This article features artistic interpretations of private celebrity nudes. If that offends you then please turn away now and you can still claim the moral high ground next time those pics come up in conversation.
Are they gone? Great. Glad you’re still with us.
Here’s the context - Unless you’ve been living under a rock on Mars, you will by now have heard of ‘The Fappening’, which refers to the leaking of hundreds of celebrity nudes and videos earlier this year. This was followed by additional leaks in September to amass quite the library of illicit pics. The content ranges from mundane (posing fully clothed), to titillating (posing in underwear, flashing at the camera), to the hardcore (blowjob videos, masturbation, close-up selfies of vaginas and assholes and erect boyfriend’s cocks).
This begs several questions – firstly why would ANYONE want to take close-up pics of their asshole and send it to their partner, and secondly how stupid could these people be? Honestly, is it an American thing, this absolute self obsession and cultural acceptance for photographing every part of your naked body - with special attention to your genitals, of course!
This simple truth is thus, you really shouldn’t be taking naked pictures of yourself unless you're willing to entertain the possibility of adverse consequences. And that goes exponentially if you’re in the public eye. I refuse to buy into the argument that sharing nude pics is the new normal. I won’t mention names in this piece as I don’t feel these celebs deserve any publicity for their stupidity. Congratulations – you’ve got a naked body and a smartphone.
The act of stealing a stranger’s data is theft and whoever did so will probably be hunted down and duly prosecuted; as they should be for an illegal and immoral act. However since a certain A-lister came forward yesterday to say that looking at her tits constituted ‘perpetuating a sexual offense’ and calling for a change in the law to make such voyeurism a ‘sex crime’ – I feel like we need a reality check on the matter.
Take some personal responsibility for your digital footprint. If you don’t want this kind of material to be out there, don’t produce it. Simple as that. I have zero nude pics after a long-term, long distance relationship with my Parisian partner. Why? Because she made it clear from day one that she didn’t do ‘that sort of stuff’ - despite four years of spasmodic begging. This isn't the same as a peeping tom climbing up a tree and recording your sex life with a telephoto lense. All these pictures, from the intimate moments between lovers, to scenes more fitting in a biology textbook - all were taken with consent, either by the individuals themselves or as a willing participant in the fun and games.
At the heart of this indignancy seems to lay the vacuous solipsism of contemporary youth culture. Cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am – Habeo culus, I have an asshole; therefore I must take pics. Ultimately, this isn’t really an issue any rational person would particularly care about. Never mind about 14 million women forced into sexual slavery in India, forget about female genital mutilation, who gives two shits about child-brides or real issues facing women around the world; OMG YOUR VAG IS ON THE INTERNET. Quickly, sue Google for $100M. Maybe that will make it go away.
Finding humour in the whole debacle, Patrick van Haperen and Robin Meekel from Red Urban – a digital agency in Amsterdam – have unveiling the UNFappening. Their aim is to offer a tongue in cheek perspective on nudity, while highlighting the talents of brilliant international artist from Artbox. But to what end? Are they simply perpetuating an immoral breach of privacy and using it as a self-promotion piece – as some will no doubt be eager to accuse them of doing.
“The UNfappening invites artists from all over the world to help covering up the celebrities. One rule: cover it up!” And cover it up they have. The works portrays a depth of talent, myriad styles and illustrations, all conveying the sheer artistic skill that so many of us aspire to. “The UNfappening is a project that brings decency back to the victims”, Patrick Van Haperen told Adland, “while showcasing the works of artists.”
This isn't the first time we've seen sexual content cheekily adapted into Safe For Work pastiches. In 2008, Diesel launched their 'Dirty 30 Party' which showcased hardcore pornography in a cartoonish fashion - handjobs became shaking the maracas, cunnilingus, eating corn on the cob. It was funny in part because the porn had a retro value, seemingly dropped out of the 80s, and because of the ridiculous juxtaposition between what we saw and what we knew was really happening. It made an impact for being a brave choice and eight years later it still takes you by surprise, vigorous fingering becoming something else, something silly - almost self-deprecating in its facetious parody of sex. (Watch it here: https://adland.tv/node/145695)
Some will find criticism in using these private pics for any reason; it becomes a moral issue and an attack on those depicted. Others will see it as inspiring and uplifting; taking the erotic and transforming it into an entirely new and more beautiful thing. I’ll leave you to make your own mind up. One thing is for certain though – it takes a lot more skill to create a beautiful piece of art than to take a selfie of your genitals.
Check the artworks: https://www.theunfappening.com
The UNFappening was launched by Red Urban Amsterdam creative team Robin Meekel & Patrick van Haperen in collaboration with Artbox - https://www.redurban.nl/