Monday, May 11, 2015

The Danger of Sexting

The war on shame continues apace.  

Freud launched the opening volley, but his followers have continued to fight the good fight against modesty, decorum and propriety.

Shamelessness has thus become accepted and even lauded.

We tell people to be open and honest about their sexuality. We glorify memoirists who tell their most sordid secrets. We watch more pornography than is good for us. We teach sex education to children who are too young to understand it.

We do it all because we believe that a good sex life is not only a constitutional right but the solution to all of our mental health problems.

As Camille Paglia noted, we live in a decadent culture. Unfortunately, we are not even very good at it. Witness the amateurish version of decadence in Fifty Shades of Grey.

The culture of exhibitionism took root because those who found it wrong were afraid to oppose it. They had been told that a refusal to countenance shamelessness would reveal them to be sexually repressed prudes… and worse.

Thus, everyone acquiesced, blindly. Precious few people understood that sexual desire thrives on modesty and wilts when overexposed.

After Freud launched the first attacks on modesty, others followed suit. Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt were happy to profit from it. Some feminists were appalled by the pornification of the female body, but many others encouraged women to liberate their sexuality.

Women’s liberation meant speaking openly and honestly and shamelessly about their sexuality, insisting on having their fair share of orgasms and having sex like men.

The only protection women needed was a condom.

It all led to the hookup culture and an epidemic of sexting. One hopes that adult women understand the risks in such behavior. One knows very well that teenage girls do not. Need we mention that teenage boys, as morally underdeveloped as teenage girls, cannot be trusted with sexted images of their female classmates.

Sexting took root in a culture that had overthrown the code of gentlemanly and ladylike behavior. Everyone was being encouraged to act like they did not respect themselves. The results were predictable.

While any mother with an ounce of sense is telling her teenage daughters not to sext, some women, especially of the radical feminist variety have encouraged sexting. Others have acquiesced because they believe that there is nothing they can do to stop it. Children act accordingly.

Radical feminists see sexting as the next phase of sexual liberation, a contribution to a full and rich sex life and a new form of courtship.

If a bunch of sixteen year old boys ogles the images and makes disparaging comments to the girl in question, they are abusive bullies.

No one wants to excuse boys for bullying, though one ought to notice that often the bullies are of the female persuasion.

But, no one should imagine that the girls who send out these images do not have a measure of responsibility for their behavior. Or better, their parents should feel some measure of responsibility for not having taught them the difference between shame and shamelessness.

Unfortunately, in the moral universe of feminism, women cannot even be called foolish or foolhardy. One cannot say that they might have done better not to get drunk and sleep naked with a boy. One understands that No always means No, but no sensible and caring individual should encourage young women to engage in unnecessarily reckless behaviors.

The result: more girls and young women behave recklessly and irresponsibly.

It’s almost as though radical feminists see women as victims of oppression who have the right to do whatever they please. If something bad happens, the fault lies with those moral monsters called men.

The concept can easily be applied elsewhere. Feminism offers women a life plan, a way to live their lives, to conduct their relationships and to date and mate.

Sometimes, dare we say, women who follow this feminist life plan discover that things do not work out as promised.

Who is responsible? Who is at fault?

The people who sold these plans bear some responsibility. The women who followed them freely also bear some. If things do not work out, it may be that the plan was ill-conceived.

And yet, feminists are more likely to blame men, to blame the patriarchy, to blame sexism when reality fails to correspond to their visions and dreams.

In the not-too-distant past women controlled the way people looked at them by varying their appearance. Different circumstances and different life situations required different dress codes.

Most women understand this perfectly well. The fashion industry is not short on products that allow women to define themselves as social beings in the world. That is, to expose or cover up as much or as little as they please, the better to control the way they are seen.

Now, of course, women are encouraged to dress to show how they feel about themselves. If a woman dresses like a vamp and a man gets the wrong message, if he ogles and leers, if he even tries to strike up a conversation, he is engaging in sexist abuse.

When people overcome their sense of shame, it is no longer about how you look to others but how you feel about yourself.

The result is that when a girl engages in sexting, for the purpose of expressing their affection for a boy, anything the boy does with the picture is solely his fault.

Unfortunately, the girls know that they bear some responsibility, but they are too young to know how to deal with the accompanying anguish, the sense of having failed a fundamental social responsibility: to cover one’s sex, to keep it from public view.

With adolescent sexting the war on shame has gone about as far as it can. While boys are almost as likely to sext as girls, everyone understands that images of female nakedness have far, far more value. One needs only to have a passing knowledge of the market for pornography to know which images attract the most attention.

A recent study from Great Britain has confirmed what many of us suspected. Sexting is dangerous and reckless behavior for girls. It causes extreme psychological distress and even invites bullying that compounds the distress.

The Daily Mail has the story:
Sexting and online bullying are fuelling a surge of anxiety disorders in teenagers, experts warn.

The problem is particularly severe for girls who fall victim to cruel remarks about their appearance and weight.

Figures from the Priory Group, the country's largest organisation for mental health hospitals and clinics, show admissions for anxiety in teenagers has risen by 50 per cent in only four years.

And also,

MPs and medical professionals want schools to teach children about the tragic consequences of sexting and online bullying.

Dr Natasha Bijlani, consultant psychiatrist at the Priory Hospital Roehampton, South-West London, said: 'This relatively new phenomenon of sexting – where explicit texts and pictures are sent between smartphone devices – seems to have become endemic, and we are not sure of the long-term consequences.

'However, coupled with online bullying, we can expect an increasing number of people suffering issues of trust, shame, and self-loathing, sometimes manifesting itself in self-harming.'

She said sexting was now seen as the 'new courtship' but often had 'nightmare consequences'.

'The long-term effects of bullying can be prolonged and pervasive,' she added. 'Much more focus needs to be given to how best to educate young people about the risks of sending compromising images, and communicating with unknown others online, and how to cope with bullying via devices at school.

'Episodes in childhood are often repressed and only later in life do these issues surface in the form of depression, stress and anxiety and other serious psychological conditions.'

Jenny Edwards, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation charity, said: 'There is a need for schools to lead on promoting emotional wellbeing. We know that over half of adults with serious mental health problems were first diagnosed when children.

'But we need to recognise that while new technology may increase stress in some circumstances, it can also reduce it by creating online support and increasing access to treatment.'

Anyone who cares about the emotional well-being of girls will tell them NOT to sext. It isn’t that complicated and you won’t look uncool or Puritanical. Better yet, let's bring back the codes of gentlemanly and ladylike behavior.


Ares Olympus said...

re: Anyone who cares about the emotional well-being of girls will tell them NOT to sext. It isn’t that complicated and you won’t look uncool or Puritanical. Better yet, let's bring back the codes of gentlemanly and ladylike behavior.

It's hard to disagree with the first advice. And with regards to any adult or parental advice, I've read that teens care more than they act, so setting standards at minimum helps a teen resist peer pressure.

I do confess I have little idea what encourages girls or young women towards "sexting", at least of the photographic side. And myself, I've never seen such a thing. The closest I've seen is the Facebook duckface selfie style, underdressed for general consumption, those not meant for "your eyes only" assuming the "private" versions are the only ones we're concerned about?

But maybe not, the Daily Mail article looks more general:
Psychiatrists blame sexting, in which youngsters text explicit photos of themselves to friends who then comment. They say some see it as a 'form of courtship' and the chance to be noticed by the opposite sex.

But the photos can provoke extremely unkind comments, particularly if unflattering images of someone are sent round behind their backs.

So this article looks more about any sort of photo that might be mocked or criticized.

So the message doesn't look like "The danger of sexting" but "The danger of sharing online" of any sort.

So if we're going to give advice, I think we need to be more clear.

Never take a selfie and share it?

That might be as good as any advice. But if you overstep your advice, then you'll be ignored too, so again, how do we be clear what we're suggesting?

Ares Olympus said...

Here's one webpage with advice to discourage sexting, and it seems to imply more than just "sexy poses" but pictures "without clothes", still seems ambiguous to me. Is it sexting if a girl sends a picture of herself in a bikini at a swimming pool, i.e. sounds NOT, but such photos are not necessarily any "safer" from humiliation or mockery.
Sexting” refers to sending a text message with pictures of children or teens that are inappropriate, naked or engaged in sex acts. According to a recent survey, about 20 percent of teen boys and girls have sent such messages. The emotional pain it causes can be enormous for the child in the picture as well as the sender and receiver--often with legal implications. Parents must begin the difficult conversation about sexting before there is a problem and introduce the issue as soon as a child is old enough to have a cell phone.

Here are some tips for how to begin these conversations with your children:

•Talk to your kids, even if the issue hasn’t directly impacted your community. “Have you heard of sexting?” “Tell me what you think it is.” For the initial part of the conversation, it is important to first learn what your child’s understanding is of the issue and then add to it an age appropriate explanation (see next bullet).

•Use examples appropriate for your child’s age. For younger children with cell phones who do not yet know about sex, alert them that text messages should never contain pictures of people--kids or adults--without their clothes on, kissing or touching each other in ways that they’ve never seen before.

For older children, use the term “sexting” and give more specifics about sex acts they may know about. For teens, be very specific that “sexting” often involves pictures of a sexual nature and is considered pornography.

•Make sure kids of all ages understand that sexting is serious and considered a crime in many jurisdictions. In all communities, if they “sext”, there will be serious consequences, quite possibly involving the police, suspension from school, and notes on the sexter’s permanent record that could hurt their chances of getting into college or getting a job.

•Experts have noted that peer pressure can play a major role in the sending of texts, with parties being a major contributing factor. Collecting cell phones at gatherings of tweens and teens is one way to reduce this temptation.

•Monitor headlines and the news for stories about “sexting” that illustrate the very real consequences for both senders and receivers of these images. “Have you seen this story?” “What did you think about it?” “What would you do if you were this child?” Rehearse ways they can respond if asked to participate in inappropriate texting.

•Encourage school and town assemblies to educate parents, teachers and students.

Ares Olympus said...

Here's a "how to" page, with only #7 about pictures, and it pretends to offer a middle ground. So obviously the goal of a parent must be to show there is no middle ground, and all of these suggestions are risky, unless of course this is all just for fun, and no big deal?!

It seems like a parent needs actual range of examples, and ask a teen which ones are inappropriate, and which ones might be embarressing if shared wider, etc. How to Turn a Guy on by Text: 87 Sexting Examples

7. Text Him a Sexy Pic.

You don't have to go nude (you wouldn't want that spread around the internet, would you?), but texting a suggestive picture is the absolute fastest way to turn a guy on. Men love visual stimuli, so an unexpected picture of you in a lacy bra giving him a smoldering look or biting your lip will send sexy vibes straight to his crotch!

A good sexy picture is all about showing a little bit of skin without exposing yourself in a way that you might regret later. A bit of cleavage and some upper thigh or lower stomach is all it takes to send a powerful message. And if he wants to see more, he can get that in person.

Be sure you're careful of who you send sexy pictures too. It's very easy to duplicate them and send them to other people. Think carefully about your man and how well you know him to see if you can trust him with a sexy photo of you.

Sam L. said...

Sridhar Chandrasekaran said...

You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing. Reading blogs is my hobby and I randomly found your blog. I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey. Please keep in touch with me in Twitter, @ipersuade.

Dennis said...

Sexting, isn't that an example of the feminist canard about being a slut or women and men are exactly the same when it comes to their sexual behaviors?
Feminism has produced almost everything men thought they wanted and found out they did not.
Once one tosses away what makes them special to the other sex then they have lost the mystery, exploration and discovery that makes a true relationship grow into that nasty word most feminists cannot stand, LOVE.
Feminism has almost guaranteed that women become a throw away item because they lack the security and confidence of being women who enjoy being themselves. You've come a long way baby, but in the wrong direction. And one wonders why a significant number of men don't want to have a long term relationship with American women?
American women have lost the ability to tell the difference between sex and seduction because Feminism is about our base animal behaviors vice the true joy of being part of another human being so completely that there are no others. Women have made their own beds and now they are destined to sleep in it alone.

Dennis said...

In my zeal to start my first session I did not include in my list of things American women have lost touch with Sensuality. This one was never very prevalent here though several culture did create it here, both Asian and Middle Eastern.
Sadly sexting does damage to the very existence of both seduction and sensuality. I suspect American women know they are missing something, but have not figured out primarily because of feminism and a dogma that does not lend itself to the enjoyment of being a woman except at the afore mentioned animalistic level. It is why "Fifty Shade of ....... seems to touch a nerve.

Webutante said...

Enjoying being a woman of discretion often involves being mysterious at times as well as understated...crass depravity and over-exposure is the antithesis of real sensuality and the epitome of sexual immaturity that fails to live up to expectations.