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Young people are sending more nude images than ever, is this just harmless fun?


By Geraldine Carton
17th Aug 2018
Young people are sending more nude images than ever, is this just harmless fun?

Here’s the scenario: you’re texting a guy; someone that you recently met on a dating app, or in a bar last weekend. Everything is going great; the banter is full of wit and you’re starting to swoon. Then, out of what seems like nowhere, an image arrives into the conversation feed. A photo of his manhood.

You didn’t ask for it, nor was the idea of such a photo ever brought up in the conversation; and yet here you are, with a pornographic image looking you square in the eyes.

This exact scenario happened to former Made in Chelsea star, Ashley James, who recently wrote about the somewhat jarring experience in her blog. Ashley’s post generated a huge amount of attention; with some people agreeing with her outrage at the unrequested photo being sent, whilst others dubbed her a prude, and insisted that it’s all “just a bit of fun”.

Modern dating

“Am I a prude? Is this really what has the world of modern dating has become?” were the questions that went through Ashley’s head. And although many would not consider her reaction “prudish” at all, it would seem that yes, this is how modern dating has become.

Whilst older generations continue to find the idea of sending naked pictures of yourself to a new acquaintance a bit jarring, today’s youth (23 years and below) consider it “totally normal” to send a nude photo to a crush, or indeed to request one from them.

Ashley James

They “like to know what they’re getting”

After writing her blog post, Ashley James received many messages from young adults and teenagers who claimed that “sending nudes” is just part of the dating process nowadays. These young women said that they “like to know what they’re getting” before they go on a date, and they feel justified in asking potential suitors to send naked photos of their penis in advance so they can make their mind up…

“They won’t commit to dating a guy before they see his penis; it’s as simple as that”.

Are future generations really reducing each other to nothing more than a photo of their reproductive organs? After the harassment and degradation that women have been subjected to throughout history; after all the revelations of #MeToo; all the declarations that we are “moving into a new era of change, respect and of care”; after the extensive work that was done to improve the way we treat each other, this feels like somewhat of a step in the wrong direction.

“I fancy you. Here are my genitals”

Gone are the days of getting your friend to ask a crush “will you meet my friend”. Now it’s more like “I fancy you. Here is a picture of my genitals”. Or at least for some teenagers. 

We’ve all seen instances of people’s lives, careers and reputations (usually women’s) being ruined by the unsolicited circulation of their naked image, and if young people are failing to take heed of the threat that this poses, forgive me for being a Negative Nancy, but it spells nothing but trouble.

With this in mind Ashley James wants to open up the discussion, and make young people aware of the destructive effects this kind of activity can have. The view that sending nudes is “just a bit of fun” is hard to agree with when you see the dark side of this trend, and when you take a second to think about the negative effects it could wield for young people down the line. 

“Send nudes”? When it’s young school-goers making such requests, I say “send help”.