Some pundits are saying that the pilfering of photos of female celebrities from their iCloud accounts “all emerge from a culture that endorses the idea that women’s bodies exist for public consumption.” Possibly. But there is another layer, I think, and that layer is the natural attraction people have toward one another, coupled with (or in opposition with) new technology in which one can feel as if they are in a relationship with someone who they have never met. The new technology I speak of is of course films and television (and even stage theatre), which while not “new” to any of us, is very new in terms of our species evolution – a blip.
As we view actors on a screen, we are moved by their performances, and we experience a simulation of the kind of emotional intensity that we presumably only once had with actual familiars. An emotionally intense relationship with someone may lead to sexual intimacy; this is, I believe, what has kept our species alive. This natural possibility of sexual intimacy with familiars is a possibility that is not, under any likely circumstances, going to happen with any of the actors with whom we have experienced emotions. Nor should it, since we are not really “with” the actors. But the simulation is effective, indeed, if it were not there would be no theatre, at least none with the emotional intensity of which we are accustomed, and there would be little interest in the publicity-related appearances of actors either, where we get to notice how multi-faceted the actors are. The simulation of being familiar with these actors is compelling.
Most people have the sense to realize it isn’t real; we are being given a performance, even when an actor appears for publicity-related activities such as talk shows.
It may be that the effort to get intimate photos of actors is done by people who cannot reconcile the emotional intensity they have had “with” these actors with the fact that their “relationship” cannot ever advance to sexual intimacy as it may have if their emotional experiences had occurred in real life with people who they really knew. The absence of the natural possibility may seem strange and unnatural – because it _is_ strange and unnatural – it’s art.
So, some people try to find a way around the impasse, hacking their way into elements that our culture equates with sexual intimacy – nudity.
Logic surely informs them of their error – they know full-well that they are committing a crime by stealing private nude photos, and that their feelings do not a relationship make. Intellect outweighs emotion in our species. It outweighs any natural desires. There is no justifying the crime; no amount of self-delusion could possibly excuse the hacking in anyone except the mentally ill.
But as pundits weigh in on how the motives of the hackers must surely be “vile”, I’d suggest that we not overlook how much natural, indeed “good” emotions may also be a motivation, albeit a motivation that should be undercut by any rational mind on examination of the facts.
Perhaps all of that is obvious, and that is why it hasn’t been discussed much. But in case it wasn’t, I thought I’d jot that down.