Celebgate is not a Scandal, but an act of Pure Misogyny

So ‘Celebgate’ happened. 

On Monday, nude photos of 101 famous women were leaked online, causing a handful of different opinions to spout from various sources. Some have defended the victims, others have blamed them. But before stating my opinion, I think it’s important to look at the facts. 

Numerous women, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kirsten Dunst, had their mobile phones hacked. The perpetrators took nude and semi-nude photos from these devices and distributed them across the web. 

J-Law described the hack as a ‘violation of privacy¬†

The hackers, which some have labelled sex-offenders, originated from the online community at popular image/message-board, generally weird and scary place, 4chan. For those who aren’t familiar with the site, it’s probably a good thing if things remain that way. For 4chan, renown for featuring some of the most offensive, morally corrupt content on the web, has been labelled ‘the dregs of the internet.’ And the particular thread that featured the photos, /b/ (random), is the dankest, darkest corner of that place. 

The site was created by 15-year-old Christopher Poole, who wanted to combine elements of Japanese forum ‘2channel’ and popular website ‘Something Awful.’ The community has now grown to over 22 million users, namely, men who share photos and videos of naked women. The site is a common place to see ‘revenge porn,’ violent and disturbing content, and has been known to spark various internet scandals. 

From mass cyberbullying to poll-hacking resulting in Poole being named Time’s ‘Most Influential Person,’ 4chan is known to house the bullies, trolls and creeps of the internet. These people, who delight in prank calling grieving parents and slandering underage girls have now banded together to create ‘celebgate’ – one of the largest intrusions of privacy we’ve ever seen. 

So. Here we have a community of men, violating the privacy of over 100 women, and distributing photos that the public was never supposed to see. If you ask me, this not only an attack on the individual women, but the privacy and power of females as a whole. 

‘The dregs of the internet’¬†

For a woman to have naked photos of herself is entirely her choice. Many have blamed the victims, stating that they were asking for it by having the images at all. British comedian Ricky Gervais tweeted ‘Celebrities, make it harder for hackers to get nude pics of you from your computer by not having nude pics of yourself on your computer.’ Others, such as Robin Abcarian at the La Times, have said that as celebrities, these women should have known better than to have intimate photos stored digitally, when hackers are known to have attacked in the past. 

Personally, this sounds a lot like the ‘If you didn’t want it you shouldn’t have worn that little dress,’ argument. By saying that these women shouldn’t have had those photos, we’re placing the blame on their shoulders. The fact is that, yes, not having the photos would have stopped this from happening. But possessing nude photos of ourselves is our own choice, and in the end, the blame needs to be directed to the people who invaded these women’s privacy. 

To hack into a person’s device, steal content and distribute it across the internet is to claim power over that person. These hackers, sex-offenders and downright creeps are attempting to lower women, both as individuals and as a united force. 

The 4chan community have exemplified this through their continued acts of misogyny. After the photos become public knowledge, /b/ users began an attempt to coerce females to post their own nudes. The tag #LeakForJLaw encourages girls to post their photos in solidarity with the celebrity. 

This is much more than a hack or a scandal. This is more than an act of misogyny against 101 famous women. ‘Celebgate’ is nothing less than mass misogyny, designed to degenerate women – especially the powerful and revered – and prove that they are not in control. 

There is plenty of porn on the internet, as anyone remotely familiar with 4chan is aware. And I believe that ‘Celebgate’ is not about J-Law, Kirsten Dunst, or their bodies. It’s about women being seen as objects that can be stolen, distributed and controlled. 

Thankfully, the reaction from the public has been one of outrage. It seems that victim-blaming is taking the lower rung, and the majority of the population are on the side of law and justice. If anything, it’s uplifting to see the public banded together, united to fight back against the slimes who think it’s okay to humiliate women. 



  1. Trav

    It is such a shame when this kind of thing happens. this article has lain out exactly why and how this is a serious, sexist act. Its a united force, its targeting women with percieved power and its an invasion of a basic right to privacy. shame.

    I think its also worth mentioning this event as a sad commentary on the unhealthy celebrity culture that exists, particularly in the western world. Why are we holding celebrities to ridiculous standards that we would never set for ourselves? because they are entertainers? we the public are the ones that give these people their celebrity status, seemingly just so we can watch them fall. And we dare not adjust the television set or change the channel

    It seems to me that, particularly with women, there is such a narrow view with which the public can perceive celebrities and characters. She may be the virgin, or the temptress, the whore or the crone. but the narrative is nearly always defined by their sexuality.

    I always appreciated that Jennifer Lawrence seemed to somehow be able to break free of these ridiculous stereotypes. The circus. She engaged with the public on such a unique personal level. We cant be going backwards. not now. Don’tClick indeed.

    At the very least it is my hope that with the internet slowly breaking down our walls, one day it will simply be no big deal if some naked photos surface of a celebrity or even a leader. Then, we can all move into a progressive society where we dont judge one another for occasionally expressing ourselves as sexual beings. The other road is that we continue to shame celebrities and victim blame, and therefore move into a society where shame is also what we want our friends and family to feel as sexual beings.

    People should think about that when they throw the phrase ‘role-model’ around at these kind of events, and have some humanity. lets all move on.

    1. Kezia Lubanszky

      You’re absolutely right, Travis!