchy texts to account numbers, naked photos to passwords.
As I log into the HSBC app I don’t find myself thinking “ooh this is a bit risky, anyone could hack me right now and steal all of my money”. It’s only when it comes to using my own phone for taking a photo of my own body that I begin to feel threatened.
Which tells me it’s not an issue of technology knowing too much, rather, women doing too much.
We deserve the right to privacy. But it also needs to be recognised that girls are not “sluts” for having these pictures in the first place. Whether for a partner or for ourselves, female sexuality should not be weaponised.
And yet, time and time again, it is.
It is all too common a story now that a female celebrity has had her phone hacked and nudes released online.
To say that she was asking for it by having them in the first place, we’d be forced to conclude that anyone using a credit card is just pleading with someone to bugger off to the Port Du Sol for a couple of weeks and have a bloody good holiday on us.
Goldberg’s response is typical of the victim blaming culture that we are now a part of.
It is not Bella Thorne who is in the wrong here, for having naked photos, rather, the bloke who illegally hacked into her phone and threatened to illegally leak them to the world.
Whoopi Goldberg’s view of “you cannot be surprised that someone has hacked you, especially if you’ve got stuff on your phone” sounds a little bit too close to a line that all women are far too familiar with: “if you don’t want to be raped, then don’t get drunk, wear a skirt that short or walk home alone”.
I’ll say it again for those without their hearing aids turned on: NO ONE IS ASKING TO BE ASSAULTED. Whether that’s in person, or online.
Thorne was due to discuss this yesterday on The View, but in the wake of Goldberg’s comments, decided to cancel her slot saying she didn’t want to be “beaten down by a bunch of older women for my body and my sexuality.”
I respect her decision, if I were her I’d have done the same thing. But it’s frustrating that Goldberg’s initial comments went pretty much unchallenged.
Victims of cyber attacks of this nature are often vulnerable young women who are made to feel that they are in the wrong for having these photos in the first place. In many instances victims have taken their own lives.
Thorne was thankfully able to regain some control of the situation but for many women, that’s not an option.
We have always trusted the opinions of older women as they’re the ones fought the fights that we are fighting now, but in instances where technology is concerned, I’m not sure they’re who we should be turning to.
Whoopi Goldberg is an icon, make no mistake about it, but her stance on this suggests she might have spent a little too long at the nunnery after all.
The fault of course, lies entirely at the feet of those stealing and then circulating these images and not with the women for having these photos in the first place and it is high time the conversation surrounding these issues changed.
There also needs to be significantly tougher laws and regulations surrounding the hacking and circulating of private images.
Everyone has the right to privacy.
And everyone has the right to a naked photo of themselves on their phone. Whether it’s a close up of the lump under their right butt cheek or a full frontal “I want to remember that I looked like this when I’m 80”.