I'd never heard the word "sexting" until today, though it's a pretty obvious coinage--the sending of sexually suggestive messages or images via text-message. I read it in this article, and I liked the way the author put it.
The big difference now is that kids have more and better tools to be dumb with. Also, there’s that whole disintegration between private and public, thanks to the Internet. You know, the whole Zen koan about if a kid posts a MySpace profile, and nobody sees it, does that kid really exist? Not as far as other kids are concerned.From the moment humans started reproducing images of other humans, whether in paintings or sculptures to early film and then movies to today, we've been recording sex. And why not? We have an incredible fascination both with the act and with the various body parts involved, and we have that from a fairly early age, compared to the average human life span. So it should be no shock that the lower the entry fee becomes in terms of either talent or technology, the more ubiquitous those images will become.
For example, the adult film industry (and the VHS format) increased its market considerably with the advent of the VCR. Why? Because people who wanted to see sexually explicit movies didn't have to go to the shaky side of town and pay to sit in a theater of questionable cleanliness. When the camcorder came on the scene, the porn industry changed--lots of "amateur" stuff popped onto the market, and it wasn't all fake amateurs. A lot of it was couples setting up cameras on tripods and humping away.
But for most teenagers, the costs of entry were still too high to get involved in those sorts of hijinks. But we're at the point today where it's getting difficult to buy a cell phone without some sort of camera built-in, and there's generally some sort of video capability. In some cases--like where police are overstepping their authority and abusing citizens--the fact that these things are so common is terrific. In others, well, not so much.
What I'm honestly afraid of here is that someone is going to go to jail for underage porn because parents find out that their precious little pumpkins have been taking pictures of their junk or junk-equivalent and sexting it to their friends/significant others/partners and those parents are buddies with the local District Attorney. In fact, I'd be surprised if it hasn't happened already. This is a situation where I'm afraid that the technology is outstripping both the law and our societal mores (to the extent they exist).
On the plus side, when I was a kid, there was a sense that if you did something like this--dared to be sexually open or experimental, especially if you were a woman--and word got out, you were ruined professionally. That's less the case now, and I suspect will become even less so in the future. We are becoming more sexually open as a culture, and that's a good thing on the whole.
Here's the Random Ten--put the computer or iPod on party shuffle and post the next ten songs to pop up, even if you hit the Bananarama/Frankie Goes to Hollywood/OMD trifecta. Drunk downloading is no excuse.
1. Son of a Bush--Public EnemyAnd if you have any embarrassing sexting-type stories you'd like to tell, please leave them in the comments. Or a Random Ten will work.
2. Electric--Luscious Jackson
3. Mr. Curiosity--Jason Mraz
4. Milk Shake--Kelis See? Proof I'm willing to embarrass myself
5. Desperately Wanting--Better Than Ezra
6. His Eye Is On the Baptist--Big Smith
7. Dock of the Bay--Otis Redding
8. Here We G, Let's Rock and Roll--C&C Music Factory
9. Wash Jones--Squirrel Nut Zippers
10. Where You At--Fat Joe ft. Papoose