Matt Smith gets his Sonic Screwdriver out

This week, Matt Smith became the latest celebrity to have his nude photos hacked in what has affectionately become known as “the Fappening”.

Despite the Eleventh Doctor’s close resemblance to an ugly woman, he is in fact one of the few men to have been involved in the scandal, joined only by Hulk Hogan’s son, Nick (nobody’s quite sure why?).

While I’m all for gender equality, it must be said that this latest round of hacks doesn’t really fit the narrative portrayed by the mainstream media. So far, both talk shows and the national press have been quick to conform to the stereotype of “hackers” as seventeen year old boys in their bedrooms, desperate to crack one off over “that fit one from Big Bang Theory”.

“Like a steaming dog turd curled into a perfect ouroboros, the celebrities feed the media, which ultimately feeds the celebrities”

Ironically, the assumptions behind this narrative are in themselves inherently sexist, both in the way they portray single men as desperate perverts, and in their underlying assumption that women couldn’t possibly know how to hack. It does however provide a nice simplistic scapegoat for journalists to waggle their grubby ink-stained fingers at.

Unfortunately, the issue runs far deeper than this. Through the release of male celebrity photos, it’s become increasingly apparent that the fappening isn’t just about female objectification. Instead, it relates to the even more commonplace objectification of human beings as a whole – through the vehicle of celebrity. This is a form of objectification so ingrained in our collective cultural psyche that we are guilty of it almost every time we open a newspaper or turn on the television set.

It doesn’t matter if we’re scrutinising their cellulite or casually reviewing their saudid holiday snaps, we analyse and objectify every single detail of their waking (and sleeping) lives.

As a result of this cultural obsession, is it any wonder that there are people who would be willing to go to jail just to grab a few shots of Matt Smith’s sonic screwdriver? Given that we already treat celebrities as little more than free pornography anyway, it seems unsurprising that the traditional bikini slip just isn’t doing it for anyone anymore.

There remains however, a particularly bitter part of me that desperately wants to blame the celebrities themselves for this shift. By whoring their lives out, the likes of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus could easily be viewed as having voluntarily voided their right to privacy. They sold their bodies and their minds for cash, click-throughs and column inches, and now, must suffer the consequences.

At the same time however, I find myself perpetually disappointed in the media for stringing along such sad individuals. Somehow the mainstream press (including several “reputable” publications) have even managed to exploit the Fappening itself as an excuse to further invade the privacy of the so-called “victims”. Like a steaming dog turd curled into a perfect ouroboros, the celebrities feed the media, which ultimately feeds the celebrities.

And do you know what’s in the direct centre of that moist brown dog turd? – That’s right it’s us.

We are the supporting wall that props up this cycle. Worse than either the celebrities or the media, we waste our hard-earned cash on trashy magazines and poorly made celebrity product ranges. We while away our limited hours on shows like X Factor, and linger for far too long on the “Guilty Pleasures” section of the morning Metro.

We are both the victim and the culprit of these hacks. We are the Fappening.

Alex Warren
Alex Warren
Miserablist, whiskey-drinker, and general tinpot shambles. Alex Warren has a weary pessimism for all things media, politics and tech.