I was a bit behind the curve when it came to the news that photographs of an underclothed Jennifer Lawrence, along with several other actresses in a similar condition, had suddenly appeared in the digital ether without said actresses’ bidding. The first I heard of it was when I was directed to an article by Clementine Ford that said that this was a bad thing (yup), that it was a gross violation of said women’s privacy (agreed) and that people who went out of that way to look at the pictures were complicit in the said violation (on board with that as well). I then remarked, under the social media post that had pointed me to the article, that, while I couldn’t fault the author’s logic, this was indeed the first time I’d been aware of said pics of Ms Lawrence, and that in a tiny way, the article was helping to fan the flames, by letting people know that they were out there to be gawped at, if one so wished. I was immediately shot down, apparently because I was attempting to shut down women’s voices in the argument. So presumably had the article been written by a man making the self-same points — with which, as I said, I agree — I’d have been in the clear. Whatever. In the event, I suddenly became so jaded with the direction in which certain strands of modern feminism seem to be progressing that I was almost tempted to search for said pics of J-Law in the rudey nude, just to be obnoxious, until I remembered that she’s apparently going out with Chris Martin out of lame, bedwetting beat combo Coldplay so I don’t fancy her any more.
But still, I agree with what Ms Ford was saying, regardless of her chromosomes. It’s all about having control over your own body, innit? If Jennifer Lawrence wishes to flash her various inny and/or outy bits to the world, she should be permitted and if she doesn’t, it must not happen without her permission. And if she wants to show a lot of her body in a bikini, or not very much of it in a burqa, that’s up to her, and the same goes for men, so there. And then I read another article about another actress.
It’s Keira Knightley this time, who is lauded in the Telegraph for striking a blow for small-breasted women by, well showing off her small breasts in a magazine article. And there may well be a debate about whether this is a wise thing to do, or a moral thing, or even whether the pictures are any good. But I hope nobody would disagree that they’re Ms Knightley’s own small breasts and it’s bloody well up to her to cover them or uncover them as she sees fit. Except, apparently, whoever makes these decisions at the Telegraph; since, alongside the article (by a woman, incidentally, not that it should matter, although apparently it does) saying what a good thing it is she bared her small breasts, the only pictures have said small breasts obscured by a strip of the dullest grey.
Now, I’m not suggesting that this is an outrage against Ms Knightley’s dignity on a par with what Ms Lawrence and her colleagues have suffered. Just because KK elects to get them out, the Telegraph isn’t obliged to show them. It just seems that once again, a woman’s decision to do what she wants with her body is being overruled.
Except that now I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say that.