Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the view

Questions and discussion about sex and sexuality in political or community beliefs, principles, actions, policies, experiences, messages and media.
Rave
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Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the view

Unread post by Rave »

So, this isn't exactly my question but a friend of mine.

So, I am currently engaging in a conversation about women who post sexy and/or sexual posts on social media( specifically instagram).

Now my friend wonders why feminists don't point out the way women promote gratuitous sexuality.

But they (feminists)do point out the gratuitous sexuality in both media and entertainment.

There's more to what they said, of course.

Given we have this conversation online, there's some of his responses.

*"My concern is young girls getting influenced by certain parts of social media to the point of feeling it's acceptable or even desirable to get a sense of worth from their appearance and even their sexuality. Well before they are mature enough to assess where appearance/sexuality can fit in their lives in a healthy manner.

The idea that a woman's beauty and even sexuality is something positive for them to display is often considered a product of the social construct developed from the patriarchy. And so young girls being influenced that way can actually PERPETUATE that patriarchal view. Given that, I wonder what the feminist view is?

Support for girls/women dressing however they choose is of course pro-feminist. But what if the REASON a young girl chooses a certain style IS for some superficial sense of self-worth based on a patriarchal ideal?

Obviously, "shaming" girls for dress choices is horrible. But isn't it possible in some cases that unqualified support COULD be negative as well? It sounds similar to "choice feminism". No matter what the reason a girl/woman chooses an action, it's to be supported because it's HER choice.

I've heard that described this way: "Choice feminism is just a thoughtless branding of feminism where individual choice is made the ultimate end without consideration of the constraints and impact of that choice."

In this case, young girls emulating certain older girls or women who vie for "likes" and subscribers in part (if not wholly) due to their physical appearance and even sexuality CAN have a negative impact. Feeling it's normal, natural, and desirable to strive for positive attention based on that.

And it can also give young boys the potentially dangerous impression that admiring a girl solely for her appearance and even sexuality is not only OK but something the girl actually wants."*

In a nutshell, I believe they may want to ask why feminists can recognise the way media and entertainment often times sezualise and objectify women, but feminists don't recognise how ordinary women do the same thing when they post sexual pictures.

My friend brought up Piper Rockelle, being worried that more girls,preteens and teens will want to be similar to her, base their self esteem on likes and followers, especially from boys.



Now to be honest I agree with them on many points (such as being afraid girls will base their self esteem on likes and subscribers)

But I am not sure if women posting more sexual pictures of themselves has the same affect as media does.

What are your thoughts?
Mo
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Re: Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the v

Unread post by Mo »

I think questions like this are always going to be ones with no one clear answer, because people make choices around social media and what content to post or consume for a number of reasons and in a number of different contexts; one women's choices, feelings, and experiences in this area will be very different from another's.

I do absolutely agree that a culture of self-worth as defined by the amount of interaction or feedback you get on social media is not healthy for anybody! However, not everyone posting selfies is tying their satisfaction with the experience to the number of likes they get, and plenty of people posting content that isn't a selfie or something suggestive/sexual will have an unhealthy relationship with social media that is tied to engagement over anything else! I do think there's room for a bigger conversation about social media and how it impacts people, for sure, but people have a lot of different relationships to it and I think flattening that into one experience isn't going to be helpful.

I will say, too, that any time someone's asking a question like "what do feminists think about this?", "what's the feminist approach to this topic?", or "why don't feminists recognize this problem?" there is very rarely going to be one answer; there's not one definitive voice of feminism. I often feel like that's the wrong question to ask, or that it's a starting point but maybe not the endpoint of how you might want to approach these questions.

I do also really like a couple advice columns Sam wrote recently about similar questions: Doubts About the Views of Some Feminists and Is Sex Positivity Just Another Version of the Male Gaze? I think both of these might offer some useful thoughts as well!
Rave
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Re: Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the v

Unread post by Rave »

I feel really tense because of this conversation.

I just can't find an answer that would satisfy me,yet.

They both can be damaging but I think the approaches themselves would differ.

Because on one hand we talk about an industry or the other hand we are talking about individuals.

Quite different

Those studios (like marvel, DC, Netflix, and some many more)are known worldwide, so are many people who started having from 1 subscriber or 2 but now they have millions or even more.

Another thing is that we have both celebraries and ordinary people who post suggestive pictures.

It's not quite the same, given that celebraries (like Picker Rockelle, Rihanna) will have more views than someone like me for example.

And I am not sure how feminists are supposed to deal(not the best word, but nothing better came out).

When you try to point out what is wrong with certain film studios, model houses and so on, you usually don't address a single individual, but the whole, you can mention certain people that play a bigger in those industries and ask, make petitions, threaten with your wallet, having them fear the risk of becoming irrelevant, and so on.

Let's take modeling houses for example, feminists (but not only) can criticise those houses, the fact that many of their models are tall,skinny, white and young, not having much diversity, thus creating unrealistic and maintaining standards for women (and men), that is some racism or homophobia lurking around, maybe they are discrimitory against older models or bigger or shorter ones.

There is a lot of stuff that must be called out in those industries, unrealistic beauty standards being one of the many

Now celebraries (like Rihanna)many times are both the face and that someone who play a big part in their own business, because of that feminists are able to address the ills of the company. Now feminists absolutely can say to her "hey Rihanna, it would a good thing taking a step back and questioning things would greatly help you both in the short and long run, question what you were taught, question what you have, question what ypu saw in childhood as "ideal", why is that the ideal, etc"

Referring not only to think why she posts suggestive posts, why is she buying certain products, clothing and so on. But also how those things make her feel.

Feminists actually try to make you think more critically about things,think about the bigger pictures.

Now regarding ordinary people who post suggestive pictures, the only realistically things feminists can do is to try to create conversation around this topic.
Similar to my little "question..." a little above.

So instead of caution them, the best bet is to make them think, to question what they have been taught, to question their parents, teachers, classmates, their own beliefs and wants and desires, to question the TV, Instagram, YouTube, the magazines, the books, the adds both on the street and in your phone.

Like you can caution me everyday,buy if I don't understand why caution me, what is it you're worried about that you feel you must caution me, did we achieve anything?

Sure i might think it's not a big thing and you have nothing to worry about. I might listen to you and not post anything suggestive.

But I still don't know why, and just because something seems or is obvious to you, it doesn't mean it is to me

But prompting me to think for myself will cause me to see what you're and many more things you just haven't noticed yet.

Now feminists can and i think they already do spread this piece of information but unfortunately not everyone will come across it.
Rave
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Re: Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the v

Unread post by Rave »

I should mention that my friend is a grandfather, so this is rather personal to him, concerned that his granddaughters will develop the impression that happiness and confidence is based on how desirable they are to men, and social media sending this kind of message, though in his texts he is definitely displeased that feminists don't point out or are reluctant to call out women, and I quote "Itis SO much tougher now when girls and women are WILLINGLY sending a message that SEEMS tobe "it's part of being a girl to be noticed and admired for your appearance and even sexuality."

I don't know myself, the topic is complex and nuanced.

I guess he sees a lot of similarities between the pictures that both celebraries and ordinary take and the way women are portraited in magazines, in the movies, music videos,movies.

And he can't see why feminists don't saying anything about, seeing it as them being reluctant to call the women that I talked about in his quote(of course from his point of view. The feminists i follow do ask if doing x thing is truly empowering, or why do we think that X is empowering but y.

He only uses reddit, he doesn't haven't other type of social media, and I am not sure what feminist mediums he follows ,that the lack of analysis in those mediums upsets him.

He knows of feminism and he describes himself as a feminist ally.

I think he can't see the forest for the trees for now, that social media in general can does sent the message that being being sexy, being famous, having money eguals happiness and confidence.

Or that you see both men and women posting risky, suggestive pictures and clips and videos.

There are more women who post more these kind of pictures?

Given how women were and continue to be valued by their looks, it's very real possibility.

I can't figure out what he expects feminists to do about women who post those pictures.

Now that I think of it, what pictures don't see send the "girls and women are WILLINGLY sending a message that SEEMS tobe "it's part of being a girl to be noticed and admired for your appearance and even sexuality" kind of message.

Btw, the last comment by me are my thoughts on the matter.
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Re: Are women who sexual pictures of themselves on social media perpetuate the idea that is okay for men to enjoy the v

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Rave,

So, as Mo said, I think a helpful thing to bring to your grandfather is the fact that feminists are not a single group with one set of opinions. There's a huge variety in terms of the ways people interpret feminism for themselves, and some of those ways do include telling individual women not to do certain things or post certain pictures because they're "self-objectifying" or things like that (that's not a version of feminism I ascribe to, in part because it serves to further narrow down the ways women can express themselves).

Too, I'd raise the question of why it's feminists, specifically, that's he's frustrated with for not addressing what he sees as an issue. Why not the social media platforms themselves that tend to reward certain ways of looking or acting? And why would it fall only to feminists to help other women think critically about how they engage with social media, or teach young women that their value isn't solely about being attractive?

And, as you said, I think what he may be missing is that there's a difference between critiquing corporations and bothering some person on Instagram. If someone challenges, say, Marvel as to why their female superheros are always posed ridiculously sexually, that conversation could in time lead to a change. But if someone is just badgering a single person for posting sexy pictures (and, in many cases, making big assumptions about their reasons for doing so) that's not going to change the cultural perception of women; it's just going to make that one woman miserable.
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