Sunday, September 20, 2009

Project: Carnal Knowledge

I am working on a project that explores the behavior of teens who transmit sexually explicit photos via cell phones and the internet. I would like to get some feedback from the public. Please answer by clicking "Comments" below. You may answer anonymously.

Disclaimer: By responding you are granting me permission to use your response as part of the text for an art work.

1. Do you send sexually explicit photos or texts with your cell phone?
If so, why?

2. Do you post sexually explicit photos in a social media profile (Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc)?
If so, why?

3. Are you a model?
If so, how have you used social media to help you further your career?

4. What is your opinion on the recent leaked nude cell phone photos of celebrities such a Cassie, Rihanna, and Vanessa Hudgens?

4a. These photos seem to go "viral," why do so many people choose to look at them?

4b. What do you think of the negative comments toward these celebrities on blogs and message boards following the leaks of nude cell phone photos?

5. Do you think that teens who send nude pictures of themselves to their friends via cell phones should be convicted as sex offenders?

6. Do you feel that the "sexting" panic is overblown? (Sexting is the act of transmitting sexually explicit photos or texts via cell phone).

Thank you for participating!


  1. 1. No, I have never and will never. I cannot understand why people send such private and explicit pitures of themselves regardless of who it is. You are only putting yourself in a vulnerable position.

    2. That is a definite no! Millions of people see those profiles regardless of if it were private or not. You will quickly end up on Google images.

    3. I wish I were a model then again, no. There is a licensing of self that comes with the territory that I am never comfortable with. However, I do think using social media is a good avenue though one must use caution!

    4. Whether they are leaked or a publicity stunt, nude pictures of celebrities ending up on the internet is both sad and paradoxical. For starters, you know you are in the public eye, so why take photos someone would just love to steal and broadcast to the world? On the other hand, it is their own personal pictures, in the end, their privacy should be respected.

    4a. People look at them for a plethora of reasons: one, to compare themselves, two, to have some sort of erotic experience or connection, three, to try and further humilate or exploit, four, to feel a sense of moral superiority. That is just to name a few.

    4b.I believe that the comments are the written emotional manifestation of the inital purpose for looking at them in the first place. Many express moral outrage but then why are they looking? Others comment on the said celebrity's physique which is true in the case of both men and women regardless of their sexuality or the gender of the celebrity. The list goes on, I rarely view such pictures but I enjoy breaking down the psychology of the comments.

    5. Oh no way. There are many other actions that deserve prosecution.

    6. I cannot tell. There has been an influx of articles, feature articles and news stories on teen "sexting". The media is good at sensationalism. Often times things are overblown making the audience feel as if it were more pervasive than it is but I think that in a case like "sexting", it is good for the public to be aware. Many parents are not technologically savvy and are unaware of the danger their children can potentially be in.

  2. 1. I have done so in the past because I was feeling horny and it was a way to see if the other party was willing to send me a picture if I asked. That's a turn-on.

    2.No, never public always private.

    3. No. But I could be if I wanted to, lol

    4. Didn't think much about them. I saw them, satisfied my curiosity and moved on.

    4a. Sex sells? The taboo of being naked? People like looking at pretty people...even moreso naked. Idk

    4b. Hypocrisy. I have never understood why people like to bring down celebrities so much. I heard a coworker once say that they like to tear famous people apart because they have enough money and influence to afford keeping their image and actions clean enough to be beyond scrutiny. Go figure.

    5. No, teens will be teens. Whether in person or via cell. They will always find ways to explore their sexuality. Why punish them because of the technology available to their generation?

    6. Idk, didn't know there was a panic. I've only read one article on sexting til I came across this post. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention

  3. Tiffany Butler-Josephs9/20/09, 7:25 AM

    1. No

    2. No

    3. No

    4. I think celebs of all people need to use a little common sense. If you don't want to be a porn start, stop acting like one. In other words, stop recording yourself in a way that should remain private if you want to be private.

    4a. curiosity of course

    4b. I don't think people should be judge, but I do think some people are a little slow. And just because they are celebs and our society says they are role models, does not make them smart people. Anyone putting their sexual image out there via cell phone needs to have a sit down with their elders.

    5. I think convicting someone as a sex offender for sexting is out of control. We do not need another reason to blemish someone's record.

    6. I do not. More attention needs to be brought up. To each his own, but those (adults) that choose to do this, should accept and deal with the world seeing them that way.

  4. 1. I don't

    2. Never

    3. Nope

    4. I think it's wrong that the media and people in general act as if a sin was committed because they had nude photos that were leaked. Being a celebrity doesn't negate the fact that you're human. The sin was being committed by the person releasing that photo for invasion of someone's privacy and intimacy.

    I personally thought nothing of it.

    4a. I think we all have an obsession over the life of a celebrity, whether its admitted or not. I honestly can't tell you why I looked at them.

    4b. It's almost 2010. People need to be more open minded to public sexuality. It's a large part of who we are and how we were made.

    5. No way. They just need to be practicing safe sex, regardless of what they're doing or who/what they're texting.

    6. I could see why parents would be concerned with their children sending nude pics via SMS. There's a lot of danger in that. But then again, that's all in the parenting. As for being overblown, I definitely think it is.

  5. 1. I have sent 'naughty' text messages (text only) and I have e-mailed sexually explicit photos. The major cause of this was that I was in a serious long distance relationship. Keeping your sex life alive (even when you can't actually have sex with your loved one) is important to a relationship and doing something that's considered risky, like texting dirty things and e-mailing nude photos can keep things interesting and hold off sexual frustration.
    2. Never, and I am always very concerned when I see explicit photos posted on social networking sites. I am obviously fine with seeing explicit photos and I believe in freedom of speech to the ends of the earth, however, people who are taking sexualized photos of themselves and posting them to get attention often need to consider
    that they are combatting self-esteem issues in unhealthy ways. Everyone likes to think of themselves as sexy, and everyone likes to be told they are sexy, but objectifying yourself in order to feel worth isn't what young people should be doing to define their value.
    3. I am not a model, but I do have many friends who are actors and actresses. Social media can be useful in getting yourself into the spotlight, and photos of your range can be helpful for those checking you out. However, there is a distinct line between body-baring photos and SEXUAL photos. I have seen many photos of friends half-naked on facebook where they are obviously not for sexual purposes, but merely to showcase the use of their body - for art, dance, theater, etc.

  6. 4. Honestly, it's pretty obvious that many MANY people send nude photos very the internet and cell phone. And obviously, the celebrities should consider that they should be careful if they don't want them leaked. Even if they are only sending them to trustworthy people, cell phones get borrowed, lost, etc. So, as long as the celebrities realize they are taking that risk, then it doesn't matter to me that their nude pictures are alongside the thousands of other nude pictures on the internet.
    4a. Because celebrities have 'celebrity.' It's that simple. Perez Hilton has people gossiping about HIM now, because he's become an icon of celebrity gossip. Everyone likes to get wrapped up in the worlds of the rich and the famous. And even more so when sex and body image are involved. Everyone wants a look to either be able to say "wow, she does look good, i get why she's famous" or "eh, she doesn't look that good, i could be famous". This seems to be how the celebrity mags work as well. Either you want to look like them, or you want to tear them down to make you feel better about how you look.
    4b. I think it's a bunch of self-righteous hullabaloo. If people want to trash how the celebrities look, that's pretty mean and useless. If people want to trash the fact that the celebrities took nude pictures in the first place, that's none of their business. If people want to trash that those pictures ended up on the internet, then blame the people who posted them. If we think that those celebrities wanted those pictures posted as a publicity ploy, then I'm fine with criticizing their tactics to garner more hype (can you say "Kanye"?). However, if you think they shouldn't be taking steamy photos of themselves, then as another answerer said, don't look at them.
    5. Wow, definitely not. I think that's a ridiculous use of government time and resources. Also, exploring sexuality is a part of maturing. My concern with teens texting their sexuality is that it's a very disconnected way of doing it. Because they separate themselves from the person receiving these pictures, they may not think about that the person isn't as trustworthy as they should be.
    6. I do. As I began in the previous question, I think that considering yourself as a sexual being and projecting that to someone you trust can be a healthy way of coming into your own. However, with the advances in technology and the explosion of social media using cell phones, parents need to explain (and perhaps celebrities should as well) that we tend to just throw stuff out virtually without thinking of the consequences. Considering yourself as a sexual being can often be done best in person, with friends or a boyfriend. Someone who you have a face to face connection with and who you are sure you can trust. Texting pictures to a guy you've been flirting with is not a very safe idea, for many reasons.

  7. Thank you for your comments!