Will Jennifer Lawrence's Nude Photo Scandal Kill Her Career? Of Course Not
If you haven't heard by now, then consider yourself lucky to have missed this latest showing of the flagrant disregard for women's privacy and respect for their bodies. Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities had nude photos leaked over the weekend without their permission by a hacker who has yet to be identified. Although many feminist voices spoke up about how violating an experience this and how to so much as look at the photos was akin to a sex crime, there were far, far too many people congratulating the anonymous hacker on doing good work and giving them a "gift" at the expense of another person. Lawrence and Kate Upton have justifiably gotten the authorities involved and the FBI is investigating the nude picture leak as of Monday. However, as they fight for justice, the question remains: how will this nude picture scandal affect Lawrence's career?
It's easy to want to say that it won't. After all, what does taking nude pictures of yourself have to do with playing Katniss Everdeen? What does someone leaking those nude photos to the Internet without your consent have to do with acting at all? However, it would be naive of us not to consider that this could forever change the way the world looks at Lawrence. After all, Monica Lewinsky's affair with then President Bill Clinton had nothing to do with her skill at her job as White House intern and yet it's all history seems to want to remember about her.
Lawrence is not the first celebrity to have a nude picture scandal and she's probably not the last celebrity who will have a nude picture scandal. At the very least, she is in good company among women who have managed to overcome this insane breach of privacy and change the narrative to give people something else to talk about. Take, for example, Vanessa Hudgens. In 2007, when she was still affiliated with Disney and appearing in the High School Musical films, Hudgens had her nude photos leaked onto the Internet, much to her embarrassment.
Worse, as a Disney star and thus a role model to children, Hudgens was forced to apologize for ever having taken the photos to begin with. While she wasn't dropped from the High School Musical franchise, as some speculated, the scandal was still referred to as a "lapse in judgment" on her part, as though she'd taken those private pictures in the hopes that someone would leak them on the Internet. As though this was somehow her fault. Despite the scandal, Hudgens went on to appear in High School Musical 3 and then Bandslam, Sucker Punch, and Spring Breakers, her career not so much as taking a dive from the scandal.
Another celebrity violated by a nude picture scandal was Scarlett Johansson. In 2011, someone leaked intimate photos of Johansson that she had reportedly sent to her husband, Ryan Reynolds, three years before the leak. The culprit was eventually found and sent to jail, but even before Johansson got her justice she still refused to bow and be a victim to her scandal. In a 2012 Vogue interview, Johansson said the nude picture scandal was sick and that, at the end of the day, something had been stolen from her. She might have been a victim but she was not sorry. And, considering she's currently internationally famous for her role as Black Widow in The Avengers (a character who might soon get their own movie, please, please, Marvel), I would say the scandal is far behind her as well.
Finally, in 2012, there was a notorious incident of two magazines publishing photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless at her private chateau. Yes, even the Duchess of Cambridge has had a nude picture scandal. She and Prince William immediately filed a criminal complaint against the people who had violated her privacy. In general most people were horrified at the lengths a paparazzo had gone to in order to get that photograph of Middleton's breasts to publish in a magazine rather than being horrified that Middleton had breasts, thankfully. Of course, there were still people who claimed her behavior was somehow inappropriate, but Middleton's reputation has suffered no real damage because of it.
Lawrence is one of the biggest, and the most simultaneously relatable, stars in the world right now and the right people are rallying around her and her efforts to get justice for this breach of privacy. She is not apologizing, she is not hiding, she is not denying anything, and she is not showing any display of shame or embarrassment at all. If anything, Lawrence has been justifiably angry and her righteous fury is teaching women that they are not to blame for taking sexy pictures of themselves that got leaked. Instead, they are victims of a sex crime and have a right to seek justice for themselves. If this scandal affects her career at all, it will only help her because the way she's handling it is so inspiring.
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