Apple had a rather famous security breach not too long ago. The iCloud accounts of a bunch of celebrities were hacked and the hackers stole naked pictures and posted them to the internet. While I don’t know the people involved or the circumstances surrounding the taking of the pictures, the whole ordeal has highlighted just how different celebrity culture is from the culture of the rest of us. This difference might be important. A lot of ink is spilled discussing PhotoShop and body image, but what if this cultural disconnect gives people the wrong ideas about all kinds of things?
Before I start, I just want to make it clear that I’m not blaming the victims. The hackers are solely responsible and clearly in the wrong. And I’m also not accusing the people who were keeping naked pictures of themselves of being narcissistic or anything else. For all I know it’s a job requirement for actors. Maybe costume designers use the pictures for something or other.
Strangely, to me, the press coverage of the hack doesn’t make much mention of how odd it is that there were naked pictures of celebrities in the cloud. This is what really got me thinking about this. This seems to be a fairly normal thing for celebrities to do. Otherwise, the hackers would not have found anything or the media coverage would have at least had an explanation of what the pictures were doing there. If the celebrities think it is normal, and the press thinks it’s normal, do we run the risk of regular people thinking it’s normal. I don’t mean that in a prudish, “Somebody think of the children!” sort of way. I mean that, in general, people are not exactly open about what normal sexual practices are. I think we run the risk of people feeling like they are unusual. There is absolutely a range of normal, but if people think what they see in movies and on TV is normal, then no one will ever measure up to normal.
This is much more confessional than normal for me, but I thought I’d go through some of the common Hollywood themes that are presented as normal and compare them to what I think is normal. I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I’m pretty sure I fall into the range of normal.
Celebrity Culture: Hugh Hefner is presented as living some kind of ideal life. He’s rich, famous, and always surrounded by young, blonde women.
Gene Glotzer: Hugh Hefner makes me sad. His lifestyle seems to me like some cruel, twisted torture for having been really, really bad in a previous life.
CC: Movies and TV act like if a person goes a couple of days without having sex, the “dry spell” makes normal human functioning almost impossible.
GG: It is common to go days, weeks, or months without sex. Sometimes a person is sick, or busy, or doesn’t have a partner. It’s not that big a deal, and certainly not something to complain about openly. There’s always masturbation for a release.
CC: Women should be skinny and men should be hairless.
GG: Both women and men should look like themselves. I’ll bet the ideal look according to most men is to take a typical actress and add 20-30 pounds. I’ll go even further and say that most men honestly find their partners attractive. They’re not just pretending to get more sex. They honestly like what they see. I can’t speak for what women think of their partners, but I will say that as nice as sex is, it’s not worth the amount of shaving and waxing that would be necessary to look like a mannequin. And before anyone comments about women shaving their legs, I’m sure if women stopped shaving their legs, it would take men a couple hours to adjust and stop caring.
CC: Condoms are difficult to use and ruin sex.
GG: If a person has trouble putting on a condom, that person shouldn’t be having sex. They are quite easy. And if a person can’t have satisfying sex with a condom, that person isn’t doing it right.
CC: Men and women can’t be just friends.
GG: This is too ridiculous to need comment. I’m pretty sure literally every person I know has at least one friend of the opposite sex who isn’t a perspective sexual partner.
These are just a few of the things that I seem to see over and over again while watching TV and movies. When I see them, I always wonder if the writers have ever actually talked to a normal person. I just hope that everyone else watching has the same reaction.