Our society, almost without dispute, can tolerate the publishing of a man’s naked selfie, while the release of a woman’s naked selfie causes outcry. Mark Davies explored the issue earlier this week, but it deserves further scrutiny.
There is an important distinction between Brooks Newmark’s naked pictures and Jennifer Lawrence’s, and it comes down to the gaze that falls on them. Nobody is inherently is a sexual object; it is only the eye of the beholder that has the power to sexualise. A 12-year-old girl wearing shorts is not sexual; she is sexualised through the gaze of others.
Lawrence’s naked selfies are far more likely to be sexualised than Newmark’s. There may well be people who get a kick from attributing sexual meaning to his photos.