By now, everyone has heard about the pictures taken of pop superstar Justin Bieber lounging naked outside of his hotel in Bora Bora. We’ve watched as countless news anchors complimented his –um- size (or insulted it) and cringed at his dad’s more than questionable comments about his own son’s manhood.
But despite this potentially embarrassing level of exposure, nothing changes for Justin. Which begs the question- What if he were a woman instead?
If naked pictures were taken of a female celebrity, you can’t help but expect that it would be a scandal- not shaming the person who violated her privacy, but rather, the celebrity herself. She would be instantly denounced simply for relaxing on vacation in the comfort of her own hotel. Parents would tell their children not to support her. She might even lose contracts with any sort of brand she sponsored.
This may sound extreme, and it is true that Justin’s privacy was also extremely violated, but it has been the reality for many famous women when nude or risqué photos of them are made public. Earlier this year, Demi Lovato posted an Instagram rocking a skimpy bikini top. She looked great, but received countless comments on the post calling her “cheap” or “slutty.” Meanwhile, Justin Bieber posted a picture of his bare butt on social media and received much less criticism.
Over the years, we’ve seen countless female celebrities have their privacy violated and then had to apologize for something that no one else was every supposed to see. In 2007, nude photos that High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens meant to send only to then-boyfriend Zac Efron became available to the public. Disney-girl Hudgens had to issue a public apology, and Disney condemned the incident as a “lapse in judgement,” according to the LA Times. Despite this, she still received a ton of criticism and was even dubbed “VaneXXXa Hudgens” by celebrity gossip-monger Perez Hilton.
More female celebrities fell victim to a similar situation in 2014, when an iCloud leak released intimate photos of dozens of famous women to the public. Among them was actress Jennifer Lawrence, who, like the awesome person she usually is, refused to apologize in spite of numerous critics.
The bottom line is, that while every one sits here and laughs about Justin Bieber’s you-know-what, his career is still going to be fine. He is not going to be called a slut for being comfortable in his own skin. He is not going to have to issue a public apology, he will not be publicly denounced by business partners, and his life will probably not be affected all that much. Society hypersexualizes women’s bodies, yet condemns these women when they choose to own their sexuality, in public or in private.