“Social Media Is Destroying Our Lives”

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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).

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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.

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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?

What’s sex got to do with…Labels?

Can you remember a time before you were who you are now? A time when society was not telling you who you are, innocuously, through seemingly inconsequential labels? Think about who you are, how you introduce yourself. For most of us, we say something like “Hi my name is X I am a girl/boy, I am gay/straight, I am a student/professor/parent” the list goes on and on, but there is almost always a qualifying label. The great, “I am,” phrase implies that your essence is inextricably tied up with that identity. However, this thinking can be very dangerous because, most often, individuals are not choosing their own labels, but rather are being labeled and then internalizing those labels.

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What’s Sex got to do with…19 Kids and Counting?

The Duggar family made their national TV debut in 2008 when 17 Kids and Counting aired on TLC. Fast forward 6 years, two more kids, and and a couple grandchildren later and the show is now 19 Kids and Counting and still airing today. But maybe not for much longer…

An article posted on November 19th from the Huffington Post reports that a new petition from change.org, started by Jim Wissick of San Jose, CA, is calling for the cancellation of the Duggars’ series because of the families’ discriminatory feelings toward the LGBT community.

In his letter to TLC, Wissick explained that “The Duggars have been using their fame to promote discrimination, hate, and fear-mongering against gays and transgendered people.” Fear-inducing practices are a recurring pattern we’ve seen towards the LGBT community. For example in Pascoe’s essay, “‘Guys are just homophobic,’” he writes that analyzing boys’ homophobic practices as a ‘fag discourse’ shows that their behavior reflects not just a fear of same sex desire, but a specific fear of men’s same sex desire.” (NSS 177). The idea of the “predatory fag” and attaching scariness to homosexuals is something that we’ve seen as a popular but ignorant discourse. For whatever reason, scare tactics are a strategic means of discrimination because it is human nature to want to avoid things we perceive as “fearful.”

Likewise, in the documentary (A)sexual, at the pride parade we saw many people react to David and his team with fear. They were hesitant to accepting informational pamphlets about asexuality almost as if it was an illness they could contract. Again, we see ignorance and fear as a common reaction to “non-normative” sexual identities.

Furthermore, the oldest Duggar, Josh, is the executive director of the anti-gay Family Research Council’s legislative group, a Christian lobbying group, which openly opposes gay marriage and goes as far as to link pedophilia with homosexuality. This sort of illogic and unintelligence in regard to minority groups is unfortunately accepted amongst discriminatory folks. Rather than being accepting and tolerant of diversity they dismiss and demean it. For example, we saw this play out in the misconception of homosexuality as a disease or illness in some cultures of the 19th century.

I am afraid, that despite the strides the LGBT community in garnering acceptance by society, there are still many people practicing unjustified and uninformed discrimination. What’s worse is when these people are media figures, such as the Duggar family. The media is a pedagogical force that should only purport messages of equality and acceptance.

What do you think about this petition to cancel the series? Should media figures be held to higher standards when it comes to acts of discrimination? Do you think the principle of “freedom of speech” is ever exploited to justify discrimination?

To read more: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/entertainment/tv/news/a33470/duggars-19-kids-and-counting-petition-to-cancel/?click=_hpTrnsprtr_1

http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/petition-tlc-cancel-19-kids-counting-article-1.2016721