Let’s discuss something bluntly. You probably know about this summer’s “celebrity hacking” scandal: naked selfies of several famous actresses were stolen from their online accounts, and these images spread quickly across the internet.
This is a massive ethical and moral problem on many different levels. We could point fingers at many people: the thieves who stole these private photographs, the young women who took these selfies, the many strangers who viewed these pictures for their own pleasure. For quite a while, I have been bothered by this entire situation. But today I gained some clarity on the issue.
I subscribe to a news magazine called The Week. In its current issue, this magazine quotes a Vanity Fair interview with Jennifer Lawrence, the 24-year-old actress most famous for playing the role of Katniss Everdeen in the “Hunger Games” movies. Jennifer is one of the victims of the aforementioned hacking scandal.
Let’s put aside Jennifer’s claim that the theft of her pictures is a “sex crime.” Let’s put aside questions of whether or not she “deserved” this unwelcome attention. I want to focus on one extremely illuminating detail from her interview with Vanity Fair. Jennifer explains why she sent naked selfies to her boyfriend by saying this:
“I was in a loving relationship. It was long-distance, and either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or look at you.”
Read the last phrase of that quote again. What kind of sexual culture do we tolerate that brings young women to believe such a statement?
The true evil revealed by the celebrity hacking scandal is that our culture believes men must satisfy their sexual desires in any way possible. Since they must, they will. And since they will, they may as well find that satisfaction in “appropriate” ways. This perspective absolves men of any responsibility for their own behavior, and it cheapens human sexuality, which God intends for higher purposes than satisfaction of impulses.
Either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or look at you? Why do we assume that he has to look at all? Is there no other way? Is there no better way?
It is time for us to stop believing the lie that “boys will be boys.” It is time for us to reject the ideas that viewing pornography is natural, that the female body is meant to be seen indiscriminately, and that women must do whatever it takes to satisfy their boyfriends’ sexual desires. It is time for us to call men (and women) to exercise self-control.
I understand where Jennifer Lawrence and her boyfriend are coming from. I am a 34-year-old man who has been married for nine years. Tara and I did the long-distance dating thing for two years before our wedding. We know that self-control is possible. And self-control has led us into a healthy and safe relationship that will last our entire lives.
Women, keep your clothes on. Put your cameras down. If you believe that your boyfriends must choose between pornography and you, then both you and your boyfriends need to mature.
Men, stop viewing pornography. Stop the online image searches. Stop “reading” swimsuit magazines. Stop asking your girlfriend to send naked selfies to you. Stop supporting the many ways that our culture misuses the female body. Learn the art of self-control.
I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman. For what is our lot from God above, our heritage from the Almighty on high? Is it not ruin for the wicked, disaster for those who do wrong? Does he not see my ways and count my every step? (Job 31:1-4 NIV)