I’ll never pretend to be Paige’s biggest fan. When she showed up in WWE, I was in the middle of a falling out with wrestling in general so she was never really on my radar. But I always heard about Paige, about how great she was, about how she was definitely going places, about how she was the future of women’s wrestling. By the time I finally decided to watch WWE again, Paige was already off television, dealing with an injury and being the subject of some…interesting stories involving Alberto Del Rio. Since then, she has been the butt of some jokes and the object of some concern, but I’ve never been particularly bothered by anything the fans say about her.
That is, until, there were rumors of nudes.
Since nude photos and videos of the former champion have been released, there have been mixed reactions. Some people (the good ones) have been critical of these things being leaked but certainly not critical of Paige. Other people (the bad ones) are thriving with the release of these photos and videos. “Paige is hot,” they say, “I’m glad I get to see her naked.” Because, you know, this is likely the only way they’ll ever see a woman naked anyway. Yet another group of people (not really good but not as bad as they could be) exist. These people are the ones who are blaming Paige for the leak. They say she should have known better, she shouldn’t have allowed these pictures/videos to be taken in the first place. If the masses view them, it is Paige’s fault.
While there is nothing to say about the aforementioned good people, there is a lot to be said about the other two groups. The bad ones are a good place to start, as they obviously need to be criticized. If you get off on a woman’s privacy being invaded, as Paige’s undoubtedly has been, there is something seriously wrong with you. I don’t care if you think she’s hot. I don’t care if you want to sleep with her. I don’t care if you’re a guy who will never see a nude woman in the flesh and this is your only chance to see their naked body. I don’t care. Any picture or video that has been leaked was not taken for you, no matter how hard you pretend that’s the case. Paige is a human being and deserves the right to privacy; she does not deserve a bunch of random, ignorant guys on Twitter seeing her like this.
To the other group of people who are blaming and/or shaming Paige, you are also in the wrong. Maybe this group isn’t as bad as the people who are applauding the leaks, but they aren’t exactly helpful either. Should Paige know that nude pictures can get into the wrong hands? Sure, we all – men and women alike – should be aware of this sad fact. Revenge porn is a very serious issue in the world today. Does that mean she shouldn’t have taken these photos? Paige is an adult and can do what she wants; no one can tell her what she should or should not do. Does that mean it is her fault that people are seeing these private images? Absolutely not. Putting this kind of blame on Paige does nothing but take away blame from the person (or people) who are actually in the wrong. Whoever leaked the pictures should face repercussions, not Paige. When Seth Rollins’s nudes were leaked a couple years ago, fans felt bad. His ex-girlfriend was blamed, people said she was in the wrong for exposing him like that. So why is Paige at fault now? Seth Rollins having nudes is okay why? Because he is a man and this type of behavior is expected from men? But Paige having nudes is wrong because…she’s a woman?
If Paige creates a sex tape with a fellow wrestler (or anyone else for that matter), is he to blame as well? Is he a slut? Is he an idiot who should have known better before having sex? Before having it documented? Should he face repercussions? No? Just Paige? I wonder why…
What people tend to forget (or willfully ignore) is that women can be sexual beings if they choose. It does not make them bad. It does not make them impure. It does not make them whores. Paige is an adult, a 24-year old woman, in control of her own body, and can take nude photos or make a sex tape if she wants. We cannot police her or any other woman if we disapprove of this behavior. It is her private life, not the WWE Universe’s business. Even though Paige is in the public eye, she is in no way at fault here. The images were not meant for our eyes in the first place, and Paige did not just randomly release them of her own accord. They were spread without her consent.
Whatever we think of Paige’s behavior in recent months—if we think she’s ruining her career by involving herself with Alberto Del Rio and getting wellness violations—it should still be obvious that she has been wronged. People are seeing her at her most private—and these people did not receive an invitation from her. Someone posting her personal photos is not something that should be celebrated. It should be condemned, no questions asked, and that condemnation should not fall on Paige’s shoulders.
If Paige tweets, “Personal and private photos of mine were stolen and unfortunately they were shared publicly without my consent,” that is not an invitation for you to say, “The photos were nice though.” Such a statement does not help Paige, it does not make her feel better. If anything, it will make her feel worse because now she knows that you looked at something she never intended for you to see, that you invaded her privacy. It is not your time to mock the woman whose privacy has been severely invaded. Saying such things to her does nothing but show her you do not understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate, respectful and disrespectful, decent person and human embodiment of trash.
Instead, her tweet is your cue to offer words of support and comfort, to sympathize with her current situation. Show her you care, tell her she did not deserve this, comment words of encouragement, reiterate that she is the victim here. If you do not believe these statements to be true, first of all, know that you are wrong, and then say nothing at all. Keep your awful thoughts to yourself. Do not belittle the woman and undermine her right to privacy.
Being a decent person is not some “PC liberal bullshit.” It isn’t radical or progressive for someone to know about Paige’s current situation and say, “Hey, maybe it’s rude to share/look at these photos and to blame Paige for them.” This shouldn’t be groundbreaking; it should be the norm. It’s called being a good person, and that shouldn’t be seen as a negative.
The pictures/videos are none of our business. We should not seek them out, we should not repost them, we should not look at them, we should not encourage others to look at them.
Do the right thing and respect Paige’s privacy.