Be the Generation That Ends the Trendy Naked Selfie and Revenge Porn

Hello everybody! It’s a nice snowy day in New England so I figured I’d make a joint blog post on nude selfies and on revenge porn.

There’s a trend in our society that is rising: nude selfies. Celebrities have made this trend famous and have called it “liberating.” Emma Watson recently partially exposed her breasts for a Vanity Fair article and said she didn’t know what the big deal was about exposing her breasts. This is the same woman who came down on Beyoncé for being provocative about three years ago. Watson misses the point: when you expose your body like that you are sending the message that your body is more important than your words. This makes me sad because it pressures young women to pose nude. As I will mention in my other blog post, 60% of female models feel they don’t have privacy to change at work and 85% of models were pressured to pose nude without prior consent. 

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian have made the nude selfie famous. But what happened to the uniqueness, beauty and specialness of the human body? Up until the 60s a good majority of Americans waited until they got married to have sex, but today most people have multiple sex partners before they get married. Nude selfies just cheapen the human body and just turn it into something ordinary to look at. They teach men to be voyerists and that women are to be looked at not respected. They teach women that in order to get male attention they may have to do something that makes them uncomfortable and risk being humiliated if they break up.

Women should be able to be sexual beings just like how men are, but you don’t see men posting nude selfies the same way as women are. I remember it wasn’t a huge deal when Justin Bieber’s bare behind was posted online, but when a Kardashian posts a picture it’s a huge deal. Men are in charge of their sexuality, but also are in charge a lot of the time of women’s sexuality. Women are told they can’t be sexual in the same way as men, and that their sexiness depends on how much they expose to men. 

Revenge porn is another big topic in today’s society that stems from the nude selfie. 9/10 Millenials admit to sending out a nude selfie and close to 60% say they would do it again. Upskirting was a trend in the 90s where predators would take pictures up a woman’s skirt (a crime that ironically happened to Emma Watson) without her consent. A Georgia Appeals Court in 2012 ruled that a woman’s private parts aren’t private because she’s in a grocery store. This is horrible and just contributes to humiliating behaviors that happen to women. 

Cosmopolitan, even though i disagree with them on their stance on porn, makes a good point that viewing the nude celebrity photos that were hacked is an act meant to humiliate women. Many commentators told the celebrities that they shouldn’t have taken pictures in the first place, but many like Jennifer Lawrence only took the pictures for their partners not the public. There were no leaked pictures of men. When Chris Brown posted his nude picture it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as when the female celebrities were hacked. It sends a message that women should live in fear because if their private photos are hacked they’ll be distributed all over the internet. 

“Of the hundreds of nude celebrity photos…none are of men. That’s obviously not because men don’t have naked bodies usually shielded from the public eye… but because we see men as sexual agents, and we see their bodies as theirs. If a guy sends (or receives) a nude selfie, well, he’s a dude — he can be sexual and also intelligent and talented and a decent person. For women, though, the dissemination of a nude photo says you’re a slut.”

Revenge porn can happen to anybody. Holly Jacobs was a Ph. D candidate that moved hours away from her boyfriend, who was supportive of her. They dated for over three years and split amicably, or so Holly thought. There was no cheating or abuse, they just grew apart. Afterwards Holly spent years of hell getting her photos taken down from many websites. Her ex made a Facebook page with a nude selfie of her as the profile pic. A year or so later he leaked her email, office address and phone number along with more photos. Many websites offer details of how to contact these women. She would have had to spend $100k+ suing a man with no money to take down the photos. 4% of all Americans have been victims of revenge porn. 

It is sad because many people try to justify why revenge porn occurs, just like why rapes occur. It is about power and humiliation, not about sex. I have had friends who were victims of revenge porn, and it’s a horrible feeling to be plastered online without consent. Some people do legitimately feel empowered by their choices and I say good for them. Some people profit exponentionally for their choices, but most people later have regrets because they didn’t make good choices or rather it was not consentual. 

Nude photos are always going to exist, but it is important to take precautions if you want to share those with someone. When everyone takes nude selfies it cheapens the human body as a whole. Everyone has likely seen more than just one naked body in their life time thanks to the media, but we can all fight back. Don’t post pictures of yourselves online, but don’t visit websites where pictures are posted: you’ll never know 100% if you’re looking at consensual material. If you browse consensual material, you are sending a message to women that if they want to be validated then they have to take their clothes off. If you want to show women that they are deserving of respect do not look at sexual nude pictures. Rather, if you by chance come across a picture share how you feel about it with someone else so that way more people can join the fight. Know that if your partner is hurt by pornography that if you are honest that is the first step. 

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