BLURRED LINES

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.

KIM 2copy copy

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!”

Isn’t she?

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.

bigstock-Reality-TV-7107918

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?!

Sex-sign

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?!

Just in case you missed it

Just in case you missed it

slutshaming

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.

cam

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.

ROLE MODEL copy

THE CASES

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.

TIPSELFIE

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…

My Story

Emotional Armour

Dog days are over

Don’t forget to hit the follow button!

Steph

31 responses

  1. I really appreciated this post. As someone who has struggled with body image and eating issues in the past I find the pressure to be a certain way, to look a certain way, can at times be overwhelming. I am only just now able to say I am happy in my own skin. I was asked what I would change about my body if I could change anything. Finally, after 34 years, my honest answer was….nothing. Absolutely nothing. I cannot tell you how freeing that was! Thank you for such a thought provoking post.

      • It is like no one can be trusted. I fear for my daughter.

        I also LOVE that I can say that and really truly mean it. I actually wouldn’t change anything, because then I wouldn’t be me! My body tells the story of my life. It is part of who I am. All the scars and lines and marks are part of my story, and I am beautiful BECAUSE of them, not in spite of them.

      • That’s also why I’m against Botox and face lifts. I want the lines on my face to tell my story. Not a flat face, looking like I needed to erase life to remain young. I’m young at heart, and I’ll stay that way <3

  2. I’d like to say this is thought provoking, but it’s not, sadly. You’re preaching to the choir here. Anybody reading this won’t need convincing, and those who do need convincing won’t be reading it. That isn’t to mean that it doesn’t need to be said, but I really think it’s spitting into the wind.
    I once took a tongue in cheek pop at the talentless Kardashian, and received quite a lot of pretty unpleasant criticism. http://nobodysreadingme.wordpress.com/striking-a-happy-medium-part-two-the-socialite/ I’m not sure why, I was just having fun, but some people didn’t see it quite like that. And that’s the problem right there.

    • This is not taking a tongue in cheek pop at Kim Kardashian … It’s pointing out the blur between famous-for-sex role models and the teen girls who aspired to be like them. Too many teen girls see their wealthy role models making money this way, and wonder why it doesn’t happen that way for them.

      I’m sorry that you didn’t find it thought provoking, but if it changes the mind of just one girl considering sending a naked selfie to the boy she likes, or makes a girl think before giving in to the pressure of taping their sexual encounter, then maybe it has served its purpose.

      • Sorry, I didn’t express myself too well. It should be thought provoking, but unfortunately the people who should be rethinking aren’t likely to pay attention. That is of course no reason at all not to write what you did, and yes, good luck with it if you get even one girl to have a rethink.
        I’m aware you’re not having a tongue in cheek pop at a Kardashian. My point here is that my efforts roused some people to paroxysms of fury. How dare I even think of criticising her? When you’re up against that sort of social attitude then you (and I for that matter) have a very uphill struggle on our hands.
        I don’t like to see preteen girls twerking, but there again I don’t like to see adult postars doing it either. I’m also not liking the idea of 13 year old boys taking steroids. If those activities are seen as the norm it’s a lost cause.

      • I appreciate you mentioning steroids, Duncan– I don’t think the dangers of them to teens have been stated enough. Or any other so-called performance drugs, for that matter. Some are taken for looks as well as athletic gains. Although it may not affect teen girls as much as teen boys, I think the issue may extend to them, as well; it’s known that women in the fitness, bodybuilding, and pro wrestling industries take them. There are blurred lines here as well. I’ve read that Joanie “Chyna” Laurer started out in beauty pageants and dealt with eating disorders, too. I doubt she’s the only one. I see it as the opposite side of the same coin, in some ways.

      • Guys, thanks for bringing up the pressures guys face too. I couldn’t agree more. I’m really wanting to write more about the pressures guys face … but would much rather have it coming from a guy. I’ve already got one guy signed up for posting his opinions for a new section on my blog titled A Princely Perspective, and would love to have you guys write on there also if it’s something you may be interested in?

  3. There is so much to love about this post. Body image issues are a part of my life every day, and always have been. I do wonder what would have happened if the Internet or glut of “entertainment news” sources had been around when I was a young teenager. Would I have been even riskier with my actions to try to be what I wasn’t? Would I even be here today? IDK

    Amazing post. Lots to think about today. Thank you for this.

    • Thank you lovely! I often wonder the same thing. When I was younger, I was very appearance obsessed, guy obsessed, and loved the male attention. I dressed in sexy little outfits and tossed my hair over my shoulder when I was being gawked at. I’d hate to think that my insecurities at that age, plus the normalisation of the provocative selfie would have me standing in the bathroom, in a push up bra, pouting into a lens, all so I can upload it onto the internet and wait for others to tell me how hot I am. What the hell happened?!

  4. Amazing post. You really hit it straight on. I struggled with self-esteem my entire life, and my teen years were hell. I worry for my daughter. I worry that all the dolls that come out are dressed in tiny skirts and thigh high boots. I worry that department stores sell things like pleather leggings and crop top t-shirts for my eight year old. I worry about the things in our food that make little girls look like women entirely too early. I worry that my friend’s nine year old just started her period not long ago. How do you even explain those sorts of things to a child that young? I hate that my daughter loved Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb” and that I no longer let her listen to it, because the new image of Miley is not one I want my daughter to idolize. I hate having to watch every single music video of songs she hears daily to make sure that everyone is dressed and there aren’t a million over sexualized scenes and images. I want my eight year old to be an eight year old.

    • Couldn’t agree more Laura. It’s truly become a shocking world to grow up in. It’s funny you mentioned the dolls … it was only the other day that I was reading about that real-sized Barbie and all the controversy it sparked, when I recalled a friend complaining many, many years ago the sexiness of the Bratz dolls. I recall saying and thinking “Ooh they’re cute, what harm can they do … they’re just toys.” I now wish to go back in time and slap the face of my past self. Hard. Very, very hard. Now little girls are striving to be play toys too … or at the very least, look like they are playthings.

      For a while I defended Miley … citing it as just that awkward time when we are growing up … no longer a teen, coming into a woman. It’s an awkward time, where we question who we are and experiment with things. We make mistakes. We fall down. But now I’ve tired of the consistency with her “growing up”. I cringed when she lit that joint on stage the most. And the album … apart from a couple of good songs, mainly sprouts references to Miley thinking she’s a ‘gangsta rapper’ and using the word ‘bitch’ as often as possible … hardly something you would want your children to listen to. And sadly, those same girls I wrote about are the ones who love Miley’s new sexified image. Where does it end?!

      I think the best thing we can all do for the daughters is to educate them, rather than hide it from them … All things forbidden are like catnip for teens! Educating them gives them a fighting chance.

      • Education, or the lackthereof, is instrumental for young women (and men, but I can only speak from the woman’s perspective). I grew up without a woman who was willing to be blunt and honest with me. I think young girls need that.

        I was clear with my daughter, about the Bratz dolls no less, that they weren’t appropriate and she couldn’t have them. I told her they were dressed in a way that was not attractive and that I didn’t want her to try to look like them.

        She told me they had too much makeup. :D

        I did my fair share of experimenting/mistake-making. I want her to know that one day. I don’t want her to have this image of me as some wonderfully brilliant, perfect being. I want her to know I had to scrape my way along a lot of rough roads to get to where I am now, and that my judgement was less than good at the best of times.

        Thank you for this post, and your thoughts. They were a real inspiration.

  5. Ugh. I can’t wait to have to discuss things like this with my daughter. I hope to communicate the fact that releasing a sex tape won’t make you a celebrity, but if your goal is to have random sleazy men masturbate while watching you on the internet, then go right ahead. Or no, don’t actually go right ahead. Please.

    • Ahhh I have images of you becoming the very strict parent as The Cutlet strives to rebel in her teen years. I don’t envy your job there! It’s a scary world out there, especially for a young girl. Between the sexified image upgrades and the violence on the streets every night, I don’t feel safe going out at night, let alone sending a young girl out there into it. It’s like feeding them to the lions! Educating The Cutlet (hey, ther’es a post with that title in your future! ) is the way to go … teaching her the differences and consequences.

      And sadly, gaining the attention of the sleazy masturbating men seems to be part of the goals of today’s sexy young things :(

  6. I may be part of the choir, but I learned something from this sermon. (No, I didn’t think you were preaching, just following up on a prior comment from another reader.) One of the things I’ve done with my children is to watch absolutely everything they watch at least once. So, when my daughter wanted to check out the Kardashians, I checked out the Kardashians. I never knew people could be so stupid and my daughter saw how stupid they were just because of my reactions.

    But I can’t keep up with everything. My daughter does Vines and Instagram and she’s becoming more protective of her privacy. This post makes me see that I really need to keep staying a step ahead. No rest for the mommy.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

    • Thank you so much! And bravo on being involved! That brings up an excellent point … not only is it vital to educate our teens, but it’s also just as vital to educate ourselves. I applaud you for watching the programs prior, it’s brilliant. You need a medal for being able to last a full episode for most of these shows!

      “Stupid” really nailed it! If these role models have their way, it will be a very dumbed down generation. I remember dumbing myself down when I was a teen, just to be like my peers … what a waste!

      And you’re right … no rest for you … well, not until she hits 40! ;)

  7. As the mother of a five year old girl, this terrifies me. At least I still have a few years to cram her little mind with strong, worthy female role models, and hopefully a healthy dose of critical thinking skills.

    • Absolutely! Begin educating her early and continually. Show her the differences and the consequences. It’s ideal to start early so they don’t see it as preaching when they rebel in their teens. Sounds to me like you are doing a fabulous job there … Bravo! :)

  8. I think there are implications for the guys, too (as I commented earlier), although that would take a post of its own, just to fill out what I think is the rest of the story. Reality TV is not real, of course. It may be partially unscripted, but it’s still constructed production. Porn is not reality, either, and even adult film stars have said so. And of course, I’m sure many of us have read a lot about how photos and films have a lot of post-production digital editing– the touch-ups, and such. (The tabloids are paying big money for untouched photos, or so I’ve read.) So even much of the media we see isn’t real.

    • Absolutely! You are spot on! This is the sorts of things I write about in my body section (The Body Issue) on my blog. We see the reality TV/porn for what it is, but the youth don’t usually get it like we do. It’s wonderful how many exposes have popped up these days about photoshopping and digital enhancing … I’m posting a piece on it very soon. As mentioned before, would love to have you post your male opinion on my blog if you are interested. :)

      • I will definitely check out the Body Issue section, and I would be honored to write for you.
        Please leave me a comment at my blog if you wish, and I can contact you by those details.

  9. I agree that it’s sad that the likes of Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton are role models, but I have to wonder where the parents of these children are and why those parents aren’t telling their children who a real role model should be. It’s not the job of reality stars to raise this world’s children, it’s the job of the parents who created them.

  10. I think it’s sad the things we celebrate ‘celebrities’ for. Of course they are role models, of course young girls (and boys) want to be like them. Yes they do have a responsibility for their behaviour with the knowledge that the things they do and say have an impact on the most impressionable of people. Young people are sexualised so young, and exposed to so much on the internet and they simply are ill equipped to deal with it. This was a great post and very thought provoking.

  11. Pingback: Thank you for the spam, it’s like sprinkles | She Said What?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s