Taylor Swift’s Unfair Photo Leak Is A Reminder She Should Be In Control Of Her Body & Privacy
Say what you will about her, there is one resolute truth when it comes to talking about Taylor Swift: She deserves her privacy and an outpouring of respect from the public. It's that simple. Overall, 2016 has not been a particularly kind year to Swift. It's largely been a quiet year for her, musically speaking. Rather, she's endured endless ridicule and speculation about her romantic life, traded barbs with the Kardashian-Wests, and found time to stay safe while surrounded by her besties to celebrate the good times. Now, a wholly unfair photo leak, related to Swift's ongoing sexual assault case against radio DJ David Mueller, has left her vulnerable again. It's a total invasion of her privacy, exposing her to unnecessary speculation. More importantly, it reminds us that no matter how famous a person may be, we are not entitled to their body, and a respect for privacy is necessary.
I will not link you to the photo in question. There is no need. Why? Because that photo was not intended for us to see. There's another link, acting as a middleman, which you can choose to click and follow the subsequent paper trail to the photo in question. But before you click, consider this: We now live in a world where our president-elect has condoned touching women without their consent. Do you really want to perpetuate a harmful practice when you have just as much power to end this harmful practice of communal delight in the embarrassment of a female celebrity?
The fact that Swift is embroiled in a sexual assault case is a harrowing event on its own. What this photo leak — an alleged smoking gun to Swift's claims — proves is that we continue to treat photos of female celebrities as mere fodder for our own enjoyment. By engaging with the photo, we are complicit in fueling in Swift's pain and are sharing a photo that was leaked without her consent. The photo is an extension of her body, and her sole rights to her body, which we have no ownership of. Do you have a right to Swift's body without her consent? In short: No. You don't own her; none of us own her. She is the sole owner of her body and all things related to her body.
Here's a bit of background: Back in 2013, Swift was in Denver, Colorado, at a pre-concert meet-and-greet. According to Billboard, while having her photo taken with Mueller and Mueller's girlfriend, Swift alleged that Mueller touched her butt without her explicit consent. In a transcript from the deposition, she reportedly said, "Right as the moment came for us to pose for the photo, he took his hand and put it up my dress and grabbed onto my ass cheek and no matter how much I scooted over it was still there. [...] It was completely intentional, I've never been so sure of anything in my life." As a result, Mueller attempted to sue Swift for slander, stating that he did not touch her; Mueller alleged that it was his boss that inappropriately touched her.
The photo was never supposed to be released to the public. Swift countersued an attempt to publicize the photo of the incident, according to Perez Hilton. As a result, the judge presiding over the case ordered the photo to be permanently sealed so as to avoid jury selection complications. Thus, it would appear that TMZ, who published the photo, may have violated a judge's orders, as well as the explicitly stated wishes of Swift herself.
It's tempting to click. I get it. It's easy to do so because you might be wont to think, "It's just one click. Nobody will know." But this is linked to a very real and painful situation for a woman a huge majority of us don't know. We own her the decency of her privacy during this trial. Better yet, why not give her your support — whether or not you like her music or her as a person? If she needs to regain control of her own image and remain on top, then we should not participate in a practice that augments her downfall.