Celebrity Nudes – Sexting Propaganda – Sexting Pedagogy!

Celebrity Nude

It’s all too familiar to wake up one morning and see the headlines about another celebrity involved with a nude photo scandal, so much so that it has lost all its scandalous shock value. This normalisation of celebrity nude images that is perpetuated by society, is arguably making an impression upon pre-teen and teenagers which is potentially detrimental to their self-image and self-worth. In our contemporary world it is near impossible to find someone without a smartphone or access to media through online platforms. The effect of this increasingly digitalised world is demonstrated though news outlets, celebrity news dominates over any other subject, leading us into an era of celebrity worship which is almost cult like.

These destructive social normative behaviours are illustrated through social media platforms, young people have access to leaked images of their idols often engaging in illicit activities and nude selfies. Youth have more than enough exposure to sexually explicit images which has led to a sexually desensitised generation, leading to lower sexual ethics than previous generations. Jennifer Lawrence is a prime example of a star caught up in a nude photo scandal when her iCloud was hacked, and her private images were released to the general public. Jennifer Lawrence is a well-known Oscar winning actress but despite her large fan base she did received a hefty amount of negative backlash for the images.

Kim Kardashian also was a victim of the iCloud hacking, unlike Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian rose to fame for her dating life and appearing in a homemade sex tape. Kim Kardashian who has appeared nude in magazines has monopolised on her physical attributes and is now a well-known brand. The difference between Kim Kardashian and Jennifer Lawrence is that Kim Kardashian has capitalised on the sexual exposure of her body whilst Jennifer Lawrence capitalised on her acting. However, through this the younger demographic is being taught that you can get famous for working on your talent and skills and be rewarded with fame and fortune, or you can allow yourself to be sexually exploited through promiscuity and be rewarded with the same fame.

Kim Kardashian has since married notorious musician Kanye West who is well-known for his misogynistic lyrics which devalues women “…We got this bitch shaking like Parkinson’s… Black dick all in your spouse again…” The use of misogyny through music as medium is and has been an issue for a long time, glorifying men’s sexual wants and desires to dominate women often with grotesque videos to match. Men are then able to ‘slut shame’ women and create victims out of them, ultimately gaining control and this is perpetuated in all aspects of media and society. This creates a vicious cycle of low sex ethics seen in celebrity-culture and is then manipulated and imitated in our own micro societies particularly seen in schools and workplaces. The effects of the normalisation of sexting has a greater impact on people who are not living pseudo-celebrity life as they are still being caught up in sexting scandals. Youth who see their favourite celebrities take nude images then allow themselves to partake in this behaviour and thus we are seeing the sexting movement.

These scandals have left impressionable youth surrounded by poor sexual ethics displayed by their idols, of course the youth of today is going to be affected socially, mentally and physically by this ongoing issue. The sexting propaganda perpetuates a false sense of security to our younger generations that the internet is a safe place for sexual communication, however in actuality once the internet has your images it is impossible to retract them. The discourse of sexting is reproducing the ideology that this is the new moral norm; the new sexual ethic is that sexting is the new form of courtship. While this issue of self-sexualising oneself through sexting impacts both sexes we are seeing females be placed at a higher risk of moral exploitation and social harm. Males also partake in the sexting culture but society does not teach men to be ashamed of their bodies, men are not devalued as harshly as their female counterparts. This results in a form of victim-blaming much like when a female is held responsible for sexual assault.

naked celebrity
paparazzi nude images

If anything is to be learnt from the celebrity hacking scandal, it is that now is the time to re-evaluate our current sexual ethics. As we try to counter the sexting movement through safe-sexting campaigns we are seeing strict moral boundaries being addressed for females and but not typically males. A sexual double standard being demonstrated here with sexting being gendered, as the media too often dramatizes a motif of females caught in sexting scandals. Victim-blaming females will not stop this imminent threat of exploitation, our society must stop the continuous humiliation and scrutiny of the female form. Both sexes must educate themselves in safe-sexting practises, teaching both sexes age-appropriate sexual pedagogy and sexual expression to prevent unsafe sexting issues.

Consent, Respect and Oversharing!

Secrecy

I know it’s an exciting time coming into an adult shop and finally being able to open up and talk about the thing we all love to do but don’t want to talk about…. Sex. I understand that I may overshare a little but it’s my job to overshare so that you know exactly what it is you’re spending your hard earn money on. Now, when I say overshare I don’t mean you telling me the things that you are into, because I asked you these questions, therefore, I am consenting to hear whatever the answer may be.

What I’m talking about are the situations like where you’ve asked for my opinion on what butt plug you should get your wife and as I’m showing you, you think it’s time to tell me all the stories about your wife’s past and how well you make her orgasm now….*coughs awkwardly*

  1. Do you think your wife would be happy that you’re sharing these stories with me?
  2. Did I ask for this story?
  3. Even if you were telling me stories about your own sexual past, did you ask me if I was ok with listening to them first?

The funny thing is if you had asked if I was ok with listening to a story, I most probably would have been intrigued and ask you to go on but instead you have thrown me off and made me feel super uncomfortable.

Just going to leave this definition here because it seems like a lot of people forget it.

consent
kənˈsɛnt/
noun
  1. 1.
    permission for something to happen or agreement to do something.

It isn’t even just consent, it’s common decency.
Just because I work in an adult shop doesn’t mean I want to listen to the ins and outs of your sex life. I get paid just like any normal retail worker…. NOT A SEX WORKER OR THERAPIST! No, I am not here to make you feel better about the things you choose to do in the bedroom and I definitely don’t want to know how many times you made your fuck buddy cum last night…..

 

I absolutely love being able to have conversations with customers that are comfortable enough to open up about what they are into so that I am able to help choose the best products for them. In return, if I can relate with what they need and if I have used a product in that department I will open up and recommend a toy that I personally own and have enjoyed. 

Now, with these customers, I have asked a series of questions that I have consented to listen to the answer to and before I tell them any of my recommendations I will ask if I can do so beforehand.

These are my favorite kinds of customer interactions! I could spend hours going on about my beloved toy collection and recommending toys to the groups of customers that come in looking for a good quality toy and that are consenting for me to do so.

What I am not comfortable with is the same male customer coming into the store constantly, conveniently asking for all my recommendations on great female toys. Him asking if I have ever used them myself and what my experience was like so that he can pick a toy for his mysterious wife that has never ever come into the store with him and him constantly never purchasing anything!! Do you think I don’t see what you are doing? I am not here for a free boner sir and you are just taking advantage of my kindness! I also don’t appreciate 70-year-old men asking me to put their new cock plugs in for them while I am down here on my knees trying to reach and grab what you have chosen from the back of the damn cabinet…. SERIOUSLY???? I’d rather just lay and on the floor and die slowly now but instead, I will laugh uncomfortably, stay silent until you leave the store and pray that I’ll never have to be the one to serve you again. This situation happened to me when I was only weeks into working in an adult shop, if that happened to me now I’d tell him his gross, disrespectful and needs an attitude change before he walks into the store again. I’ve grown some serious balls over the past few years from dealing with these creeps and I am not afraid anymore to tell you if I think you’re acting like a disrespectful pig. I want you to know that you can’t just walk into somebody else’s space and do whatever you want for your own personal enjoyment, that’s not how life works and I refuse to allow you to walk out thinking otherwise.

We have a lot of customers that appreciate and thank me and the other staff members. They tell us how much they appreciate having someone serving them that makes them feel comfortable, rather than your stereotypical adult shops with a creepy person staring at you from behind the counter. I’ve even had plenty of crappy experiences in dodgy adult shops myself. So, instead of taking advantage of the kind people willing to open up and help you, maybe appreciate and respect them like you would expect for yourself if you were in their shoes.

#MeToo Fighting Sexual Harassment & Assault!

Hashtag for sexual assault and harrassment

In solidarity with the internet world I am joining the #metoo movement currently happening. Now if you haven’t been online over this past weekend, you might be wondering what the #metoo movement is or what I am talking about? A little over a week ago a major movement began in the Hollywood circle with sexual assault and harassment charges were brought forth by one of the industry’s most notable. These allegations are nothing new, countless incidents have been brought forth against countless people for years and years. What makes this instance so unique is the backing support it has received from women and men around the world who have had enough, in particular Alyssa Milano (Who’s the Boss, Charmed) started a tweet:

Twitter Facebook And Instagram Trending Hashtag
Image: Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo Tweet

 “If all the people who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Metoo.” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #MeToo”

Hollywood Actress Alyssa Milano
Photo: Alyssa Milano

This tweet has sparked a viral online movement and one that is causing a number of debates amongst its own supporters. I first started seeing this post specifically calling for “Women” who’ve experienced these forms of harassment and assault to come together in solidarity, soon after I started seeing men, women and non-binary identifiers also posting their stories, or simply indicating a #metoo.  For many this is a movement to bring awareness to the harassment and mistreatment of WOMEN that has been swept under the rug for too long. Others are proclaiming this is the opportunity to show that sexual harassment, assault and rape are not just a Women’s issue, but rather everyone’s issue.  1 in 4 girls will be sexually mistreated in some way before they are 18, that same statistic applies to 1 in 6 boys. I’d say this is everyone’s issue and in 2017 when the movement for equality has made more stride than ever before, there’s no better cause to come together for.

Now that you have a little more information about the #metoo trend happening around you, I’d like to take this time to share my experience.

As a man, and for one who grew up in rural Canada surrounded by every hegemonic masculine stereotype you can imagine, I endured physical and mental harassment from peers in school for being different. I personally never gave much thought to sexual harassment and how it would, could and did eventually affect me.

When I was 19 or 20 I had been casually “seeing” a guy for some time, we went to movies, shared dinners etc. On this particular night which happened to be his birthday, he had people over to his condo for drink and celebrations, nothing unusual here. I turned up later than the rest of the guests as I had prior commitments. When I arrived everyone was well into the celebrations, him included. Everyone was full of love and laughter, the night was just like any small birthdays you’ve been to. As the guests levels of intoxication grew the party dwindled down, having arrived later I was leagues behind where this guy was on the drunk meter. As the last guests were leaving, I decided I would head home as well, but first to put this guy to bed. We had been seeing each other for a while and known each other longer; I thought the nice thing to do would be to make sure he was comfortable in bed.  After leading him from a half passed out position on his recliner to his bedroom, his energy level picked right up. The whispers of seduction were pouring from his lips, I playfully laughed it off and told him I was putting him to bed and I would see him the following day (I’m not one for drunk sex). He began kissing me and soon we were horizontal on the bed. I played it off with laughter and repeatedly telling him I was tucking him in and walking home… alone! The seductive moves began to get more forceful with one hand on my wrist and soon followed by the second. Even at this point, pinned to a bed, a man much larger than myself on top, I still didn’t feel like I was in a situation of assault. In my mind he was drunk. I began repeating for him to let me go, admittedly I was laughing and smiling through this. I continued to repeat myself, when his knees began pushing against my legs, still pinned at the wrists and the full weight of this man atop me I began to feel for lack of a better word claustrophobic. It was this feeling at the time that prompted me to use my head. Literally, when he leaned in to kiss my face or neck or wherever he was aiming I threw my forehead into his face. It was like lightning, his grip released my hands and I rolled off the bed in one movement.

I didn’t say a word, I don’t even remember leaving his apartment. I remember walking down the nearly deserted city street walking with as much “unf” as I could muster, it was about a 30 minute walk from his place to mine. To be honest I don’t remember getting home, or what I did with myself. I don’t remember being scared or upset at what had happened. As I said before, in my mind it was the alcohol. I chalked up what had taken place to the results of alcohol.

It wasn’t until the next morning that I found my t shirt with blood splatters across the front.

Perhaps putting the blame on something intangible, kept me and my brain from re living and mentally playing over the events to determine his actual motives.  I didn’t “date” this guy again, I just lost interest.  I never acknowledged within myself that I might have ill feelings towards him or in fact I didn’t think about it again for years.

The effects of that night did dawn on me years later, while dating another person who suffered from alcoholism (I’ve dated some winners). During this relationship after his countless benders he would always end up apologising for this and that, he would always blame it on the alcohol. After a few repeat offences and repeat apologies from this guy I knew it wasn’t the alcohol that lead to this behaviour. The alcohol just lowered the inhibitions that would tell someone “it’s not a good idea”. Alcohol doesn’t make you do things out of nowhere, it just lowers your sense of judgment and inhibitions.

After the later relationship ended I was out at an event in Vancouver and I bumped into “the guy”. All was well until he approached me outside the venue. He began the conversation as if his birthday night was the other day and not years prior. He was apologetic, he was afraid, he was ashamed. I didn’t know how to react, the emotions I was feeling in that moment were too overwhelming and came out of left field. I hadn’t acknowledged my own hurt and here he was exploding his. I did the only thing I knew how to do, and that was to accept his apology as cordially as I could and smiled then answered a fake phone call, told him I needed to take it and proceeded back inside the venue to my friends.

Now years later since all of this has happened and as i reflect on the situation as a whole i am left with more questions. What I should have said to him? Did he deserve that platform to express himself? Did his words bring up more trauma than healing?

No two situations are the same, no two people go through the same emotional process. That is what is so tricky with situations like these, not every matter is black and white. The one thing that is for sure is that your body is yours alone, no one has dominion over it but you.

I have shared my #metoo story along with many others. And I question what good will it do? I might be able to sit here and recount this story, countless others who’ve gone through their own situations may not and that doesn’t make their story any less important or imperative to this movement. No one is entitled to another’s story, nor is anyone obligated to share their story. These are personal offenses and take a personal journey to deal with.

For a personal story about recovering from sexual assault read Morgan’s article “Deciding to Touch”. Oh Zone Adult Lifestyle Centre’s are LGBTQI safe spots for people who may be in distress.

Author: Patrick Kriz- BA, Psych (HON)- Human Sexuality

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