It has been several weeks since numerous female actors’ private photos were leaked onto the internet by hackers. There were no bounds on who was targeted, from Gabrielle Union to Kate Upton to Jennifer Lawrence. Some people are defending these women’s right of privacy; others are victim-blaming and slut-shaming them for taking these photos in the first place. I completely, 100 percent, support these women and their right to do what they want with their own bodies. They are talented and accomplished people who have been torn down for doing something that is completely their choice. To distribute photos of anyone without their permission is unfair and to shame them for what they choose to do in those photos is even worse.
In an Oct. 8 Vanity Fair article, Lawrence spoke publicly for the first time about the photos. She talked about everything, from her disgust towards the people who targeted her to how something like this should be considered a sex crime. However, those were not the words that stuck with me.
“I started to write an apology, but I don’t have anything to say I’m sorry for,” Lawrence said.
As I’ve stated in my Oct. 7 piece on this topic, I’m a great fan of Lawrence’s films; I have been since Winter’s Bone was released my sophomore year of high school. True, she’s made some problematic comments in the past that I take issue with. She’s also said things that strike a chord in me: always be yourself, ignore the people who make fun of you for your figure, that preferring to spend nights with french fries and hours of T.V. is okay. In high school, this helped me get through the days and realize my own identity is something to embrace. I tend not to look up to celebrities like this, but Lawrence had an effect on me.
To hear someone who I hold a great amount of admiration for sum up her situation so simply was extremely pleasing to me. She’s absolutely right: she and all the victims of this crime do not have a single thing to be sorry for. Women are entitled to do what they want with their own bodies, and they should never have to apologize for it.
However, the fact that Lawrence thought she needed to apologize, even for a second, frustrates me. She and all other women who have this happen to them are victims of a crime. What it comes back to, though, is the nature of rape culture. When a sex crime is committed against someone, they get asked bogus questions like, “What were you wearing?” or “Why did you take those photos if you didn’t want them seen?” They get told it’s their fault, and because they feel this way, they think it’s necessary that they apologize for something. Women get shamed for expressing any form of their sexuality, and the fact of the matter is, it needs to stop. I don’t know if anyone has the answer to how we truly stop it, and I don’t anticipate it happening overnight. But mainstream and social media’s treatment of women in all domains needs reform to start, and it needs to start immediately.
Jennifer Lawrence is by no means the first one to say something to remind us of this, but she’s certainly in tune with what countless people have said before. For me, though, this is yet another reason why I find her to be inspirational.
To read the interview, go to http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/2014/10/jennifer-lawrence-cover