“Meagan Good, what a slut.”
That’s the first tweet I discovered on Monday, as actress Meagan Good joined Kim Kardashian, Gabrielle Union, Rihanna and a slew of other female stars whose cellphones were hacked and personal nude photos leaked online. I’ll spare you the gory details, but as I continued to scroll through, I was horrified by the messages of contempt aimed at these women, from whose breasts looked worse to who surely has a seat waiting for her in hell.
Over the past few weeks, the celebrity hack-a-thon has dominated the news. Even the FBI is getting involved to bring those responsible to justice. But with all the focus centered on this invasion of privacy, I believe we’re missing one cold, hard fact: taking a nude selfie does not, in fact, make you a slut. Period.
You see, especially as women, it’s hard enough to find the courage to love our bodies at any stage. We’re constantly bombarded with unattainable images of beauty that are manufactured by Photoshop rather than nature. So when a woman, be it a Hollywood star, myself or even you reading these words right now, feels confident enough to capture her curves in all their glory and share them with whomever she desires, we should be respecting that, not shaming her.
But I’d be remiss to say that there are no consequences in giving your lovely lady lumps some screen time. In today’s digital age, there is no “safe place” to harbor sensitive photos — a cellphone, computer or practically any other digital device is fair game for anyone with a little know-how. So the only way to truly protect yourself from exposure is not to take nude or semi-nude photos at all.
That said, I can’t gloss over the message that the problem is not that women are taking these photos, because that’s a personal choice. And in the case of Meagan, Kim and so many others, those intimate moments meant to be shared with a few select individuals were stolen and disseminated illegally.
The problem is putting women down for essentially owning their sexuality, and we as women can’t stand for it. And if you’re one of those people passing judgment, I ask you to consider this: by doing so, you’re standing in the gap between where the women’s empowerment movement is and all that it can achieve if we collectively band together.
And it starts by putting the slut-shaming to bed for good.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Don Mason/Blend Images/Corbis)