It could be that I’m miserably out-of-touch, as certainly some of my children might say, but when boys stand and cheer when girls walk in the room because their shorts are basically underwear, then those girls need to realize that those boys are looking at them not as people but as things. Slut-things in particular. Story about this over at Ann Arbor News, with this trenchant graf:
The practice got lots of media coverage recently when some state legislatures proposed charging these teens as “child pornographers” instead of just realizing they were suffering from an extra beating with the Stupid Stick. It also got some coverage when Jessica Logan killed herself after her boyfriend – who had requested and received a sexted naked photo of Jessica – shared Jessica’s body with about 100 close friends, resulting in Jessica being tormented and shunned to the point of taking her own life.
That should be lesson one for girls: A boy who asks for a bare-buff photo of you? Probably can’t be trusted. Lesson number two? The Internet is forever, and chances that your private photo of bareness eventually winds up there are pretty good.
Ellen Goodman has a great piece saying sexting shouldn’t be criminalized but that girls really need better education about boys and trust. Because, natch, it is almost always boys asking girls for the photos and the girls (dumb, dumb, dumb), thinking the boy actually gives a damn about her as a person rather than just her as a mode of gratification, send the photos. Sexting isn’t so much about pornography as it is about harassment and bullying. You know, the modern-day version of the car backseat negotiation that starts with: “If you loved me you would….”
Somewhere along the line (thank you Sex and the City, Brittney Spears, MTV and BET Media) girls and young women have come to see stripping as powerful, initiating casual sexual encounters as “being in control,” and providing themselves as grind-poles on dance floors as attractive. (If you click on that link, look at the expression on the man’s face. Does it say “I love you?” I didn’t think so. And the woman — famous? —- looks clueless that she’s being used as a sex toy. Self-respect? Not self-evident.)
We have to somehow help girls and young women understand that true power is in their brains, not their bodies, and that true love is private, intimate and shows itself behind closed doors, not on the dance floor or the iPhone.