Sexting as Media Production – Rethinking Social Media and Sexuality by A. Hasinoff (2012)

In modern society, there has been a recent scare with the use of social media, typically more so back in 2010 with the release of MySpace and IM which enabled us to talk in ‘real time’ to friends and family across the globe.

What if these people were sexual predators attempting to lure you into sending explicit images via text or email?

There has been huge negativity revolving around the concept of ‘sexting’ – sending explicit messages to another person or images. Young teenage girls are often the victims of sexting – in terms of what it could lead to. The mortifying realisation that the image you have just sent to a stranger hoping for some sexual content in return has been publicly shared on the internet within a heartbeat.

 Hasinhoff explores the positives of teenage sexting and attempts to stray away from the norm of finding easy negatives where social media is to blame. She challenges common concerns on how girls communicate and who they communicate with whilst online or using their mobile phone. Hasinhoff ultimately argues that by thinking of sexting as a media production would encourage researchers to pay more attention to the opportunities of social media as well as the risks.

 Hasinhoff draws up theories from Albury and Crawford (2012), who argues that young people are well aware of the differences and are developing norms and ethics of sexting based on consent. However, I would challenge this suggestion, in terms of adults sexting perhaps consent is realised and ethics on both sides of men and women are considered. Though young adults sexting may not realise that they are consenting as Hasinhoff states in her article, when online or using a mobile we are unconsciously more dominant and assertive in the way in which we speak to another person – as we can choose our identity which cannot be done when speaking face to face.

 Hasinhoff continues to suggest that other observers worry that mobile phones and the internet cause teenage girls to demonstrate non-normative behaviour. With expert advice from P.Aftab, who states that

“…teenagers are disconnected from the immediate consequences of their actions online – so many ‘good’ kids and teens find themselves doing things online they would never dream of doing in real life’ (2006:16)

 

However, modern society is changing so rapidly I would question what is the normative behaviour for teenage girls ? It has become the norm that young women are to have a Friday or Saturday night out and come back to their parenting home drunk and occasionally engaging in some sort of sexual contact whilst on a ‘night out’ with the opposite sex.

 I would also question the research of Hasinhoff, who has targeting just females during her study. I would be interested to know how men are affected, if at all, by sexting. The article overall is very interesting and I connected with it well, I am further engrossed to understand more about changing ones identity, the normative behaviour for women and the pleasures of sexting women engage in, rather than the negative effects that are keenly distributed by the media. 

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