I KNOW you’re going to be disappointed, but hear me out.
Full disclosure? I looked. I looked right away. As soon as I read that, while doing a squat and shredding his guitar with passion, Lenny’s leather pants gave up and released the Kraken, I hurried to see it. He’s Lenny effing Kravitz: a stunning specimen of rockstar man, both physically and melodically, who was literally rocking out with his c*ck out. But in saying that, I already recognize that those are meager justifications for bad behavior; because if we flip the genders here, we’d be flipping sh*t over men doing the same.
“I wonder if we should be posting all that Lenny Kravitz stuff,” my editor cautioned. “I feel like we wouldn’t do that if it was Nicki Minaj’s vagina that popped out and got photographed.” Flavorwire agreed, similarly admonishing, “…honestly, if this had been a woman whose genitals had been splashed all over the Internet, everyone would be outraged, and rightly so.”
And we’d retweet angry sentiments against the media for exploiting a women’s body.
We’d point out that a female’s celebrity status doesn’t diminish her basic rights to privacy and dominion over her body and image. (Remember Nudegate 2014?)
We might even note that people of color have too long been fetishized in our culture and that reducing the performance of a skilled, hardworking black entertainer to a mere sex show contributes to that fetishization.
We wouldn’t retweet how sexy it was if it were a woman, and we wouldn’t reshare GIFs swooning over it if it were a female, either.
Maybe it’s because it becomes so easy to focus on these issues when they apply to women in the media — since they’re objectified more than men are, in so many different ways — that it takes us longer to recognize them when they apply to men. But that’s not a good excuse, either. And while what has been seen can never been be unseen — or unshared — we can at least promise to remember in the future that “feminism = the equal treatment of men and women” should apply to things like deciding not to share pictures of celebrities’ genitals, too.