Our Story Begins:
The Naked Truth About Racy Photos
By now you may have heard (or perhaps seen) the latest scandal involving nude photos of certain celebrities. There’s been tremendous outrage and astronomical indignation about the hackers who tapped into the iCloud accounts of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Victoria Justice among others. The invasion of their privacy is unconscionable. And let me say off the top, distributing and posting these photos is a complete violation of these women. The photos of their naked bodies have been held at ransom in the hopes of a big paycheck to keep them under wraps.
But I used the action as a teaching moment, too. See, I have two daughters and I’m raising them alone.
As a crotchety young Dad I am having a hard time grasping the fact that the pictures are there at all. Part of me sees the logic of taking photos with a boyfriend or wife…there’s something sexy and flirtatious about that, albeit a bit dangerous. Still, the entire idea that people are taking naked photos of themselves – themselves…let that sink in for a minute! – just confounds me. Not that I think I’m the most attractive person in the universe, but I cannot think of an occasion that I looked up, saw myself after getting out of the shower and decided: “Hey, you know what? I should take a photo of that handsome devil there in the mirror!”
Part of my confusion is with the wholesale creation of a culture where it’s becoming more and more frequent that people are taking nude photos. It’s not “these kids today,” either. Anthony Weiner, Geraldo Rivera, Bret Favre…they all took naked or almost-naked photos, too, and I don’t particularly care to see nude or semi-nude photos of any of them, thank you very much.
The message I want to send is this: think before you shoot. Before you ever hit the “share” button, think about whether you want someone else to see that photo…and if the answer is “no” then taking it might not be the best idea.
Nudity is a kind word. In reality, you’re out there, nothing to the imagination, laid bare. Being naked with another person…that’s a big deal! It’s weird and it’s awkward and it’s funny and it’s supposed to be. We shouldn’t lose the gravity of stripping off our clothes in front of another person. Otherwise it’s just awkward and regretful, said the writer from sad personal experience.
In the end, though, no one today will think less of Jennifer Lawrence for her photos. Kate Upton posed in Sports Illustrated with a painted-on bathing suit, totally nude. They certainly didn’t deserve to have their bodies’ images bought and sold wholesale, but what about the teenage girl whose ex-boyfriend posts that naked selfie on social media just to get revenge? Somehow we’ve sent a mixed message that it’s okay to take nude photos…and since you took it you should be okay with someone stealing and displaying them. That’s simply not the case.
Which led to my discussion with both daughters. I made it very clear, whether they wanted to hear their father saying it or not, anything you do online, in your phone or on a computer is vulnerable. Worse, once you send that photo to someone it’s there for that person to show, share and exploit. Once it’s seen it cannot be un-seen.
We have so much technology that I think we make it too easy to distance ourselves from the momentous decision that being stripped bare in front of someone really is. It’s not a moment in a cell phone, it’s when you place yourself, unclothed, flaws and all, for another person to see. The hope is you do that with the right person and they see you for the entirety of who you are. It’s intimate and scary.
Get rid of the intimacy and it’s just scary.
What about you? Do you think about the photos you save, shoot, or store? Do you talk to your kids about what they can learn from this?