To begin rapping up the final blog posts of the semester, I went back to the very first articles we read at the beginning of class to see if anything caught my eye. I was then taken back to the third week of classes to the Huffington Post article entitled “What I’m Reading: Sex, Teens, And Social Media.” After taking the class and reading this article again, so many new ideas are brought to mind especially in the first section. The first section is titled ‘Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives’ and relates significantly to our lives as college students.
Sasha Belenky, the author of the article, brings up many topics that are extremely relatable. First off, she talks about the obsession with sex throughout social media. She talks about how hookup culture is preferred over dating culture, and social media is the reason for a lot of this modern change in sexual scripts. Throughout this specific portion of the article, Belenky quotes Nancy Jo Sales’ article in Vanity Fair entitled “The Bling Ring” that looked at modern day teen relationships. A girl from L.A. described to Sales that “oral is, like, the new kissing” (Belenky). In addition to sex going much farther much quicker, boys pressure girls for nudes extremely often. Applications like snapchat make this incredibly easy for guys to get away with because, supposedly, the picture “disappears.” Of course the receiver can screenshot the snapchat, but the sender gets a notification if the receiver decides to screenshot. But even scarier and more problematic is that recent studies have come out saying that Snapchat has been keeping the photos this entire time. This entails that the photos that were once said to “disappear forever” haven’t at all.
In addition to social media making it easier to have sexual encounters, social media also makes it easier for boys to talk to girls rather than facing them straight up. We all know those people who will only talk to you on social media or text you and won’t confront you in person. Or, even better yet, we all know those people who won’t talk to you when they are sober, but when they are drunk they come up to you and talk to you like you two have been best friends your whole life. This is why social media is such a problem. It is because with the overuse of it, people forget how to have real, live, face-to-face friendships and conversations. This makes people socially awkward, and it makes people nervous talking in social settings. As a girl named Zoe stated concerning boys talking to girls, “They’re definitely more forward to us online than in person. Because they’re not saying it to our faces.” (Belenky).
Social media makes teens in today’s world socially awkward because social media is their life. A group of friends at the mall admitted to Sales that social media is ruining their lives, so Sales then asked why they don’t just get off of it. In return, a girl responded “Because then we would have no life” (Belenky).
Social media is also a competition with whoever gets the most amount of “likes.” Whoever gets the most amount of likes is considered “more popular.” I agree that this idea is true in our society because I have many friends that will delete a post on Instagram if they aren’t getting a lot of likes in the first 5 minutes of the post. I also have friend who will say things like, “oh my gosh, how did she get that many likes on a picture?!” This statement agrees with the idea that likes on social media is a popularity contest because when you see a person with a lot of likes on an Instagram post, for example, you in turn consider them “popular.”
In addition to being a popularity contest, it becomes a sexual contest. A girl named Greta described to Sales that, “More provocative equals more likes” (Belenky). Her friend Padma agreed, stating, “It attracts more guys and then it makes other girls think about doing it just for the attention” (Belenky). I also agree with this ideology because there are many Instagram accounts that are created solely for the fact of posting sexual posts to get a lot of comments from guys. The girls that have accounts like this live off of guys comments to them, in turn making their self confidence solely based off of the male gender’s perception of them. In addition, the majority of boys who comment on these photos would not say their comments to a girl in person, in turn leading to girls obsession with what boys are solely thinking of them, nothing the guys would say to them in real life.
This article relates to ideas we have talked about in class because it relates to rape culture. Yes, social media is destroying our lives, but one limitation of the article is that it doesn’t talk about rape culture. Social media causes many issues with rape and human trafficking because people will start online relationships with each other. Throughout these relationships, they will form a trusting bond without ever meeting face-to-face. When they meet face-to-face, they often realize that the person they thought they were talking to the entire time wasn’t truly that person. In turn, this leads to many rape and human trafficking incidents.
An example of this in our world today is the T.V. show entitled “Selfie”. This show follows the life of Eliza Doolittle, who lives a life with the goal of achieving fame on social media by only posting selfies. She is extremely awkward and struggles making friendships in real life. This show is a perfect example of how social media destroys us. It creates a life obsessed with talking to people over phone or computer, in turn creating teens who cannot interact with people in real life.
Some questions to consider include do you ever think our society will completely “drop” social media? Do you think our society will ever realize what a burden social media truly is and have it deleted? Also, do you think teens in the next generation will be more obsessed or less obsessed with social media than the current generation?