I was mortified to see a public service announcement during primetime hours on television cautioning girls on the dangers of sending elicit photos of themselves to boys via cell phones, or posting them on social networking sites.
Let that sink in. We are now at the point of having to very specifically tell underage girls that it’s not a good idea to take nude pictures of themselves and post them in public places. Somehow this has escaped the basket of common sense.
Girls have always been guilty of trusting boys more than they should. Regardless of what generation we grew up in, we all believed a boy when he said he wouldn’t tell anyone if we kissed him behind the bleachers, snuck out and met him at the beach late at night, or whatever else might happen. Raise your hand if you ever heard, “I won’t tell, I promise,” from a very convincing cute boy.
But they all told.
Maybe they only told their best friend, but the friend in turn had no loyalty to us, the girl, and before you knew it he had spread quite a tale across the school. Everybody knew your business. Any self respecting girl was humiliated or mortified, and undoubtedly was then teased or gossiped about.
Yes, girls, there are no secrets when it comes to boys and their intimate knowledge of you or your parts. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.
But those of us coming of age in the pre-Information Era benefited from one advantage that no longer exists. We didn’t have to worry about being caught on tape without our knowledge. Cell phone cameras and tiny video cameras weren’t even in our imaginations.
When you were alone with someone...you actually were alone with them. You didn’t have to fear a replay of your weekend night activities being mass-emailed to your entire grade by Monday morning, or playing in an endless loop in the computer lab.
And what a relief that is to me even now. Like most high school girls, I was convinced I was horribly unattractive as a teenager. I hated my legs, my thighs, my hips, my boobs; all of them were misshapen and inferior to the other thousand girls at my school. Would I have EVER sent a nude picture of myself to a boy?
‘Scuse me while I choke on my frappaccino.
As my friend Vanessa said, “Good ol' body dysmorphic disorder kept us chaste.”
It’s true. We were so embarrassed or disgusted by our own bodies that we didn’t even want to look at them ourselves. There was no way we’d take photographs or video of such hideousness for a boy to see! Our low self esteems kept us from doing things we shouldn’t do.
So that brings me to the question: Which is the lesser of two evils, a 16-year-old girl with no self esteem, or a 16-year-old girl with high self esteem but no common sense?