Justin Bieber may be an arrogant product of manufactured pop music. He might have irritatingly catchy songs. He may have done some bad things, and dress like an idiot. He may also be a white man, living in a patriarchal society, with all the privilege that brings. But that doesn't give us a right to leer at his penis, and share naked photos of him across social media. Yet that's exactly what has happened.
When you're dealing with men, even deeply unlikeable ones, it's so easy to forget basic principles. If this hadn't been Bieber, but a female celebrity, would the reaction have been the same?
As we saw last November with the ”Fappening“, there will always be those who delight in seeing naked photos of celebrities that have been leaked against their will. But when those hundreds of photos were released, showing stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton in various states of undress, many parts of the internet were outraged. They condemned everyone involved, whether it was the people who distributed the photos or those who decided to look at them. They said that it was a gross invasion of privacy. Some also agreed with Jennifer Lawrence, who said that the act of looking at them was the same as taking part in a sex crime.
Where are these people now?
No-one should have to be put through the trauma of having their naked body revealed to the world, whether they're Justin Bieber, Kate Middleton or Jennifer Lawrence. As a society we should automatically vilify all non-consensual voyeurism.
By sharing these photos, we are only increasing an appetite that is already so destructive. It's one that has lost track of the value of privacy, and desensitised us to the trauma someone may feel when photos of their penis or vagina are spread across the internet. By helping these photos circulate, we are condoning the perverts who hide in bushes, waiting to take photos of naked celebrities.
We cannot allow double standards to blur our perceptions of non-consensual photos. Any intrusive naked photograph taken without consent and shared for millions to see on the internet is a violation of privacy. And as privacy becomes an increasingly rare privilege, we must do more to ensure that the small pieces that are left of it are preserved.
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