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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Column: Sexting for Dummies

I feel like the web is constantly being inundated by pictures of naked celebrities. You’d think that someone who spends their life in the spotlight (especially hot on the trails of the likes of Paris Hilton and Kendra Wilkinson) would have realized by now that, as long you’re famous enough, there’s no such thing as a private part.

Alas, Scarlett Johansson is the most recent to find herself in this exact quandary, joining the naked ranks of Vanessa Hudgens, Pete Wentz, Chris Brown, Vanessa Hudgens again, Blake Lively and Anthony Weiner. However, unlike her peers, Johansson delivered a response recently that was as unapologetic and candid as the photoset itself: “They were sent to my husband. I know my best angles […] There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not like I was shooting a porno. Although there’s nothing wrong with that either.” ScarJo brings an excellent point to the table; after all, isn’t it her body that the rest of the world is suddenly looking at without her permission?

Before we go any further, I would like to take this chance to give my less savvy readers a brief preface on the fine art of sext messaging. (This paragraph is strictly technical so feel free to skip it if all you’re here for are the bad puns and pop culture references.) The premise is simple: snap a quick picture of your genitals and send it to a recipient of your choice. In fact, it doesn’t even have to be a picture of your genitals. You could send a picture that reveals only part of your genitals, or comes very close to revealing your genitals — there’s still some wiggle room to keep things classy. Scarlett Johansson, for one, included a picture of her butt — this is somewhat unorthodox, but part of the experience is doing what feels sexy at the time, so Mazel Tov to Miss J and her curvaceous backside!

Let’s rein this back in to Scarlett Johansson: pardon the uncharacteristically plain delivery, but I found Miss Johansson’s reaction to the whole incident absolutely awesome. Rather than equivocating and apologizing to the public for her indiscretion as most other celebrities might, she pointed out that what she did is not something out of the ordinary or something to be ashamed of. People from all walks of life send pictures of their junk – famous or not – across a wire, assuming they have access to the proper technology. You might even say it’s an American right – the right to bare much more than just arms. God bless!

This isn’t to say that everyone should be able to get away with their sext escapades just because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. There are some instances in which people should just know when to keep it in their pants. For one purely hypothetical instance: if you’re a married politician, don’t film a sex tape or publicly message an image of your erection. This tenet should be simple enough to adhere to. People have sex every day in the absence of a camera; last I checked, a lens’ focus doesn’t enhance the various sensations of intercourse.

It might infringe upon your private rights, but it’s common knowledge that extensive publicity comes with the territory of celebrity status, meaning nearly constant visibility and scrutiny by the public eye. To put it simply, when you’re in the spotlight, don’t do something that you don’t want the world to see. It isn’t necessarily fair, but it’s common sense. At the same time, though, Scarlett doesn’t seem to be asking for sympathy. Scarlett’s victimization is the result of her own photography and a hacker’s tech wizardry, but it’s her lack of hangdog woe-is-me upset that seems to reflect the blame for the supposed scandal away from herself.

After all, none of this would be a newsworthy ordeal if we the people weren’t accessing Miss J’s private photographs via the internet or drawing attention to them through various news media (my bad). All of this would be long-since swept under the rug if she had been just another ordinary citizen. Anatomy itself isn’t a scandalous thing: nobody ever looked at Venus in the half shell and called her a slut.

DYLAN GALLAGHER, of cleverblog.tumblr.com fame, awaits your praise, commentary and naked photo submissions at dylaaaaan@gmail.com.

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