There once was a time when bikinis were considered scandalous, intimacy was reserved for the bedroom, and women had more self-esteem. Then the sexual revolution of the 60s, coupled with the rise of television, promoted promiscuity and sexualization through fashion. Today, social media amplifies this trend, normalizing sensual and highly revealing photos for women of all ages.
Intimacy has entirely lost its definition, as privacy is willfully relinquished to the world of online oversharing.
Celebrities Who Overshare
Countless celebrities have bared it all on social media, making it seem acceptable - and even normal - for the many who look to them as cultural trendsetters. Miley Cyrus frequently posts raunchy and revealing photos on her Instagram, as do Bella Thorne, Bella Hadid, and far too many others. Some, like Lizzo, do it under the guise of so-called “body positivity” and “women’s empowerment.” Putting one’s sexuality on display accomplishes neither. It is sexual exploitation that reduces a person to their physical body and limits their self-worth by negating their value as a human being with a personality and a soul.
Loss of Self-Esteem and Self-Respect
Though it may seem that a young woman who exposes herself to unlimited viewership possesses a great deal of confidence and self-esteem, the opposite is typically the case. Social media use has been directly correlated with increased levels of depression, especially in women. Females are becoming reliant on validation from online strangers, and if the likes are not plentiful, their self-esteem takes a nosedive.
The ills of comparison also factor into this plight. Women can scroll through social media, juxtaposing their own bodies with the curated images of innumerable strangers, thereby producing or heightening insecurities about themselves. While many claim that freeing the flesh is a sure avenue to empowerment, it’s actually creating an unhealthy obsession with appearance.
While many claim that freeing the flesh is a sure avenue to empowerment, it’s actually creating an unhealthy obsession with appearance.
The Rise of Social Media Prostitution
An even more threatening consequence is the issue of online prostitution. According to a study done by a French anti-prostitution group, pimps are now recruiting girls through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and other apps and then prostituting them in Airbnbs.
There is also the shocking business of women on Instagram prostituting themselves by posting seductive bikini and lingerie pictures. Men will send them direct messages via the app, requesting their presence at various social events in exchange for exorbitant sums (that typically end up entailing much more than the woman’s mere presence).
Pimps are now recruiting girls through Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and other apps and then prostituting them in Airbnbs.
The Lost Art of True Beauty
It seems that our society has lost the art of true beauty. Women no longer know how to harness and exhibit alluring feminine grace. Instead of looking to paragons of class like Kate Middleton or attempting to echo the style and elegance of Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn, they are being bombarded with images of scantily clad Kylie Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski, and other famous women and influencers who have decided that leaving nothing to the imagination is more attractive than reserving such intimacy for committed love. They are selling themselves - and their natural beauty - short by relying on lust for likes.
If women want to actually increase their confidence, the exploitation of female bodies has to stop. Respecting yourself means recognizing your personality, natural gifts, and humanity has true worth. Your physical body is not an object to be advertised, exposed, and enjoyed by the masses. It is the sacred vessel of the true, whole, and beautiful self.
Baring all on social media is not “women’s liberation.” Rather, it degrades women, diminishes the sacredness of the human body, and leads to a whole host of societal ills. Women and their bodies should be honored, and that begins with women treating themselves with respect.
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