I will admit that ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ is my guilty pleasure show. Don’t judge me. I find their highly choreographed ‘reality’ fascinating.
But I was struck by something I saw in an episode from a few years back that has stayed with me since. In an episode which touched on the sex tapes and nude photos of both Kim and her sister Kourtney, Kim insisted to her mother:
“Everyone has sex with their boyfriend. Everyone takes pictures.”
No Kim, everyone doesn’t.
While the evolution of the Internet and social media has been beneficial in so many ways, it has also created a means for the exploitation of young people, particularly young women. Sexually charged photo messaging or ‘sexting’ has garnered much media attention in the past few months, and the latest Hollywood luminary to have been publicly shamed by nude photos is Gossip Girl’s Blake Lively.
As a twenty-something woman, I’ve often been confounded by why people do this. My boyfriend is a photographer and despite repeated requests I’ve never let him photograph me in so little as a bikini.
With the accessibility of the Internet and social media today it seems perilous to ‘sext’ your partner via iPhone or have a flirty video exchange when chances are someone else can very easily get their hands on it.
So why would anyone risk it?
One female friend admitted to taking compromising pictures, but ultimately trusted her boyfriend of 3 years enough not to think twice about it. “I chose to take them for a bit of flirty fun. It didn’t worry me with my boyfriend because I trusted him.”
She went on to tell me she was careful enough not to include her face in any of the images. “I wouldn’t let anyone have any picture or video with my face especially. I have friends who have done the same thing for their boyfriends, so it’s definitely more common than people think.”
Another friend suggested she did it for a very different reason. “For guys it’s like a fantasy- they have access to so much porn, but if they’re lucky enough to get a photo of their girlfriend, even better. By taking the photo I thought he’d realise what he has is better than other things out there.”
This sense of pressure to impress a boyfriend concerned me, particularly when there seemed to be no acknowledgment of what may happen if the relationship didn’t last, or if this trust eventually dissipated.
“I saw a sex-tape of a friend of mine,” another friend told me. “I found out about it from one of her boyfriend’s friends who told me he had seen it, along with all of his friends. I confronted her boyfriend about it and said I’d tell her what he’d done if he didn’t delete the video, but I think he probably still has it.”
The bottom line is that gullibility and relationship pressure are the underlying factors perpetuating this problem, which seems to be a clear indication more education is needed.
Far be it for me to preach that all flirtatious exchanges are wrong if they’re done on a digital device. Everybody is entitled to express themselves in any which way they choose to.
But the problem is once photos like these circulate, they tend to irreparably damage the reputation of the person they’re of. Vanessa Hudgens anyone?
Perhaps I’m just a prude in a young woman’s body. A body that will be constantly clothed for the meantime.
What do you think? Have you ever taken nude photos?