Sunday, March 27, 2011

Modern parenting

Here are two posts recently shared by friends on Facebook:

The first is on the topic of slut-shaming from a blog on sex-positive parenting. The take-home point, at the conclusion of the post, is this:

Slut-shaming is a time tested tool in our culture. We use it under the guises of keeping kids from doing some sexually inappropriate thing. But does that work? No. Does it cause a lot more harm than good? Yes. I don’t want to raise a hypocritical judgmental misogynist. Which means I have to have these conversations with him NOW, not when he’s 21 and in college.

The second is this article in The New York Times, which reports on the consequences of "sexting" in a Washington state middle school. The article notes the ways in which sexting has become normalized in American popular culture. In other words, no wonder even middle schoolers will do it:

The prevalence of under-age sexting is unclear and can often depend on the culture of a particular school or circle of students. An Internet poll conducted for The Associated Press and MTV by Knowledge Networks in September 2009 indicated that 24 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had been involved in “some type of naked sexting,” either by cellphone or on the Internet. A December 2009 telephone poll from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that 5 percent of 14- to 17-year-olds had sent naked or nearly naked photos or video by cellphone, and that 18 percent had received them. Boys and girls send photos in roughly the same proportion, the Pew survey found.

But a double standard holds. While a boy caught sending a picture of himself may be regarded as a fool or even a boastful stud, girls, regardless of their bravado, are castigated as sluts.

Photos of girls tend to go viral more often, because boys and girls will circulate girls’ photos in part to shame them, explained Danah Boyd, a senior social media researcher at Microsoft and a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

In contrast, when a boy sends a revealing photo of himself to a girl, Dr. Boyd noted, she usually does not circulate it.

The problem, then, is not just sexting, but "slut-shaming," which is a phrase that I cringe even to use here in quotes.

Further proof that we need Feminism 4.0 oh so badly. Who wants in?

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