Twitter peeps, Facebook friends, Tumbler folks and writers of all sorts said something — and what they said was important. But even more important than what they said was how they said it:
Sure. Most people understand that hacking, stealing, and distributing stolen goods is wrong. In the most egregiously reductive sense, that’s what happened to Jennifer Lawrence and so many others when their private photos were stolen, sold, and distributed online.
But it wasn’t just an issue of someone breaking into Jennifer Lawrence’s house, stealing her silverware set or vinyl collection, and selling it on the street. It was more than that.
While most people get that we don’t have a right to other people’s property, what we still need to learn is that we don’t have a right to women’s bodies — we don’t have a right to see them, to touch them, or to own them. We have no right to tell a woman what she should or shouldn’t do with her body. We have no right to tell a woman how she should feel about her body, nor do we have any right to tell a woman how we feel about her body — no matter what her body looks like, and no matter how she chooses to use it.
And that’s why I’m strangely heartened by the discourse surrounding this most recent crime.
The fact that so many people framed their outrage in terms of consent and violation is evidence of meaningful progress toward valuing women’s rights to choose how, where, and with whom they share their bodies. The language means people are starting to understand that a woman’s body is not community property, no matter what she does for a living or what she does in private, regardless of how or when she chooses to use her body in her public or private life, and no matter what her body looks like or how attractive we might find it.
A woman’s body is her own. She chooses when, where, and how she’ll share it.
It doesn’t matter what she does for a living. It doesn’t matter if she takes nude selfies. It doesn’t matter if she’s hot.
Her body is her own. Period.
We’ve got a ways to go, but this is something.