This Jennifer Lawrence Photo Leak Says More About Us Than It Does About Her

by Kolby Solinsky

Editor, White Cover Magazine

LINE - White Cover Magazine

Sure, call it a scandal if you want. But don’t for a second pin this on Jennifer Lawrence, and don’t distract yourself by spending a second pinning anything on Ricky Gervais either.

Because this scandal and the fact we’re even calling it that says much more about us – and about one or two leakers – than it does about her. Or about Kate Upton. Or Ariana Grande, or whoever else was involved. Because we’ve already seen all of them in their underwear, and a couple of them in essentially nothing. We’ve seen Jennifer Aniston in only a tie. We have seen Angelina Jolie shower. And we know Brad Pitt’s had both of them.

Why are we so okay with and so entitled to celebrities’ private lives being our lives until their actual private lives become our theatre? That doesn’t make it right in the second case, but rather wrong in the first one.

And what has Jennifer Lawrence even done, anyway?

She’s taken some selfies. You can debate whether one thing R-rated is more R-rated than another but, in general, how are Lawrence’s photos any worse than anything a whole boat of Intagrammers and Chive submitters voluntarily post for everyone to see, gawk over, and ‘work out‘ to?

And I don’t mention them or link to them to shame them either. Because, I couldn’t care less – nude, nearly nude, or wrapped in a parka (and even that can be sexy, but it must be okay when it’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated) – and there’s no need for anyone to feel ashamed about a photo or two.

I’m just confused as to what’s so scandalous about sex and, even then, what’s so scandalous about an actress knowing she’s sexy when we all agree. I understand why Lawrence would be ‘horrified‘ about this sort of thing – after all, it’s embarrassing to have anything of yours tossed up on stage, whether it’s your nude pics, your drunken texts with a member of the opposite sex, or even the conversations you and your family have at your dinner table.

But Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t done anything, certainly not anything wrong, and we’re calling this a scandal. Because, and this is proof of just how stupid we normally are, there’s no other word for it. Sex is always a scandal, even though it’s just sex. And we’re uncomfortable with sex. We’re especially uncomfortable with it when it becomes public. Fair enough, I suppose. There must be a reason why we think about sex all the time but then shame those who get paid for it, whether it’s on camera or under a red light. There must be a reason Bill Clinton was mocked, tarred, feathered, and impeached for turning the White House into the Oral Office, but his predecessor and successor weren’t for raping the Middle East.

As Bill Maher has said, we – and by we, I’m meaning Canadians, Americans, and anyone who has their glass firmly affixed to the walls of Hollywood’s hotel room – are a society “of six-year-olds who scream and giggle if they see pee-pee parts.”

We’ll call this a scandal because we don’t know our way around a thesaurus, but J-Law hasn’t done anything illegal here. In fact, the only person who has is the one who snuck into her cell phone – or her computer, whatever – and stole her property and posted it for the rest of us to see. And we’ll look at it all, because it’s easier for us to consume than it is for us to stand up to something.

There’s a reason Lawrence’s last name is the one that keeps coming up first in these searches, not Upton’s or Grande’s or Gomez’s or whoever else. Why? Because Jennifer Lawrence will always be 30. She’s only 24 and she’s already 30. She’s cool and smart and beautiful and she’s all of those things in a combined, impressive, intimidating way that makes you feel guilty for even thinking it. When she was 20, she was 30. Because when she was 20, she looked like this. And since before we even knew her – or thought we knew her because, again, celebrities exist for us apparently – her acting has been as mature as her smile. She’s been nominated for three Academy Awards, winning once, and she wasn’t born until a year after the premiere of Seinfeld. We’re only targeting Lawrence because we desperately feel the need to target her. Because we’re sad and lonely and searching for something – anything – that might make us feel better about what we’re not doing, and what we’re not doing is winning Oscars and making millions from them. And for whatever reason, we must think a few photos of a stripped-down, posing Chosen One give us something over her.

We’re all a bunch of hungry hypocrites, easy-to-amuse fools who record and re-watch shitty shows like The Bachelor or Naked Dating or whatever the hell else comes next – 20 bucks it’s called Boobs vs Dick – where we’re absolutely content to watch the most airhead’d of us pimp themselves out, just as long as there’s a proposal at the end of it. Because that would somehow make it legitimate or digestible. And we did it with George RR Martin, because he wrote into Game of Thrones a scene where one of the show’s male leads, Jamie Lannister, raped his sister. And fans it took to Martin, blaming him for romanticizing the crime – because having it in a show is condoning it, I guess, unless it’s every damn episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. But really, fans were only upset with Martin because they had made Lannister into a hero to themselves and, when he turned out not to be one, they felt guilty for loving him still.

The fault, as always, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.

And you don’t need Shakespeare to understand that. You just need to step back and think about what you’re Googling and why – realize that it shouldn’t be an issue for Jennifer Lawrence if you’re prepared to search for it, or read about it, or enjoy the distasteful drama from the sidelines.

“In the end, it’s not Lawrence’s job to correctly “play,” and thus defuse, this potential scandal,” writes Buzzfeed’s Anne Helen Petersen. “Instead, let it be our task to perform the difficult but necessary labor of not being scandalized at all.”