Sexting turns a profit: A lesson from the pornography industry?

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4 Responses

  1. nathanjurgenson says:

    i agree that most seem to underestimate the ubiquity of porn. that a 13yo has access to the full range of porn via a computer is something new and interesting and will likely have positive and negative outcomes. HOWEVER, i’m not sure if the (overstated) sexting phenomenon is really the result of the big, bad porn industry as this post indicates. kids have always displayed bodies to eachother. also, their worlds are of increasing exhibitionism and documentation of their lives and selves via new technologies (e.g., facebook, mobile phones). all of this even without the big, bad porn industry seems to explain pretty well why kids are sending pictures of themselves to eachother, even for money.

    • Rachael says:

      I agree that blaming the “big, bad porn industry” for the sexting phenomenon is a reductive assessment. Rather that contributing to that “blame porn” argument, this particular post questions the reaction (based on the news report) from parents and their lack of awareness in connecting exposure to the pornography industry and subsequent behavior from their adolescent children (profit for nudity).

  2. pjrey says:

    This was interesting post. I immediately relayed the story to several friends to see their reaction.

    I think Nathan is right, though, this is a much bigger and more important than just dispelling the ignorance of naive parents. “If you show me yours, I’ll show you mine” is probably one of the most typically and most natural behaviors for pubescent teens to engage in. The porn industry isn’t really the independent variable here. It’s been around for a long time. Rather, I think new social media and surveillance technologies are. What’s interesting is that it was the monetary aspect of this story made it shocking to most people, implying that the mass exhibitionist behavior is now relatively mundane.

    Teens will likely always be obsessed with sex. Only recently have they become obsessed with mass exposure and constant documentation. The phenomena of mass sexual exhibitionism (e.g., sexting) appears only to be a natural extension of these two trends. Doing it for money? Isn’t this just the pinnacle of the American Dream, “the spirit of capitalism?” Namely, to do what you already want to do and get paid. Isn’t this the difference between being an Internet celebrity and a real celebrity? Aren’t we all supposed to seek to be the former and then the latter? Aren’t these kids just behaving the way society is asking them to behave? And by “society,” I don’t mean some elite pornographers, but you, and me, and everyone.

  3. Keri says:

    I see the point that both Nathan and PJ make about bodily display, but this is different because the subject of the photograph may not have intended to “show hers” to 40 other classmates. Were the funds shared between the subject of the photograph and the photographer? The article seems to suggest that the boy kept all of the funds. This does suggest that the girl was–as Rachael’s post describes–an object in a budding teen sexting industry similar to the women who are objects in the pornography industry.

    Great post, Rachael. Thanks for bringing this story to our attention.


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