Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been making waves in Congress since she was elected as the representative of New York’s 14th district — mostly because of her fire and drive to do what she believes is helping this country, but also because she has become a pillar of political social media.

Ocasio-Cortez, sometimes referred to as AOC, has been known for challenging other Congressional leaders to stay true to what their constituents need, bringing a younger voice on to the floor and for her excellent use of social media.

Recently, photographs with AOC’s face photoshopped on to a nude unknown body have surfaced on Reddit. Even though they didn’t appear to be the best edited images, people still believed that these photos were this political leader’s nudes. Backlash ensued, and AOC was at the center of some harsh criticism from more conservative citizens and other politicians.

When AOC’s “nude photographs” were uploaded to Reddit, many people questioned if this would be a new trend involving younger government officials. There were concerns about their “dirty laundry” being aired out online which could possibly affect their reputation and their work. But their level of responsibility should not be contingent on whether or not they’ve taken a nude photo.

We have seen nude photographs being stolen and later “leaked” on the internet quite often, usually involving a celebrity or a well-known person. Through pop culture references, and personal experiences, we know what happens when a nude makes its way through the cellular grape vine. Even the most innocent people can have their lives turned upside down when someone hacks into their personal files and publicly humiliates them.

People are going to take nude photos and with taking these photos, people should not be regarded as irresponsible or careless. Taking nude photos doesn’t make you a bad person. Wanting to express yourself that way doesn’t mean you’ll be reckless with your job, or mean you can’t handle responsibility. It means that you’ve found a way where you feel comfortable with expressing yourself, and you would like to document that.

Even though we’ve all been told hundreds of times not to take naked photos, people still take them. But a majority of the time, people are protecting these photos and only sending or sharing these pictures with a partner or someone they trust. But sometimes, those photos are stolen or distributed more than originally intended. It’s an uncomfortable situation for everyone involved but most importantly, it affects the pictured person the most.

In an age where we are trying to stop victim blaming, we should stop judging people whose nude photos hit the internet. The more attention we give to illegally published nude photographs, the more we are inherently shaming the people who took these photos to begin with instead of shaming the person who exploited them. People are going to do whatever they want, they’re exercising free will. But when their personal property is exploited, we should stand by those who are victimized instead of placing blame upon them.

Opinions expressed in The Nevada Sagebrush are solely those of the author and do not necessarily express the views of The Sagebrush or of its staff. Jacey Gonzalez studies journalism and can be reached at and on Twitter @NevadaSagebrush.