Singer and actress Jill Scott was also hacked, a piece of information I did not learn from television news.
It is a personal, overwhelming issue of mine that every gym I have ever been to insists on running Fox News in equal proportion to other news channels, signaling that for every minute of plane crash or protest coverage we take in from CNN, we must be equally as exposed to racist, sexist, nationalistic, or otherwise deeply offensive current event analysis from the pundits at Fox.
Perhaps it is my schedule, but most times I have let my attention turn away from the elliptical and onto Fox, they are promoting regressive ideas about women. On those days, I tend to burn more calories out of frustration.
Of course Fox’s coverage of the celebrity photo hack, in which many young, conventionally beautiful, white starlets had their privacy and sexual autonomy violated, was no different.
The anchor insisted that her interviewee confirm that all of the leaked photos were of young, slim, and beautiful female actresses. They switched between footage of Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton. The footage seemed to suggest that both women publicly opted to be near-nude in public anyway. It was problematic, but that was not the worst of it.
While “young, slim, and beautiful” are by no means mutually inclusive, the anchor once again insisted that it be known that none of the photos were of “fat” celebrities. Apparently, massive invasions of privacy are reserved for an elite class.
It was around that time that I got a text message from my younger sister, infuriated by the media debate. As a young woman who fits many of Fox’s preferred descriptions, she felt personally victimized by the way Jennifer Lawrence was being spoken about. She retweeted Lena Dunham’s commentary to encourage her friends to get political.
The "don't take naked pics if you don't want them online" argument is the "she was wearing a short skirt" of the web. Ugh.September 1, 2014
My gym mates and I, however, were unable to mobilize, stuck on our standard bicycles. We were a captive audience for their fat-bashing. To make matters even more frustrating, this was at a gym filled with motivated, diverse women of varying sizes, ages, and athletic abilities; a gym whose trademarked slogan is “Judgement Free Zone”; a gym that serves free pizza once a month to encourage a healthy relationship to food. A gym full of people (myself included) who may not always see themselves in images of Jennifer Lawrence.
So it is of great consequence that one of the celebrities hacked is Scott, who is, despite what Fox says, not skinny. And black. And in her 40's.
News of Scott’s photo came out as early as Wednesday, though as The Washing Post argued in a blog post early Friday morning, she didn’t receive nearly as much coverage or support as other celebrities. Fox didn’t mention her, but neither did most other news outlets, feminist or otherwise.
The Washington Post argues that it is due to the historical exclusivity of “white feminism.” I would say it is due in part to unfortunate, though institutionalized, oversight when it comes to aggregate reporting. Perhaps some of our readers will have more eloquent, well-established thoughts on this topic than I do. In any case, the news is out, it’s spreading, and it’s time to talk about it.
In a world where media images shape our identities and understandings of where we belong in the world, we have got to make sure that women of all demographics see themselves in the dialogue. Because when a female celebrity is victim blamed in the national media, we are all victim blamed. We are all dismissed. We are all hacked. Privacy loop-holes and anti-victim legislation don’t discriminate, even if the media coverage does.
Photo via Root Magazine.