Paleo Retiree writes:
… would you be sexting with your sweetie? And would the two of you be swapping sexy jpgs? To kick it up one more level: If you and your sweetie were feeling juicy and mischievous, would you be uploading naughty stills and videos of yourselves to, I dunno, a show-yourselves-off site like Reddit Gone Wild? I suspect that I’d be doing it. How could I resist the thrill of doing the dumb-and-sexy things everyone else my age seems to be doing?
I find myself wondering about these questions because … Well, partly because they’re fun to think about, but also partly because earlier today I found myself mulling over piercings and tattoos. Here’s how my musing went: When middle-class, educated kids first started getting tattoos and piercings, like many people I thought, “They’ll regret that one of these days! Plus, don’t they know that bosses will never stand for it? Bad work decision!” But, as happens so often, reality hasn’t played out according to my predictions. What has emerged instead is that, instead of the kids having to adjust to aging and the office, aging and the office have accomodated the kids. Offices today (at least media and arts/fashion offices in NYC) are full of tattood adults, many of whom also have visible piercings. Being a pierced-and-tattood person-with-a-respectable-job is no longer a big deal; no one’s life or career seems to be held back by it. The kids — well, young adults now — laugh about their ink and hardware, and have fun comparing them. It’s the new normal — the new young-adult normal.
I found myself trying to apply that experience to the nude-selfies question. The Wise Thing to say to youngsters today is, “It may look like fun now but one day you’ll regret uploading nude shots of yourself to the web.” But maybe the future won’t play along with this prediction either. Maybe one day it’ll be as common for young adults to have nude selfies floating around the web as it is for them currently to wear tattoos and piercings. Maybe one day having jpgs and gifs of yourself naked online just won’t be a big deal. Maybe young adults will be casual about it, and even laugh and compare their online histories.
Major life lesson: It’s young people, and not old ones, who generally get to define what life becomes.
Incidentally: when nudes and having-sex shots are uploaded to the web by (NSFW alert) the people who took the pix and are in the pix, doesn’t it dramatically complicate the “what’s porn and what’s not?” question? After all, who’s exploiting whom? These youngsters aren’t damaged druggies reaching for the stars, submitting to a scuzzy business and destroying their lives in the process. Maybe many of the youngsters who upload nude shots of themselves are just nice kids having today’s (or, possibly, tomorrow’s) version of good wholesome fun. And maybe the world’s going their way.