Internet Porn a Lure to Youth in Today’s ‘Look-At-Me’ Culture

According to the¬†Associated Press, Internet porn sites were visited by more than a third of Internet users in the U.S. in April. That being said, it is little wonder that today’s youth are getting the message that sex of all kinds is in demand, and there is fame and fortune out there to be had. And with today’s technology, virtually anyone who can operate a camera and a computer can participate.

The Associated Press reports that many in today’s culture are calling this embracing of sexuality and provocative exhibitionism among young women sexy and empowering. But others, including mental health professionals, parents and educators, disagree and have some compelling arguments to back their sentiment.

Holly Eglinton, 31, vied for and won a talent search competition to appear on the Internet’s “Naked News” as a newscaster in the buff. According to the Associated Press, she had posted provocative pictures of herself on an Internet networking site, which landed her an audition. Asked about posing nude on the Internet program, Eglinton told the Associated Press that it was freeing, fun and rebellious. “It’s something that sort of suits my personality. I’m kind of an extrovert and a bit of a camera hog, a poser,” she said.

Victoria Sinclair, 40, has been the lead anchor woman on “Naked News” since 1999. She told the Associated Press that she sees herself as a role model, although “sometimes, there are moments when I think, ‘Oh my goodness what am I doing?’ But I’m really OK with it.”

Skeptics fault our look-at-me culture and question just how empowering this kind of behavior really is, especially for girls and younger women, says the Associated Press.

Michael Simon is a therapist and high school counselor in the San Francisco Bay area. According to the Associated Press, Simon is seeing more and more girls and young women who performed sexual acts via a Web cam for people they had met online. Simon told the Associated Press that “instead of pornography or performative sexuality being one choice among many ways of being sexual, it’s essentially become the standard of sexiness. It’s also the standard by which a man or woman is a prude, depending on how much they embrace that kind of sexuality.”

Yvonne K. Fulbright is a sexologist and author. The Associated Press reports that Fulbright posts messages looking for people who want to comment on topics for the “Sex Files” satellite radio program. Instead of comments, she often receives responses from young women, provocatively describing their bodies. “They’re under the impression that they can be the next big thing. Unfortunately, for a lot of females that means taking off your clothes and being sexual. It’s a really warped sense of what it means to be sexy,” Fulbright told the Associated Press.

According to the Associated Press, being “hot” and confident have almost become synonymous in the workplace too. And those employers and school administrators who are taken aback by these trends have started establishing dress codes.

High school teacher and parent Dennis Brown told the Associated Press: “As a high school teacher, I see 14-year-old girls dressing in a way that makes me shake my head. Where do they get that?” Even his own 5-year-old daughter recently told him she thought she looked fat. Brown said he thought, “Oh my gosh, here we go. Now I have to start deconstructing that mind-set.”

As the Associated Press reports, it is a huge topic of discussion among researchers with some compelling study results that show the sexualization of young women and girls, in particular, can hurt them in many ways. But whether parents and educators are able to turn the tide, only time will tell.

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