2013: embrace your sexiness #NOT

Most teenagers are currently in a state where they can be characterized as “media obsessed”. I would place myself in this category since I use many types of media platforms throughout the day. Media multiplexity, a term found in Nancy Bayms book Personal Connections in the Digital Age is really common for me since I rely on many networks to communicate ranging from the traditional phone to the controversial snapchat application.  The overuse of media platforms by the youth may lead to issues which where more controlled in the past than what they are today.

2013

Dobson’s essay The grotesque body in young women’s self presentation on MySpace ,written in 2008 can be applied to recent discussions regarding females and their personal portrayal towards others.  She distinguishes between the terms heterosexy and grotesque. Dobson relies on Bahktin’s account of grotesque which dates back to 1965. However, findings are similar if not exactly the same to today so the issues presented back in 2008 are relevant to today.

I use the term ‘hetero-sexy’ or ‘hetero- sexualised’ instead of the more general term ‘sexualised’, to draw attention to the fact that it is a specific type of sexualisation to which most people refer when they describe young feminine representation and femininity itself in contemporary culture as ‘sexualised’. It is not just that femininity is ‘sexualised’, but that it is aligned with a specific gendered and heterosexual aesthetic, derivative of both ‘traditional’ femininity (pink, delicate, cutesy, and so on) and mainstream heterosexual pornography (overly large artificial looking breasts, high heels, excessive make-up, revealing clothing or clothing which draws attention to sexual and erogenous zones). 

With her article being published in 2008, I can still agree that the same definition of what heterosexy  is applies to recent media examples.  Heterosexy, which refers to females being very sexy in a pornographic style with the aim to attract the male population, is still seen today.

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A recent example of Kendall Jenner looking rather heterosexy as Dobson would describe the picture.

Moreover, a recent article published on  the huffington post a month ago, talks about the relationship between sex, teens and social media. It is mentioned how  heterosexy behavior is encouraged among females in order to gain attention. The writer mentions in her article “More provocative equals more likes,” a girl named Greta tells Sales. “It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for the attention,” agrees her friend, Padma.”

In another article published two months ago, a mom is talking about her son receiving extremely sexy selfies. The mom/writer wrote an open letter and said to all the girls:

I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?  You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

The article Attention Teens: Your Selfies Are Too Sexy For My Sons very well captures the whole notion of girls trying too hard to be sexy, in other words heterosexy, that it ends up being a joke factor. Dobson would be in the same terms with the mom writing the letter since Dobson conducted a research of teen Australian females between 18-25 years old. Dobson would not be in shock with the way girls are acting and presenting themselves towards men today, thus her article I would say is still adequate to explain such behavior.

The articles I mentioned above, can also be linked to the practice of sexting. What strikes me is that in the reading Sexting as Media Production: Rethinking Social Media and Sexuality written by Hasinoff in 2012, I can argue that some parts need to be updated, despite it being so recent.

Sexting is often defined as the practice of sending sexually explicit images or text through mobile phones or via internet applications, and teenage girls who create and share images of themselves garner a great deal of anxiety − sexting is typically seen as a technological, sexual, and moral crisis.

Sexting

The definition of sexting has obviously not changed within one year.

Also the fact that teenage girls are disturbed with the idea of their images being distributed is still a widely held idea.The advice given to girls using MySpace in the 2000’s saying that they must not talk to strangers, preferably hide their gender in online public spaces,  and avoid posting provocative photos is advice which is still given today.

The part of the article I believe does not coincide with today(2013) is the idea that sexting can be a form that can empower people.  Hasinoff promotes sexting as a means of self-expression, anonymity when desired, communication and pleasure.  I really cant see sexting as a form of empowerment since there is simply too much at stake when you sext with your current partner, because you have no clue if you’ll be with them for the long term. And even if you are, sexting could still come back to haunt you.

MTV has launched a new digital campaign called A Thin Line with regards to issues relating to sexting and digital abuse. Under no circumastances is sexting seen as positive so I believe Hasinoff’s framework should be adjusted to focus more on the negatives of sexting and less of the benefits it may have.  The campaign mentions how: more than 50% of those who shared a sext shared it with multiple people, sexters are four times as likely to have considered suicide in the past year than non-sexters.

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So under no circumstance should sexting be encouraged, thus this portion of the article should be revised by removing the content related to sexting being something empowering.

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