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In the years since ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden exposed the federal government's secret surveillance of the American public, young women around the globe have, in turn, exposed themselves to him. These lone lusters have taken to the internet, sending off their deepest desires on Twitter like love letters tied to the feet of modern-day carrier pigeons.
This isn't a new development: Back In 2013, the Daily Beast proclaimed that Snowden had become an internet sex symbol after his leaking of classified information became an international scandal. But his adoring fans haven't gone away, their desire has seemed to have only deepened. By January 2016 Snowden's stud factor reached an all-time high when he publicly warned women on Twitter to stop DMing him nude photos, lest the government acquire them. Perhaps Snowden's appeal can be pinned to his good looks or charm—or maybe it's rooted in his virtuous rebellion against invasive systems of governmental power.
"I like that there is nothing sexual about him," Ana* told me. "It makes him even more sexually appealing to me." She's had her eyes on Snowden since he first became a public figure. It's that dry analytical look—everything from his half-rimmed eyeglasses to his seemingly starched dress shirts—that turns her on. Snowden caught her eye immediately, but the feeling solidified as she read about him: "When I learned about the leak my feelings for him got stronger," Ana said.
There's something naughty about Snowden's whistleblowing; it makes some women go crazy for him. Take Mabel, another Snowden fangirl. "Edward Snowden is the sexiest hacker I know," Mabel told me. "He's so bad, I can hardly stand it. But at the same time, he's so good." And it's that combination that seems to really get to people.
Mabel told me that Snowden has integrity and that he's courageous and thoughtful—traits that also turn Ana on. "The fact that he took the risk of going to jail or having to leave the country (apparently forever) makes him more attractive," Ana said. "It's always better to fuck someone that is a rebel."
"I admire his fearless dedication to achieving a better world," Mabel exclaimed. "The combination of fearlessness and integrity is intoxicating."
Lily* is in her mid-twenties and also loves Edward Snowden. "When I first saw him appear on camera—he was so modest and forgot to introduce himself and did a cute little laugh—I realized that he was very hot and, in fact, my celebrity crush," she told me. Because she is apathetic, Lily isn't particularly concerned about the government's secret mining of her metadata, and she's not typically drawn to beta boys, yet nonetheless Snowden has mysteriously aroused her. "I think that what Snowden did was very honorable," Lily said. "I do not think he committed treason, other than treason of my heart."
I like that there is nothing sexual about him. It makes him even more sexually appealing to me.
Given the great deal of sexual heat directed toward him on Twitter, Snowden is obviously aware that many women want his dick—but does he really understand how much some women pine after him? Ana thinks Snowden was clueless to it in the beginning of his rise to international fame but is now painfully aware. According to her, Snowden has recently started tending to his looks more, which she considers completely unnecessary, since it is the absence of Snowden's sexuality that she finds so hot. "I know that in the next interview for VICE he doesn't wear any glasses (I hate that)," she said.
Until she fell for Snowden, Ana didn't give a shit about government surveillance. But after falling in lust with the vigilante, she feverishly devoured every article and documentary she could find on the topic. Yes, Snowden is hot to her, but it's the words that leave his lips that have ensnared her. "Everything he says sounds amazing to me," Ana swooned.
"He's humble and magically articulate," Mabel agreed. "I could listen to him talk all day." But that might not be realistic, she fears. "I can't imagine what I could offer to Edward Snowden to add value to his life," Mabel said sadly. "But I like to think that Edward Snowden is kind of like a saint. He loves humanity, so maybe he could love me."
Lily, on the other hand, is certain Snowden would benefit greatly if he had her in his life, even if he doesn't know it yet. "I probably take far better nudes than all the other girls who DM him," Lily said.
I like to think that Edward Snowden is kind of like a saint. He loves humanity, so maybe he could love me.
But where Mabel is doubtful—and Lily adamant—that Snowden's life would be better with them in it, Ana is certain Snowden's life would only become worse if he were to meet her. "I would love for him to know that I exist," Ana told me. "But he wouldn't benefit from having me in his life at all. I would probably make his life miserable and create so many sexual traumas that, after a while, he would hate me."
What could make these women stop feeling so strongly for Snowden? How would they feel if he weren't an infamous whistleblower and, instead, was just a generic computer guy, one in a sea of nameless employees at an electronics store like RadioShack? "If Edward worked at RadioShack, let's face it, I would still think he's hot," Mabel said. Yet she admits that the infamy does play a big part in her idolization of Snowden. Without it, her obsession would never have gotten this bad.
Lily says that her love wouldn't waver if Snowden was a nobody. "He would be the most honorable man at RadioShack," she said. Ana disagrees, though. She admits that if she saw Snowden working at a shop at the mall she'd likely think he was "cute" but it wouldn't be much more than that. It's Snowden's actions that have burned him into her heart forever. "He knew he was going to be super famous after leaking. I think he didn't only want to expose the government—he [also] wanted to be someone. And now he is."
By becoming an advocate for privacy rights in the age of surveillance, and subsequently becoming a sex icon, Snowden has surpassed the men in these women's lives in many ways. Mabel believes the men she knows could learn a lot from Snowden. They could learn "to have integrity, to be brave, to be selfless, to be humble, to follow their good intentions thoroughly to action, to be kind, and never to underestimate the impact of a nice wire rim," she said. But Ana disregarded this completely, stating there was nothing any man in her life could possibly learn from Snowden, presumably because he is far greater than they.
Lily made this point frighteningly clear. She knows no man can learn anything from Snowden because all other men are far too weak and small to contain his magnitudes. "That is like asking what a mere mortal could learn from a god of old," Lily said, scaring me a bit. "They are welcome to emulate him, but it is sheer hubris to think that they could become like him."
Though they are obsessed with Snowden, neither Lily nor Ana feels like they have anything to say to him. Ana would like to have hot sex with him without any words at all: just one mind-blowing night to remember forever. Lily almost had a panic attack just considering what she might say. I was both impressed and disturbed in my interviews with these women. Their desire for Snowden is severe and very real.
Because so much of his appeal is based upon what he has done in the interest of greater good, Snowden has won countless hearts around the world. Mabel has just one thing she'd like to tell him: "Thank you for giving me hope."
* Names have been changed