Sex, Lies & Social Media
When the video of 16 year old OG Niki surfaced on YouTube a few weeks ago of her rapping about her various sexual conquests, it seemed the whole of Twitter sat up and took notice. Her opening line about getting it from behind and having ‘six man and a camera’ (for those not catching on, she’s talking about filming an orgy she had with six men), made a few jaws drop. It got me thinking about teenagers and sex in the digital age. Online life moves so quickly and there’s no handbook for how to appropriately handle relationships in that forum, so what is the answer?
I made it through my whole high school life as a virgin and found all my unrequited crushes difficult enough to handle in real life – thank goodness we didn’t have any online social networks where I could slip up and reveal one of my crushes only to be ridiculed by the entire school, neighbouring school and city in general. The closest I came was when I wrote a love letter to my crush du jour, three people found out and I thought my life was over.
I was talking to a 14 year old girl last week who told me about a girl in her school year who took naked pictures of herself, text them to a bunch of boys and now has to deal with the fall out. The fall out being; those boys text the picture to more boys, who text them to more people – before they knew it, they’d made their way around at least three schools in the area, the girl’s school had to get involved and try to shut down the situation by saying anyone who actually has the pics in their possession or texts them to others is actually now tied up in some sort of child porn ring. The girl, who apparently has a bit of a reputation for sleeping with a lot of boys (I’d just like to interject a little reminder here that she’s 14), has been turned away from house parties, disowned by her friends and earned herself the title of ‘boyfriend stealer.’
Clearly taking those pictures of herself and texting them to a bunch of boys was a desperate cry for attention on this girl’s part. We can all sit here and pass judgment about how stupid it was, but at 14, can she really be all that aware of what the far reaching repercussions of this would be? Is she really going to have a full understanding that the sex she’s having now, the boyfriends she’s stealing and the naked pictures she’s circulating are forming a reputation that will follow her most likely until she’s able to go to university, hopefully in a different city where she can create a new story for herself?
Sure, not all teens are acting like this, but let’s face it, teen-hood is a sexually curious time as it is and all this new technology is just adding to the curiosity. Paris Hilton had a sex tape. However much Kim Kardashian tries to class herself up, everyone knows she shot to fame by making a sex tape with her then boyfriend Ray J (which was how many years ago? And we still talk about it). Rihanna sent nude pics of herself to her ex boyfriend Chris Brown and then made a comment along the lines of ‘I pity women who don’t do that for their man’ – a shining example to the youth, as always. But when they do it, they still get to be rich, famous and regarded as the most beautiful women. It doesn’t really compute to these kids that when they do it, they just get to be the town skank until people can find something better to talk about.
So, how do we deal with it? Can it be dealt with? Is it all just a healthy part of sexual exploration? What say ye? Have your say in the comments.