The double-standard of leaking nudes

Illustration by Roe Gassett | The Signal

The world has already moved on from Chris Evans’ accidental nude leak almost a month ago. Granted, we are in the middle of a pandemic and an election year, but would a woman’s nudes be taken so gently? 

On Sept. 14, Evans accidentally posted a screen recording that revealed his camera roll. He was quick to delete the Instagram story, but the damage was already done. 

Fortunately, his fans came to his defense and drowned out the image with respectful tweets.

He made a mistake, report the leaked photos and don’t share them. Keep it wholesome #chrisevansleak,” a fan said on Twitter. 

Enough people concluded that Evans deserves privacy, and that is a win. It is impressive that the public extended human decency to someone in such a vulnerable position in our current world. Would Chris Evans be as protected as he was if he were a woman? 

The most notorious attack on a woman’s nude leaks was the 2014 iCloud hack. Jennifer Lawerence was at the height of fame and the highest-paid actress in 2015. Lawrence was scandalized and scrutinized, and Reddit users were quick to have the images circulating. 

Among the other victims, Lawrence was told she should have seen it coming and criticized for taking private photos in the first place. Thankfully, the leaks did no harm to her career, and she garnered much support. The public and the media moved on to the next thing. If it were men, would it have been taken differently?

Examining our ever-changing climate and view of women in the media, slut-shaming is still alive and well. Evans’ mostly female fan base came to the rescue; men would shock me if they did the same for a woman. It is hard to imagine a world where a woman is not held to a standard that is unreachable. These issues have changed for the better over time. However, many long-standing standards have been translated to make sense in our digital world. All women are not the bar of understanding, either. 

In 2019, Bella Throne leaked her own nudes to reclaim her power against a threatening hacker.

Whoopi Goldberg publicly shamed Thorne for taking private photos on “The View.”

“If you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are; you don’t take nude pictures of yourself,” Goldberg said.

Women’s empowerment on social media has challenged prevailing notions of purity. The other side of that coin is that it brings more gazing eyes and a lack of privacy. Owning your sexuality is something men have been able to do since the beginning of time. 

In the height of understanding our lack of privacy, it is important to further understand the disparities between men and women. As digital natives, we are growing up in a world that is at our fingertips. The disparities we see between men and women extend to boys and girls. 

Girls are growing up with unrealistic expectations, and they are surrounded by it. Whether it is how to dress, how big your lips are, or where you go on vacation, it is no easy task to ignore what others think you should be doing. Once someone gets sucked into the pressures of social media, it is hard to combat those pressures. According to EClinicalMedicine, almost 40% of girls who spend more than 5 hours on social media a day show depression symptoms, compared to less than 15% in boys.  

Championing women is something that we could all do better. I am confident there will be a role reversal soon, and a woman will be where Chris Evans was. Only time will tell how the world receives it.