Would The Reaction To Chris Evans’ Nudes Be Different If He Was A Woman?
Captain America star Chris Evans accidentally leaked his own nude photos recently by uploading them to his Instagram story.
Some screenshots of the Instastory have made their way onto the internet, but for the most part, there’s been a wide agreement driven by Evan’s fans that his privacy should be respected and the nudes shouldn’t be spread.
The reaction to the leak has led to a lot of interesting commentary about how differently Evans is being treated compared to say, female celebrities who have had their nude photos appear on the internet in the past.
So, is the treatment of Evans’ nude really a sexist double-standard?
What Did Chris Evans Do?
Evans leaked the nude by publishing a video on Insta story that included an inadvertent look at his camera roll.
Discussions about the slip-up quickly went viral and Evans started trending on Twitter.
His Marvel co-star Mark Ruffalo tweeted a joke about it, his younger brother made a light-hearted reference to it but for the most part, Evans was protected by his legions of fans who insisted that the images shouldn’t be spread.
Evans’ fans highlighted on Twitter that Evans has spoken openly about his struggles with anxiety, and that sharing the photo would be insensitive to that.
They chose to swamp Twitter with wholesome images of the actor and his rescue dog instead.
A Sexist Double-Standard?
The reaction to Evans’ nude leak was, overall, incredibly respectful – so much so that he even felt comfortable making his own reference to it in a tweet encouraging followers to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
But that respectful reaction to a male actor’s accidental leak has really posed the question of ‘Would it be the same if a female actor had done it?’
Kat Dennings posted this tweet suggesting that it wouldn’t and the Independent published that even though what happened to Evans is undoubtedly traumatising, he probably won’t be experiencing the same sexist slurs, rape threats or fears about professional opportunities that women do.
There are some pretty obvious historical examples of women being treated terribly when their nudes make their way into the public eye.
Back in 2007, Vanessa Hudgens, who was 18-years-old at the time, became one of the first stars to have their privacy breached in a nude photo leak.
Hudgens was widely criticised for the photos and she was forced to release an apology saying that she regretted ever taking them.
Then in 2014, Jennifer Lawrence copped blame when hackers accessed the iCloud accounts of a bunch of celebrities, and explicit photographs of her were distributed online.
There was more acknowledgement after the leak of Lawrence’s photos from fans who supported her as a victim of theft but there was still an overwhelming amount of cynicism from people who maintained that the actor was responsible for taking the photos in the first place.
The same attitude pervaded Whoopi Goldberg’s response when Bella Thorne’s photos were stolen and used to blackmail her last year.
But there’s also an argument that what happened with Evans’ nude might not be totally to do with sexist differences.
The mass leak that included Jennifer Lawrence’s photos happened in 2014, a few years before the #MeToo movement went viral.
Heather Schwedel is a writer at Slate and she said that we might have just reached the point in conversations about consent where we can understand that sharing photos of a dick pic is a violation.
The concept of revenge porn has also become more widely understood and more jurisdictions are passing laws against it.
Here in Australia, legislation against revenge porn has now been passed in every state and territory besides Tasmania.
Schwedel also pointed out that the act of taking nudes has become far more normalised than it was even back in 2014 so the act of consuming them without permission has evolved much more into something to be ashamed of.
There are good reasons to speculate that the public’s treatment of Chris Evans after his nude leak is an example of a sexist differences between how we perceive male and female celebrities.
But it also may just be that the world has moved on from mocking and criticising people for these naked photos, and we can only hope that the next time this happens to a female celebrity, they’ll be treated in much the same way as Chris Evans was this time.