The Generation of Nudes

If you have ever found yourself in an intimate relationship of some sort, chances are, you have sent a nude. Nudes are modern-day love letters. It is a sexy way to show affection and to some degree, it can even become empowering. However, revenge porn is a huge issue. We have all heard about somebody getting their nudes leaked or may have been victims ourselves. The distribution of intimate content without permission is a violation of women’s and men’s rights and dignity. Under no circumstances can the humiliation that comes with being exposed be normalized or justified. It is an issue that we as a generation must tackle and define how the future of nudes will or could be affected.

Image Credits: Mariel Abbene

When I learned about Katie Hill’s controversy my heart dropped to my stomach. Katie Hill was a 32-year-old congresswoman from California who became a victim of revenge porn when her ex-husband decided to leak her intimate nude images. As a consequence, Hill resigned to her position and debates have been in the air regarding this decision. Hill gave a resignation speech the past week when she stated, “The forces of revenge by a bitter jealous man, cyber exploitation and sexual shaming that target our gender and a large segment of society that fears and hates powerful women have combined to push a young woman out of power and say that she doesn’t belong here.” Additionally, she spoke about how men and women still are viewed and regarded very differently regarding their sexuality. She uses President Donald Trump as an example stating that despite the numerous allegations of sexual misconduct towards women, he remains in office without a problem. In contrast, Hill’s leaked images painted her as an unprofessional, reckless young woman not suitable to sit in congress.

Generation Z is the most technologically influenced generation of our entire history. As a fellow Gen Z'er, I can guarantee you we have all said and done things on the internet that don't represent the people we are. We have grown in a platform where sadly, everything we have done and will do will forever be attached to our name as evidence. As time passes, Millenials and Gen Z'ers will begin to have a presence in Congress and all areas of politics. We need to begin creating a culture where we can correctly define what type of content reflects a person's character and what type simply reflects their journey of growth as an individual. This is why Katie Hill's decision might not have been the most appropriate. I do not condone that Hill should have remained in office to continue being humiliated but to show society that yes, her images were leaked but they do not define her ability to sit in congress. How will we teach future girls to deal with situations like this if not by having women who endured and persevered?

I would like to take a moment to shine some light on statistics because they exist and are not surprising. Americans send 1.8 million nudes, most of these nudes coming from minors. According to Times Magazine, 1 in 4 teens has said they have ever sent out a sext. Larger implications exist for those who get their content leaked varying from mental health problems to life-threatening scenarios. Although not a lot of scientific research exists that helps prove the relationship between sexting and mental health problems, the Spaniard psychologist Aina M. Gassó, drew up a revealing study where she sought to discover the effects of sexting. In this study, she analyzed the behaviors of 3,715 teens aged 13 to 18 years old. The results of the study pointed towards a positive relationship between sexting, depression, anxiety and contemplation of/attempted suicide. The effects that revenge porn may have on a teenager are comparably different and worse than on an adult. With sexting being such a common trend, there must exist a larger scale of help and guidance for those who become affected. A lack of research around the topic is also quite alarming due to the rise of suicides as a consequence of revenge porn. Awareness is necessary, and unfortunate events such as Katie Hill’s help the public see that this is a greater issue than just teens sending nudes on Snapchat.

It is a complicated and deep issue that reaches the core of human morality. One that I believe should be talked about more often. From the regulations that protect these men and women to the societal reactions to this type of content, the Katie Hill controversy is one that affects all of us. It is not the first time that an achieved woman has been affected by revenge porn and it will not be the last. Finding who is responsible for this type of situation is difficult and currently, a generational based conflict. Ask most baby boomers and the response is simple, don’t send nudes if you don't want them to be leaked. Sadly, it is not that simple and people will continue to send them. One must always have in mind that the possibility of having intimate content leaked is always present when sexting. It is a delicate area and a game luck. But there still needs to be more awareness and protection for victims who become affected by revenge porn. Because the question stands: will we have to live in fear and possibly limit our aspirations for trusting the wrong people at the wrong time?

 

1: Gassó, Aina & Klettke, Bianca & Agustina, José & Montiel, Irene. (2019). Sexting, Mental Health, and Victimization Among Adolescents: A Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 16. 2364. 10.3390/ijerph16132364.