In an unfortunate slip up, ‘Captain America’ actor Chris Evans accidentally posted a black and white d**k pic on his Instagram stories on September 12. After Evans broke his social media silence and tweeted about it, in a self-deprecating tweet, it became clear that the ‘leak’ was accidental and not a hack — that some thought it was.
Now that I have your attention
VOTE Nov 3rd!!!
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) September 15, 2020
What Chris Evans must have been feeling — humiliation, anxiety, shame, the chilling loss of privacy — over the weekend, was possibly a fraction of what a lot of his female colleagues endured when they woke up one fine morning on Labor Day weekend 2014 and realized they had been hacked in an “operation” conducted by a team over months. Worse, their nudes were all over the internet and were being sold for “bitcoin donations”. In fact, the hacks had originated because people had expressed interest in donating money to buy these illegally obtained nudes.
Jennifer Lawrence became the face of the scandal because she was one of the most high profile celebs on the list and because her angry response shut down the slut-shaming comments for having shot those nudes in the first place. “It is not a scandal. It is a sex crime,” she famously said at the time, comparing it to being “gangbanged by the f***ing planet”. She also made it clear that anyone searching for these pictures or downloading them was complicit in this sex crime.
Before her, celebs like Scarlett Johansson, on her 2011 nude leak, had only spoken about such hacks in milder terms like an “invasion of privacy”. After being slut-shamed, much like how Lawrence was, Johansson also spoke about not wanting to apologize because those nudes were meant only for her then-husband Ryan Reynolds. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like I was shooting a porno. Although there’s nothing wrong with that either,” she said when she broke her silence on the hack.
Besides the differences of accidentally leaking a nude and being hacked because of “fap donations”, the reactions to Chris Evans (who is beloved as Captain America) VS Jennifer Lawrence (who was America’s sweetheart at the time) are telling. Both have an overwhelmingly wholesome image. The nudes in both cases go against their ‘brand’, so to speak. Back in 2014, many questioned Lawrence about why she had taken those nude pics. She also faced censure for being a ‘disappointing’ role model to young girls who were fans of her ‘Hunger Games’ trilogy. There was also a slew of editorials dedicated to explaining her sexting habits and discussing the “female sexting culture” in general, using the hack as a “news peg”.
In contrast, no one, absolutely no one has asked Chris Evans why he had that d**k pic on his phone’s camera roll. Nor has anyone upbraided him for disappointing his young ‘Captain America’ fans. And that is precisely how everybody, including media outlets, should have reacted to Lawrence having nudes on her phone — as entirely her business.
Evans, right after the leak, did have a few unkind jokes thrown his way but fans and well-wishers immediately formed a protective defense line around him on social media. They flooded Twitter timelines with pictures of him volunteering or him with his dog Dodger. The vocal majority on the internet shamed those wanting to share his leaked picture, and everyone was asked to respect Evan’s privacy.
Media outlets reported on the incident in straight pieces dubbing it as embarrassing rather than taking it as an opportunity to discuss and analyze his private habits. Nor did we have editorials on whether all men always have one fabulous d**k pic in their phones ready to send on a moment’s notice.
Now imagine what the response would have been if Lawrence or Johansson or any other female celeb had accidentally leaked pictures of their genitals — not artistically shot nude selfies — but of their actual genitals. Would a similar protective circle spontaneously form around them at such a time and would they have occasion to thank their “fantastic fans who came to my support”, like Evans did?
The answer would be a resounding no. Instead, you’d probably see the actress’ career come to a screeching halt, and a period of intense shaming where she wouldn’t be able to go out in public, let alone give a low key interview laughing it all off as Evans did.
Her PR machinery would also probably go into overdrive coming up with reasonable excuses about why she had those pictures on her phone and there would be an avalanche of moral policing. The irony is that there is a veritable industry monetizing ‘out of context’ female celeb nudity while all this slut-shaming is occurring.
For instance, look at MrSkin.com, name-dropped in the film ‘Knocked Up’ by the film’s “hero” Seth Rogen. In the film, Rogen’s character wants to start a site featuring nude scenes of actresses but finds out that a website called MrSkin.com already does this. The said site “reviews” only female nude scenes and draws millions of views every month, despite its hefty monthly subscriptions. Through the site, female celeb nudity is taken out of context and monetized, just like the hackers monetized their labor through bitcoin donations.
Only MrSkin is a ‘legitimate’ enterprise. The site’s owner, Jim McBride, will never be sued for copyright infringement because he is courted by movie studios who want his ‘advance publicity’ to get male cinemagoers to buy tickets and is sent hi-res DVD screeners, while journalists like Howard Stern give him a platform as a “celebrity nudity expert”.
The site is proof of how misogyny thrives and how it is actively encouraged by the film and television industry and the media while actresses are degraded and dehumanized as “fap material”. And until this basic culture and mentality changes, nothing else will.
Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by MEAWW.