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.”