Jennifer Lawrence has breasts, and they're not yours

Actress Jennifer Lawrence, whose photos circulated the web after a leak in an apparent hack. (Eric Thayer, Reuters)

Actress Jennifer Lawrence, whose photos circulated the web after a leak in an apparent hack. (Eric Thayer, Reuters)

Did you know, when we women take our clothes off, we’re allowed to take pictures of ourselves in the nude – in fact, if we so chose, we could have someone else take the picture for us as well. Did you know that this is okay? There’s nothing shocking or horrific about that. 

Women have bodies. That can be naked.
That can be snapped. With whatever device we want. Hell, if we so choose, we can pay elaborate amounts of money and send texts to artists that request them to “paint me like a French girl”. 

We can do whatever we want with these photos. We can keep them to ourselves. We can share them in whichever way we please depending on who we trust. We can even upload them onto a cloud for backup. We’re at liberty to do all of this. 

Nude photos do not make women victims. Thus, nude photos of women are not always the result some dodgy full-time cone filter expert with greasy fingernails, who dabbles in photography and has throngs of women just willing to be objectified at his Lexington cigarette laced beck and call. 

Also, when women are nude. They have breasts. Get over it. It’s been that way for centuries. They’re not there for you. They’re not little presents that are available at your disposal for you to get your jollies off of. And if we want to take pictures of them we can.

I mean we should be able to. 

But we can’t really, can we? Not yet, anyway. Not without considering a multitude of consequences festered in centuries of misogynistic culture.

Since news broke about  iCloud being hacked, multitudes of men have tweeted masturbation memes. You know there’s a pretty long list of men who have breasts too, right? A blatant violation of women’s privacy is nothing to masturbate over. In essence – with regards to the Jennifer Lawrence debacle – that’s what’s turning you on? (It is).

Someone’s privacy has been violated. Photos have been shared without her consent. And this makes you horny? Great job.

Nudity is not the issue here. Jennifer Lawrence, like any other woman who chooses to take pictures of herself with or without as many clothes on as she wishes is not the issue here.

Let me be clear – Women are not asking for anything by doing this. They are not asking for your misogyny or porn jokes or cartoon memes with an overly muscular right arm due to hours of jacking-off.

The issue here is consent. It’s a lack of trust. More that that, the issue here is the fact that we still live in a world where an infringement of both these things means that women get their choice of consent taken from them because they must be reminded that their sexuality comes at a cost.

It comes at the risk of exploitation and being exposed… for being women. Shock. Horror. We live in a world where women must pay the price of being taken down a peg by a hacker or a this or that, for embracing their sexuality – whatever it is – or expressing their sexuality, in the very same way men do.

We live in a world where boobs are the best and also the worst. Millions of men will share and stare and jot out to buy another bottle of lotion and banter about the “shameful” bare bodies of women they still feel they are so entitled to. 

We still live in a world where as women, all of this backlash, abuse and “shame” must still be considered and endured and we must constantly be reminded of that before acting in line with or embracing anything vaguely sexual, because shit… we have breasts.

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Haji Mohamed Dawjee became Africa’s first social media editor in a newsroom at the Mail & Guardian, where she went on to work as deputy digital editor and a disruptor of the peace through a weekly column. A stint as the program manager for Impact Africa – a grant-disbursing fund for African digital journalists – followed. She now pursues her own writing full time by enraging readers of EWN and Women 24 with weekly and bi-monthly columns respectively. She also contributes to the Sunday Times and a range of other publications. Mohamed Dawjee's inaugural book of essays: Sorry, not sorry: Experiences of a brown woman in a white South Africa, is due for release by Penguin Random House in April 2018.Follow her on Twitter: @sage_of_absurd Read more from Haji Mohamed Dawjee

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