"The Fappening" is hilariously appropriate
There are 60-odd naked pictures of Jennifer Lawrence circulating around the internet. No matter how much people like Lena Dunham beg the world not to look at the photos, we all know that thousands, probably millions, are staring at them right now. [Didact: That is an absolute certainty. Rule 34, luv.]
But what’s far worse is that I think we can safely assume that some aren’t just ‘looking’ at these private, nude photographs - they’re masturbating to them. [Didact: Uh, and you thought that guys would be passing them around while enjoying a spot of tea and biscuits, discussing Match of the Day? We're men. It's what we do. You have a boyfriend, right? Didn't you know this???]
It’s a truly horrible thought, and one of many that Lawrence is probably grappling with right now (although I hope she's off having a dry martini somewhere hot), but a quick glance at Reddit, the social media site where many of the pictures have surfaced, proves that it’s happening.
There’s already a subreddit (a thread) dedicated to “those leaked photographs”, with comments so graphic, sexist and plain nasty that I hope Lawrence, or any of the other female celebrities included in this hack, never see them.
The name of this discussion? 'The Fappening'. [Didact: +500 internetz to whoever came up with that one.]
For those who aren’t familiar with the term, it is a mixture of ‘the happening’ – quite simply, what’s going on – and the slang term ‘fapping,’ meaning masturbation. The portmanteau ‘The Fappening’ seems to have first been used in the title of the subreddit when it was created yesterday. Already it has more than 100,000 ‘Fappeners’. [Didact: OK, I'll admit, that's kind of disturbing.]
Its popularity has now led to the entire hacking scandal, where more than 100 A-listers are alleged to have been targeted, to become widely referred to as ‘The Fappening.’ The phrase is trending on Google, it’s being used by well-known websites, and it even has its own hashtag: #fappening2014.
I shouldn’t really be surprised. We’ve been attaching catchy monikers to serious situations ever since Watergate. Since then we’ve had countless others - including more recently and closer to home - Plebgate, where we all forgot about the fact that police officers were being accused of lying and just focused on 'the drama'. On a lighter note in the last week we’ve had ‘The Bincident’ in the Great British Bake Off, and earlier this year, a global campaign to raise money for charity was summed up with the hashtag #NoMakeUpSelfie.
It’s become second nature for us to not just describe a situation in 140 characters, but to reduce it to a hashtag. That’s exactly what’s happening here with ‘The Fappening’, but unlike #NoMakeUpSelfie or #EverydaySexism, it’s not really doing anything positive. Instead, it’s reminding us of the dirty reality of people sexually objectifying Lawrence et al without their consent, let alone their knowledge.
#Fappening2014 isn’t even raising awareness about the true impact that hacking can have - it’s just providing a way for people to easily make stupid jokes, derogatory comments and shame the women involved.
Now, on to business.
If there were real identity theft involved- credit card information, Social Security numbers, bank records, or other sensitive personal details- then Ms. Sanghani's outrageously outrageous outrage might actually have some meaning.
That is not what happened.
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And of course, expecting that attractive young women under the age of 30, who have lived in the public eye for virtually their entire adult lives, would understand what moderation and chastity means these days, is a bit much. It's like expecting a chimpanzee to build a space station with nothing more than a banana and a hammer.