How Facebook is sexualizing young girls

The Week's Editorial Staff
The Week

Teen girls have always obsessed over their looks, says Randye Hoder at The New York Times. But social networking is pushing them to a disturbing extreme

In today's "hyper-public internet age, young teenagers are relentlessly living their lives camera-ready — and it's not a pretty picture," says Randye Hoder at The New York Times. Internet-connected cameras are everpresent, and young girls are obsessively posing for Facebook, whose "Like" feature — the ultimate gauge of popularity — drives girls to out-sexy each other in order to win the coveted clicks. Here, an excerpt:

[T]he glare of the camera is never far away. And that is affecting how adolescent girls conduct themselves in their actual, everyday lives. Girls this age, who have felt pressured historically to look their best most of the time, suddenly seem to feel as if they need to look their best all of the time. In turn, always being "on" seems to lead some girls to pose for pictures that are oversexualized: Pouting lips, lots of cleavage, short-shorts, crop tops that showcase a bare midriff. 

Technology, of course, is the driver. With it now commonplace for middle-school students to have smartphones, they are able to snap pictures — any time and any place — and instantly upload them to Facebook. Mobile uploads ("muploads," as some call them), not to mention the pervasive use of video chatting, have made it nearly impossible to escape the spotlight.

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"Before a video chat, I’ll fix my hair and make sure that I look good,” said Grace, an eighth-grader. “If I just got out of the shower and my hair is wet, or I’m wearing my sweats, I’ll cover the camera with a Post-it, or I just won’t accept the video chat."

Read the entire article at The New York Times.

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