A man's eye view: Scarlett Johansson's naked pictures

Filed under: Celebrity

A man's eye view: Scarlett Johansson's naked picturesPhoto: Getty

The first woman I ever loved was an American cheerleader called Kelly. Every Saturday morning for weeks I got up at the crack of dawn to sit and stare at her from afar. She did a dutiful job of ignoring my coy advances - her attentions forever trained on her charming blonde haired boyfriend - so much so that she never even learned my name.

Maybe it's because I was seven years old when it happened, but my love for Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, the actress who played cheerleader Kelly Kapowski in the hit TV show Saved By The Bell, lingered somewhere in me long after I'd forgotten all about her.

I know this because ten years later I idly plucked a copy of FHM magazine from the shelves of my local newsagent and flicked onto a picture of her, and felt it all come flooding back. The difference was that in this picture she wasn't the sweet, apple pie-picture of perfection I remember. She was topless.

It was my first taste of the familiar ambivalence that gripped many men earlier this week when naked pictures of actress Scarlett Johansson were leaked on to the internet. For men who sometimes feel bandied between their red-blooded and sensitive sides (I struggle to believe there is really any other type), the latest unwilling celeb sex tape or nude shot is often a source of inner conflict.

On the one hand, it appeals to an irrational sense of injustice all men carry with them. While many people point out how celebrity culture and the media place women inside a damaging carousel of unattainable beauty, men too walk a similarly depressingly daily gauntlet. We don't aspire to or feel objectified by the airbrushed beauties on billboards and bus sides, but instinctively, achingly, we want to have them.

And so, when a Rihanna or a Britney or a Scarlett pops up on the cover of seedy Sunday tabloid, exposed against her will, it feels, not merely titillating, but like a warped victory for the everyman - those of us too ugly or poor or unlucky to ever get a shot at the most beautiful, desirable women in the world.

But then there is the other side to it. The reaction that is far more in tune with our seven-year-old selves, for whom celebrity crushes were about something far purer than lust. The one that says 'poor old Scarlett'.

She hasn't accepted money to appear in Playboy, she's taken a playful snap on her phone, intended for no one but herself and (presumably) her loved one. What man hasn't received similar picture to those and felt, not just desire, but the warmth of trust.

To any real man a violation of that private intimacy, whether his or anyone else's, feels hollow and wrong.

And so it is that when confronted with yet another celebrity beach shot or callously auctioned private sex tape, many men walk a tightrope between the two strongest instincts women bring out in us: carnal desire, and a wish to protect.

And while we are never able to help ourselves, while we will always, always look, quite often seeing people naked who we have no right to see naked leaves us with a sense of regret rather than triumph.

You see. And you girls thought being desperate pervs just came easily to us...

By Sam Parker