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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Why is there such a voracious appetite for naked-celebrity photos?

Scarlett Johansson not nude

As I’m sure you’ve heard, a couple of pix of a nude Scarlett Johansson showed up online yesterday. I’m not going to link to them, but they’re easy to find, if you must. They’re actually rather sweet, and quite demure, taken by Johansson herself (at least apparently; it seems there’s some question as to whether they’re genuine) with her cell phone, possibly to send to a lover. It’s the sort of thing many people do these days, just part of dating and mating and loving in the digital age, and apart from the danger of such photos getting into the wrong hands, there’s nothing wrong with it.

But of course these photos have gotten into the wrong hands, and it appears not to be an accident, nor an isolated event. LAist has the most succinct explanation of what’s going on:

FBI Announces Probe of Celebrity Nude Hacking Ring, After Naked ScarJo Pics Show Up On the Internet

The FBI announced today that it was investigating a ring of hackers believed to have targeted the personal e-mail accounts and cell phones of more than 50 female celebrities. This announcement came just hours after nude photos from Scarlett Johansson’s cell phone surfaced on the internet.

The FBI is not saying which celebrities have been victimized, but sources with TMZ confirmed that Johansson has been in touch with the FBI about the photos.

Other celebrities who are believed to be victims of this hacking ring, include Miley Cyrus, Jessica Alba, Demi Lovato, Ali Larter, Christina Aguilera and Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens went to the FBI in March, TMZ reported.

There’s a lot of complicated stuff going on here. Where are the hacked photos are male celebs? Men surely take these sorts of pictures of themselves as often as women do… or even if they don’t, where are the fake male nudes? Women like to look as much as men do, even if there is the perception that we don’t, so surely there would be an Internet audience for such images. Perhaps women aren’t hackers on the same level that men are, and the hackers go after the photos they want.

And then there’s this question: Why do so many people care about seeing celebrities naked? Matthew Kelly at Geekscape has a theory:

The celebrity sex photo works as a reality check to both sides. Haylee from Paramore, Scarlett Johansson, Kat Dennings; they are beautiful, but seen without the Photoshop, the makeup and the airbrush… aren’t these just regular people? While it’s nice to imagine banging a big name, the fact of the matter is that these women aren’t that far removed from your own un-Photoshopped, un-made up and un-airbrushed wife or girlfriend. They both probably have boobs. Both boobs probably have nipples. Shit! Some celebrity sex tapes almost prove that your wife or girlfriend are better lovers!

The celebrity nude photo or sex tape shows the wizard behind the curtain that every one of us “regulars” need to glimpse in the hopes of understanding that we aren’t that bad off as our normal, ignored selves. They celebrate the normalcy (and the base, insecure nature) shared by all of us. There’s no 3rd breast, extra nipple or Kuato. For the most part, they’re just like you and me.

Does that ring true to you? Is it just plain and simple purience? Do fans feel “entitled” to see a celeb naked after being teased with legit, posed, nearly naked images of the same celeb over and over again? Something else?

Why is there such a voracious appetite for naked-celebrity photos?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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