Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest post from the wonderful Invisible Princess. I love this blog. It is thought provoking, inspires me to search my own soul and I think it makes me a better person. I am honoured to host this guest blogger today. Once you are finished reading please head on over and check out her blog.
A Kardashian story we should all be keeping up with …
A pseudo celeb called Kim makes a sex tape … after seeing what it did for her friend’s career … and it instantly launches her into the sparkle of stardom. Yet when a young school girl – aspiring to be like her glossy pseudo celebrity role model – is the victim of a sex tape of her own, she is ostracised, bullied and slut shamed as a result. Some of these girls have been known to take their own lives as a result of such shaming … shaming they were merely a victim to.
Okay, so you may be thinking: “Victim? Pffft! What’s a school girl doing having sex anyway? She’s certainly no victim when she’s consenting to sex!”
Since when did consenting to sex make it a free-for-all published event? Can’t the girl in question still be a victim? After all, she may have consented to the sex … she may even have consented to her boyfriend recording it. But … do you think she consented to it being featured on YouTube? Morally agree or disagree, that still puts her in the victim category.
So then, what we have here is a gross imbalance … a blurred sexuality line.
THE REALITY OF IT
FACT: School girls look to famous female role models and icons as people they can aspire to. And with the huge influx of reality television blocking up the airwaves these days, the prominent role models have become those very same reality starlets.
Today, the stars topping the Most Inspiring lists for young girls are reality stars like the Kardashians and Kendra Wilkinson, and controversial Disney queens, like Demi Lovato and Miley Cyrus. For god’s sake, Paris Hilton is still considered a female role model!
And if Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian can become hugely wealthy, famous celebrities, living the glamorous life after making just one sex tape, why not give it a shot?!
A GUY THING
The rise in popularity of “lads mags” with highly sexualised images of women have also blurred the lines and added to the normalisation of soft porn. Today’s young guys are witnessing the very same stars, grooving and grinding away in an attempt to out-sexualise one another. Guys love a sexy star – look at the attention of Scarlett Johansson – and girls know that this is the image guys want … sexiness.
Unbelievably, as a result, Australia has reported that increasing numbers of teenagers under the age of 16, some as young as 12, are attending beauty salons to get brazillian waxes. The reports suggest that this is largely due to girls feeling pressure from boys to achieve a porn star desirable look, in an attempt to sex things up.
So when those teenage hormones kick in … and boy, do they kick in … girls the world over suddenly want to become sexy. They take frequent selfies in various states of undress to upload to their frequently changing Facebook profiles, and absorb each and every comment and click that each picture receives. This reinforces their hotness to themselves and their peers.
And why not?! Their role models are sexy selfie obsessed too. Who here hasn’t had to witness the Kardashian Twitter booty shot?!
THE GLAMOROUS LIFE
Young girls lap up these reality stars. They believe in the “reality” they are seeing. The Hills is a perfect example of a show which was unbelievably scripted throughout. Yet girls believed in its starlets, its storylines, and the lifestyle they were witnessing. They wanted that lifestyle. Damn it, weren’t they entitled to it too?
Another brilliant example of this “entitlement” can be seen with the real-life Bling Ring (now a major motion picture). In 2009, a group of suburban LA teens regularly robbed a string of celebrity homes and, for more than a year, got away with it. These teens racked up more than $3 million in clothes, jewellery, guns and money from the homes of female role models: Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Megan Fox, Rachel Bilson, Audrina Patridge, Miranda Kerr. Why did they do it? Because they felt they were entitled to live the life their famous idols were living … they wanted to have their specific things … to be a part of that lifestyle.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
“The lifestyle was now attainable through simply taking off one’s clothes. Posing nude had become a semi-legitimate means of achieving fame and money. Porn stars have become household names.” – Nancy Jo Sales, The Bling Ring
Kids now see porn on a regular basis – each year over 40 percent of teens and tweens visit sexually explicit sites, either deliberately or accidentally. Exposure to porn has also been linked to the early onset of sexual behaviour and the frequency of sexually risky behaviour. They certainly seem to be getting it on a whole lot sooner than kids did when I was a teen.
In another piece written by Nancy Jo Sales, titled Sex & The School Girl, teenage boys described looking at internet porn as early as fourth grade, around age nine … They would stealthily tape record and videotape themselves having sex with girls and play these recordings for other kids. Today, with YouTube, Facebook, and cell phone cameras, they’d no doubt be putting this stuff all over the internet. The new Scarlet Letter for high school girls is this type of slut shaming, replete with cruelly mocking comments from their peers.
Nancy Jo continues: Girls wonder why being hypersexual feels so self-undermining when so many famous women are being rewarded for their hyper-sexuality. The line between star and porn star has blurred. Celebrities who appear nude or semi-nude often experience a career boost, rarely a negative reaction.
“Many young girls and women today,” writes Dr Leonard Sax in his book Girls on the Edge (2010), “do not question the idea that baring skin is a badge of sexual liberation.” Even back in 2008, a survey found that one in five teenage girls had published a nude or nearly nude selfie on social media or sent one via cell phone.
But are they merely imitating an image of themselves they see virtually everywhere around them today? These images, messages, and products bombarding us through the media portray girls in a sexual context inappropriate to their ages, promoting the idea that they can or should be “hot.” The adverse effects on girls’ images include anxiety, low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, appearance anxiety, and depression … all potentially leading to eating disorders, cutting, drug and alcohol abuse. Even suicide.
In 2011, Chevonea Kendall-Bryan, 13, fell to her death while begging a boy to delete a sex tape, after discovering a rumour of her being filmed performing a sex act on a boy had been circulating just hours before.
Audrie Pott, 15 from California, took her own life in 2012 after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by three boys at a party and at least one photo from that night was circulated by her classmates.
Then there was 15 year old Felicia Garcia, also in 2012, who threw herself under a train at a Staten Island train station, because a sex tape she appeared in with multiple members of the Tottenville football team went public, making her the target of ridicule. Allegedly, Felicia told a friend that the sex was consensual. Yet, does this make it okay to bully her literally to death?
In 2013, a 17 year old Brazilian girl, Julia Rebecca, hung herself after a sex tape of her with a male and female, also minors, was posted online.
Teenagers have always been, and will always be interested in sex. It is a natural curiosity associated with growing up. But with these overly-sexualised role models becoming overnight celebrities for making a sex tape, isn’t that just creating further confusion to teenage girls the world over? You really have to ask yourself: how far is too far?
I’ll leave you with my Favourite quote on Kim Kardashian:
“Kim insists that she has had no facial work done meaning that — with a nose that has grown smaller and slimmer over the years, while her lips get fuller and poutier — she is, quite simply, a biological miracle.”
– Claudia Connell
I would like to thank the Invisible Princess for writing for us here today. It was a very thought provoking post. I am sure you have things to add. Please leave it in the comments. Once you are done there head on over and check out some more awesomeness from this wonderful writer…
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