The double standards behind nudes

Imagine sending your significant other a very intimate picture of your body. But your relationship doesn’t work out so you eventually break up. It has been a year since the split and suddenly you see those same intimate pictures that you sent plastered on every platform you can think of. 

Former CA Representative Katie Hill doesn’t have to imagine. This is her reality. The Red State and the Daily Mail, both right-wing media outlets, decided to publish nude photos of Hill in October.

Hill made it very clear that those nude photos that were published were from her future ex-husband, Kenny Heslep. Heslep claims he was hacked when those nudes were leaked. However, he was trying to pitch an interview about their divorce a month earlier, which doesn’t help his case. 

A sketch of a woman’s body on a cellphone. (Illustration by Kerasa Dimitrios Tsokas / Golden Gate Xpress)

“You can’t post sensitive images like that, without the consent of the person depicted in the images,” says Susan Wright, a writer for the Red State in her article about a congressman’s nudes. However, these standards fly right out the window when discussing Hill.  

Since posting said nudes, the Red State has written multiple articles about Hill and their journalism standards. “The use of certain images, while holding back on more scandalous ones, showed editorial restraint many outlets seem to have forgotten — that you can post enough to show something happened without posting too much and losing the point of the story,” Joe Cunningham, a senior editor at the Red State, said in an article discussing Hill and the media. 

Cunningham’s quote allows us to see one clear example of what Hill said in her final speech to Congress: there is a double standard that has grown and taken over our society, which allows the publicly released nude photo of a man to be called illegal revenge porn, but when the nude of a woman gets publicly released, it is a sign of editorial restraint. 

The Red State is a perfect example of this. On Nov. 24, 2017, the Red State wrote a piece titled “To Be Clear, Naked Congressman Joe Barton Is The Victim,” in which they discussed the illegal nature of “revenge porn.”

Research conducted in 2016 by Data & Society shows that one in 25 Americans are victims of people threatening to post or posting of nude images without their permission. Studies also show that women under the age of 30 are the biggest targets for leaking nudes. 

Nudes are increasingly becoming more common within our generation and sexting is becoming the norm in a lot of relationships. The American Psychological Association conducted a study in 2015 that showed 88% of participants reported ever having sexted. 

A poll taken on the Golden Gate Xpress’ Instagram page last week shows that 83% of respondents took nudes at least once. While 12% never took nude photos, 100% of respondents agreed that if nudes get leaked, the person who leaked the nude is always at fault. 

As our generation begins to venture out into the “real world,” we need to be increasingly more conscious, but not of what nudes we take or what we say to someone in a sext. 

Our consciousness needs to turn to those who were involuntarily exposed to the public. It can be easy to say you are against the leaker. Sometimes in the heat of things though, you might slip up and say, “well they should’ve just made sure that person was trustworthy.” 

We shouldn’t ever blame the person whose nudes got leaked. We should not have to wonder what the person did to deserve this. No one deserves to have their naked body shown off to the public without their consent.