Ask any member of the Baby Boomer generation (those born between 1946 and 1964) what they used to do when it came to finding their significant other and you can be rest assured that it was nothing that involved any kind of naked picture exchange. In fact, the only time they were likely to have seen each other naked was on their wedding night itself. Granted, this generation of people did not have access to the digital products that we have in this current day and age but more importantly it seems that not having access to such meant that a certain level of morals still existed that clearly no longer exist in the human race current day.
The problem though with this advent of the naked selfie is that it has opened up a door to a world that is honestly scary and morally questionable. According to an article published in The Telegraph (2016), the said subject being spoken about mentions that it is simply not enough to tell people to grow up and stop taking naked selfies but that people these days “have grown up practicing this behaviour” and that it is simply too late to change such behaviour.
It seems as though people have since become slaves to the selfies, in nude form or not and sadly it has very little to do with lust or sex even and more to do with control and choosing how to exercise this newfound form of control over each other. Terms like ‘revenge porn’ have accompanied this proliferation of the nude selfie also; when things become less than amicable between a couple and one of the partners (usually the man) will post these private images publicly that were supposedly exchanged in an effort to exercise some distorted form of romance and excitement in the relationship before it fell apart.
Then you get numerous sites like YOLO selfie, Mynudeselfie and Myfavoritenudeselfie that are created for the sole purpose of uploading your nude selfies (anonymously of course) that then form part of a very large collection of amateur nude photos of every kind of person you can think of. Because it has since become a thing that people do now and gets less of a shocking reaction and more of a nonchalant shrug when it takes place because it has shockingly become normal? Maybe I am missing something here, but when did we as societies become so apathetic towards virtuous human behaviour and when did we decide that morals were not a required characteristic?
I am hardly trying to preach here but rather trying to remember what good qualities we are leaving behind for those to follow? It is simply not ok that teenage girls are aimlessly snapping nudes of themselves and sending to everyone and anyone who may be interested. Not to say that teenage guys are not doing it either because this act has since evolved that there needs to be a mutual exchange of images basically guaranteeing that should revenge porn ever follow, it is a mutual destruction.
I’d like to think that this form of exchange between people is a phase that once experienced (good or bad) then loses its appeal and the person then moves on but sadly it is far from a phase and turning more into a norm. And this leaves me wondering what exactly still remains intact in the form of morality among both young adults and teens.
Then there is the consequence of the nude selfie that opens people up to become victims of cyber abuse and/or harassment. While these people, who have willingly sent their nude selfies via any social media platform, should hardly be considered victims, once these images land up in the wrong hands on the Internet, they are permanently there to haunt the senders. How many cases have we heard of over the last few years of celebrity nudes appearing online after having been leaked by a scorned ex-lover or someone simply looking to make a quick buck? These cases are only so prominently remembered because we are talking about celebrities but how many other real life cases are popping up online every single hour, let alone everyday?
It’s a shortsighted action to send such pictures across online platforms because they are bound to come back and bite you when potential employers, or future spouses come across the images. All it takes is one tag, one silly comment, one thoughtless upload to bring a person’s world crumbling down.
Social media and online platforms seem to be catching up to countering this behaviour but all too slowly when you see how easy it is for trolls to trawl all of these sites and only further intensify the situation. It seems what the sites consider abusive and inappropriate is often left to other users to report and monitor instead of tightening their sites to not even accept such images but then we come to the conclusion that we should just not let any photos be exchanged online or via instant messaging platforms at all. And that is the catch-22 situation, the fact that people cannot act responsibly enough to not mess up such a convenient form of keeping in touch with people who may be near or far. It will always be a selected group who can mess things up on a greater scale because they do not know how to act accordingly and/or decent.
It’s simple – If the images were not there, there wouldn’t be any problem. So maybe instead of discouraging people from uploading these images, we need to discourage them from taking them at all. Easier said than done when it is such common practice and people get a kick out of doing it or more scarily if they think that such actions is strengthening their relationships because they are connecting with their significant others this way.
The statistics – as mentioned in another article in a Huffington Post (2014) – are shockingly high with as much as 83% of people admitting to taking and sending or receiving nude selfies between 2006 and today. Thus I guess that leaves me asking where we are headed with this distorted behaviour making its way into mainstream society and those who don’t believe in it being shunned as if they are indeed the ones with the problems.
When are we going to stop turning such habits into normal behaviour and when are we going to ever learn that the internet is a permanent place that once gets hold of things like images, there is really no turning back?