"How unauthorized naked pics of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities lost the power to shock or shame."


You can say a lot of things about the nude-celebrity-photo-hacking scandal involving Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and many others. One thing you can't say is that their careers will be hurt by it. That's a good thing, I argue in a new Daily Beast column, and it shows a certain maturation about nudity and sex in American culture. Snippets:

Gone for good are the days when Miss America could be dethroned for old nude shots coming to light, as happened to Vanessa Williams in 1984 (Williams is now even listed as a winner at the pageant's official site). The sort of early '80s sex tape scandal that helped stop the career of sportscaster and B-movie queen Jayne Kennedy would barely raise an eyebrow in today's post-Pam Anderson, Tonya Harding, Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian world. Jumping Jeebus, even an unforgiving moral crusader such as radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger was able to easily ride out a nude-pic scandal back in the late 20th century….

If there's one person mostly responsible for demystifying the celebrity nude—and especially for smashing the virgin-whore complex to smithereens—it's Madonna. After a decade of pushing the limits of good taste and network decency rules without ever fully abandoning them, she sprinted far ahead of her audience. Released in 1992, her Sex book featured The Material Girl hitchhiking naked on busy streets and cavorting on swing sets and in bondage gear with the likes of Vanilla Ice, Naomi Campbell, and gay porn star Joey Stefano. The prose was heavy on lines such as "my pussy has nine lives" and "When they say, 'Are you hungry? Let's go get some spaghetti,' [in Italian], it sounds like they are coming on to you." The writing may not have been erotic exactly, but it was completely unapologetic and even more in your face than the various pudenda scattered throughout Sex. The book got awful reviews even as it topped The New York Times bestseller list. It may have hurt her music career for a few years—Madonna later said the book's release led to critics ignoring her Erotica LP—but it also obliterated the idea that a celebrity (especially a female one) ever need worry about being seen naked. Madonna—who in 1985 saw old nudes of her get published in both Playboy and Penthouse—owned her body fully, and in doing so allowed the rest of us to move on from childish obsessions.

Whole thing here.

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  1. I wish that pervasive governmental spying on personal communications would receive as much shocked reaction as the sex tapes used to. People are inured to loss of privacy, and that is not a good thing.

    1. This does seem to have raised greater outrage than the NSA. Somehow people fear a few hackers more than their armed to the teeth federal government with it's city size data storage facility? One of these groups will kidnap you, imprison you, take your money, and occasionally beat you to death for resisting their utopia. I know which group I fear the most.

  2. "How unauthorized naked pics of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and other celebrities lost the power to shock or shame."

    They have not lost the power to draw eyeballs, however.

  3. Boobies are a dime a dozen on the internets.

  4. That makes a lot of sense dude.

  5. Madonna prose?..Blecch!

    1. Madonna?.Blecch!

      1. I remember when Madonna was just getting huge (I was in high school) and all my buddies were drooling over her. She always looked like a swamp rat to me. She always looked dirty, smelly, and fairly stupid. She just gave off the "I put out" vibe and that was enough to make her a "sex symbol". Madonna, to me, was when sexy turned into skanky, which is pretty much what is in place today. I'm no prude, I just think sexy comes with style, skanky comes with fortified wine.

        1. She always looked dirty, smelly, and fairly stupid.

          Yes, yes and no! Brilliant (in her own way) to the tune of about 1 billion.


          1. Her single greatest talent is her own career management.

            1. A good talent to have.

          2. Madonna is not an artist; she's a businesswoman. I don't care about her music, acting et al. But I sure would take her on my side at the negotiating table.

        2. She's done a thing or two I actually like. Her voice isn't bad, and Who's That Girl was fun. That's better than average for a modern "Superstar". The vast majority of them are talent-proof.

  6. The second the icloud received your nudies, actresses, the invasion of your privacy began at the NSA Utah Data Vacuum Center. But I guess it's OK that the government can steal your images, view them, and store them for eternity but it's screamingly necessary to get pissy about a 4Chan hack.

    1. From what I understand, these nudes were already out and being sold amongst an exclusive group. It wouldn't surprise me if there were an NSA analyst or two in this group, making a few bucks on the side.

  7. If there's one person mostly responsible for demystifying the celebrity nude?and especially for smashing the virgin-whore complex to smithereens?it's Madonna.

    You misspelled Marilyn Monroe.

  8. No matter what happened, they made a dumb mistake.

    There is really no such thing as 100% secure file storage if its connected to the internet. Especially if you use any third party storage... I store EVERYTHING on a portable hard drive... and dis-connect it when I am not using it.. You can get a terabyte portable hard drive for around $150.00, I never have to worry about losing anything or anyone stealing my files...and I don't pay a monthly fee..

    Honestly, I don't even really use my "smart phone". My old dumb-one is good enough for me and its cheaper. It's a waste of money just like so many other things in America like student loans (get a cheap education!), expensive car insurance (my $25/month policy from Insurance Panda is good enough for me), and fast food (who wants to pay $10 for a Chipotle burrito?!?).

    Also - One way to completely ensure there are no bad photos of yourself that could wind up in an embarrassing situations is to NOT take them. Seems pretty logical to me...

    1. "Also - One way to completely ensure there are no bad photos of yourself that could wind up in an embarrassing situations is to NOT take them."

      Protect personal smut with common sense- sure. But entirely avoid snapping pix of adult settings? What world does that type of person live in? A Square World populated by clovers and anti-porn asshats.

      1. But entirely avoid snapping pix of adult settings? What world does that type of person live in? A Square World populated by clovers and anti-porn asshats.

        You're misinterpreting. Entirely avoid snapping pix of *yourself* in adult settings and then getting uppity and screaming *hack!* and *invasion of privacy!* when your mobile broadcast device executes it's programming and makes the photos effectively available to the world.

        I bought a new toaster this weekend and I left it set on 12, which is apparently the factory default, and it burned my toast. Sure, it says in the manual to start at 1 and slowly increase to the desired level of toastiness, but that requires time, reading, bread, and a level of personal responsibility. It's much easier and more convenient to pretend that my contract with Sears clearly indicates that they now owe me some toast.

        It's libertarianism 101, Apple sold you the phone, how you (mis)use it is your responsibility.

        1. It's actually a wider net - GrownUp 101.

          Convenience has its price. Using a "smartphone" as a camera? Very handy, but you get blurry photos* and insecure storage.

          *I'll say, though, that there are some smart designers out there - overcoming the inherently poor light-gathering ability of a tiny lens.

    2. Who would someone be taking these pictures for, if not the public, that couldn't see them naked in person. I agree with you.

  9. I am enough of a grouch that I have always simply assumed that the whole "cloud" thimg would blow up in various ways. It just seems full of possibility, mostly bad.

  10. au contraire. that one was quite shameful.

  11. At least the article doesn't pull the "what's the problem, Michelangelo's David was naked, hurr durr" crap that even the Simpsons thought was silly.

    To adapt Potter Stewart's famous remark, I can't come up with a precise definition of the line between art and porno, but I know it when I see it. And while Madonna hardly invented porno, she helped make it more "respectable," or at least to dilute the concept of respectability by which such things used to be measured.

  12. While it might not affect careers, I imagine it would still be horrifying for most people to have such pictures up on the net for ogling or ridicule.


    In a perhaps unrelated case, singer Jill Scott had nude photos leak onto the net and last night on twitter there was a storm und drang of ridicule and then counter ridicule.

    1. If there wasn't enough "Fat Girl" porn out there already.

      Shit Jill?just shut up and almost nobody would have known.

  13. Everybody's talking about it, but there's never a link!

  14. As I keep explaining to female celebrities, "boyfriends are jerks". You think they will love you forever, but in the end they'll just break up and sell nude photos of you to Bob Guccione. So don't give them anything to sell.

    1. As I keep explaining to female celebrities, "boyfriends are jerks".

      I do kinda wonder about Mr. Lawrence, Mr. Upton, etc.

      I assume most of the photos are self-shot, benign, and don't reflect poorly on the entire family, but I can't imagine being Pam Anderson's Dad and not wanting to shoot your daughter's hepatitis donor and then yourself.

      I've only got boys, so it's a little like a blind man trying to imagine sight, but if it were my son(s) in that/those roles, I certainly wouldn't want death but would volunteer a hammer if we settled on just breaking their thumbs (esp. if we could keep the state out of it).

      1. "Mr. Upton"!

        That's MISTER Verlander to you, sir!

        1. Lucky devil. Hope the young lady is smart, or at least trainable, to go with that cuteness.

      2. I've got a daughter, 19-going-on-25, good looking (like her dad) with a figure.

        I'd be surprised if any compromising photos of her "got out". If they did, I'd laugh and tease her about it. (and she'd "take it like a man").

        Her mother, an only child who never toughened up, wouldn't laugh.

  15. But, what do millenials think about nudity?


    1. We support it.

  16. I remember in the 80s in high school some guys calling Madonna a slut for her music video that had her SFW nude chained to a bed that came out then.

    It was in the context that they liked her and then had a falling out because of it.

    I thought it an odd reason to stop liking her music.

    Anyway I was not a fan. It was not Rock and Roll so I didn't care either way.

    Desperately Seeking Susan was an OK movie.

    1. "My gawd we all thought you were dead"

      "No, just in New Jersey"

    2. There is no good reason to stop liking her music, because there was never a good reason to start.

      1. True Blue has some very strong pop tunes - evidence that Madonna has (had) a good ear.

        The Vogue video is still stunning - a piece of Fine Art.

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  18. If you think about. The only thing that really happened was that their pictures had an increased audience.

  19. I like Madonna's Music, but it may be something more to do with nostalgia (it was part of the soundtrack to my childhood/teen years) than talent.

    "Material Girl", "Open Your Heart", "Like a Prayer". I also liked "Beautiful Stranger".

    "I'll Remember".

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