Friday, May 5, 2017

Your Response to Charlotte Flair's Photo Theft Should Be...

Flair was a victim here, pure and simple
Photo Credit:
As Charlotte Flair flew to Europe for the WWE's semiannual tour of Europe, someone hacked into her phone or the cloud or wherever it was that she had some nude photos of herself and disseminated them on the Internet. Obviously and troublingly, she's not the first famous woman to have this happen to her. Hell, she's not the first woman period, and she's not even the first employee of WWE to have her private photos stolen from her. Forget the fact that perverts and weirdos have a world of pornography available to them for free anymore. The hackers and those who willingly lap up the contraband do so because of the allure of what they can't have. Who cares about Mia Khalifa's breasts if you can see them by going to Pornhub? They want to see Flair's, or Paige's, or Erin Andrews' and so on. It's gross.

The act of theft is in and of itself an abhorrent act, but one would think everyone agrees in that regard. Yet, the stock response from many corners of Wrestling Twitter and other avenues of critique is that Flair should have taken more care to secure her nude photographs, or even worse, why did she even have them anyway? The former can be good advice, much in the same way advising someone to have a home security system is. One cannot take enough measures against theft in these days, especially now that the robbers have more and more avenues in which they can steal valuables. Information is especially vulnerable because it lives on digital avenues, and the ways one can go about stealing it feel easier to execute than a classic heist of a corporeal item.

However, if that's one's first reaction, that the victim should have done more to prevent it than placing culpability on the thieves, then it shows a fundamental disrespect for the victim by stripping her of having been wronged in the first place. Whether or not that person intends to make that case or not, the crime becomes not the theft but possession of the pictures in the first place. Putting it in that terms, doesn't that make the insistence that the person whose pics were stolen seem callous in the absolute best case scenario?

Furthermore, the question as to why she would have nude pictures of herself is of no one's concerns but hers and the person/people she's willingly shared them with. What people do for kink/sexual courtship is between them and them alone, and the sharing of nude photos is definitely a desired ritual for some. I'd also bet the Venn diagram of those slut-shaming Flair for having them and people who ask their partners/thirst traps/crushes for nude pics has a ton of overlap. The double standard is sexist and yet an unfortunately institutional pillar of society.

Of course, knocking the pillar down starts with turning one's attention to the people who steal these pictures, not the women who take them and store them on personal devices or cloud-based storage. It's not even a question. She had personal items stolen from her; it's just that instead of a car or money, it was digitized information in picture form. Any debate otherwise just contributes to the patriarchical obstruction for women to merely exist in this world, let alone gain equal footing with men.