“If I asked you (a 16 year old girl), out of a dozen random girls at your school, girls who all hang with different crowds and aren’t necessarily friends., how many of them have sent a naked picture to a boy on snapchat, what would you say?”
She replied, “Oh, that’s easy. A dozen for sure.”
Within the world of Snapchat and Instagram, there lies an epidemic for all who come across these social media platforms. Endless scrolling and drool-worthy doctoring of photos are too prevalent in the teen mind. No longer are moments in time thought of as enjoyable, but are instead thought of on a scale of how cohesive they will be on an individual’s page. Dreams of real relationships with people are things of the past, and have since been replaced with fantasies of thousands of likes and millions of followers.
An even bigger toxin infesting the teen psyche is the issue of nudes, or naked pictures sent to gain a sense of “sexiness”. This hollow act takes place in all environments, throughout all crowds, and without thought of consequence. When asked the question of “out of a dozen girls at your school… how many of them have sent a naked picture to a boy on Snapchat?” I replied with a simple yet harrowing answer: “a dozen for sure.”
This fact has struck me, a sixteen year old girl, in the heart. Are we not valued by our hearts, minds, and souls? Are we only as worthy as our waist size and weight? And who makes up this meter on which girls are measured? These questions may never have true answers, but they are important to think about for sure.
From a young age, we are instilled with this idea from magazines and billboards that “sexy” means skinny, yet not too skinny and big in all the “right” places. These billboards and magazine ads have more of an affect on developing minds than you might think. A professor of psychology at Kenyon College found that “the promotion of the thin, sexy ideal in our culture has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don’t like their bodies.”
This could also be why so many girls are flocking to Snapchat to create a sense of desire that they can’t fill themselves up with. When posted on a more public place like Instagram, these pictures of scantily clad girls are referred to as thirst traps, in the hopes of making boys desire their bodies. Not their minds, or their souls.
As for me, I have been asked about twenty times by numerous boys to send nudes. My responses have varied, but all stem from the same root question: do we really live in such a misogynistic world that you feel it’s acceptable to ask for a picture of me naked? I mean, in what way is that okay? And how many times has that sorry attempt at diminishing someone’s self worth actually worked?
My heart truly goes out to those girls who need to know the value of themselves. We aren’t taught to love ourselves as we are taught to learn the alphabet. It is a crusade each person individually must go on to find themselves and how high they set the bar. If we are considered a prude if we say no, yet considered a slut if we say yes to these things, then what are we as teen girls anyway?
We aren’t figments of a male fantasy, and we should remember that as we go forward into our days. We should remember where we are valued and how we should remember ourselves. Should we give in to these catcalls we were so prematurely introduced to? Should we say yes when a boy asks us for a naked selfie? These values, unfortunately, aren’t taught as much as they should be. They are learned from bad experiences of ourselves or others.
For me, it was through a time in which I was called fat at a mere 115 pounds. A time in my life in which I would look at my blue eyes and protruding collarbones in the mirror and whisper an “I hate you” before going through another spell of skipping lunch and dinner.
This is why I am so passionate about this cause. This is why I am so grateful to have the wonderful ladies at Holding Space by my side, attempting to procure this drive to recognize true divinity within ourselves, as teenagers.
Take this as a challenge. A challenge to push through what everybody tells you you should look like, think like, act like. Because, in the end, we are all we’ve got. These bodies are our temples. These bodies are how we stand up to things we believe in. These bodies are how we control a room by our powerful and unscathed presence. These bodies are how we hold space.
~Sedona Kruger, age 16