“What Should I Do?”: Young Women’s Reported Dilemmas with Nude Photographs
- 865 Downloads
Sexting and sending nude and semi-nude photographs continues to be at the forefront of discourse pertaining to adolescence. While researchers have explored consequences for sexting, less is known about the challenges adolescents face when making decisions about sending photographs. Using online personal accounts posted by adolescents, this study explores young women’s reported dilemmas with sending nude photographs to their peers. A thematic analysis of 462 stories reveals that young women received conflicting messages which told them both to send and refrain from sending photographs. In addition to sending photographs in the hope of gaining a relationship, young women also reported sending photographs as the result of coercion by male counterparts in the form of persistent requests, anger, and threats. Young women attempted to navigate young men’s coercive behaviors yet frequently resorted to compliance. Refusal was often met with repeated requests or threats. Alternative tactics were largely absent from young women’s stories, indicating that young women do not have tools to successfully navigate the challenges they face.
KeywordsAdolescence Sexting Dating violence Gender Digital media Relationships
The author wishes to thank Viacom for access to this data, Northwestern University faculty members Simone Ispa-Landa, Jim Spillane, and Daniella Hall, and University of Illinois at Chicago graduate student Emily Machado for feedback on the analytical framing of this paper. Additionally, I wish to thank an anonymous reviewer and Northwestern University faculty member Jon Guryan for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors have no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
Research Involving Human Participants and/or Animals
This research involved the use of existing data provided through a license with Viacom. The data provided came from publicly available, non-identifiable information.
- Acosta, A. B., & Temple, J. R. (2013). Emerging issues in child and adolescent health: Social media, sexting, and cyber bullying.Google Scholar
- Albury, K., Hasinoff, A.A., & Senft, T. (2016). From media abstinence to media production: Sexting, young people and education. In The Palgrave handbook of sexuality education (Vol. 13, pp. 527–545). London: Palgrave Macmillan UK.Google Scholar
- Boyd, D. (2015). It's complicated: The social lives of networked teens. Yale University Press: Place of publication not identified.Google Scholar
- Carver, K., Joyner, K., & Udry, J. R. (2003). National estimates of adolescent romantic relationships. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.Google Scholar
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Key statistics from the national survey of family growth. cdc.gov. doi:papers3://publication/uuid/7F8142BF-DD37-4F88-B35F-D02C814C49D1.
- Chow, C. M., & Ruhl, H. (2014). Friendship and romantic stressors and depression in emerging adulthood: Mediating and moderating roles of attachment representations. J Adult Dev. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-014-9184-z.
- Crofts, T., & Lee, M. (2013). Sexting, children and child pornography. Sydney L Rev. doi:papers3://publication/uuid/E26465B2-DD5E-4ABF-BE70-CCB0EE79F45A.Google Scholar
- Diamond, L.M., & Savin-Williams, R.C. (2009). Adolescent sexuality. Handbook of adolescent psychology. Google Scholar
- Englander, E. K. (2012). Low risk associated with most teenage sexting: a study of 617 18-year-olds. MARC Research Reports, 6.Google Scholar
- Erikson, E.H. (1950). Identity and the life cycle.Google Scholar
- Fry, D. A., Messinger, A. M., Rickert, V. I., O’Connor, M. K., Palmetto, N., Lessel, H., & Davidson, L. L. (2013). Adolescent relationship violence: Help-seeking and help-giving behaviors among peers. Journal of Urban Health, 91(2), 320–334. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11524-013-9826-7.CrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- Hasinoff, A.A. (2015). Sexting panic rethinking criminalization, privacy, and consent. University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
- Kim, J. E., Weinstein, E. C., & Selman, R. L. (2015). Romantic relationship advice from anonymous online helpers: The peer support adolescents exchange. Youth & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/0044118X15604849.
- Martin, K.A. (1996). Puberty, sexuality, and the self. Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sanday, P. R. (2013). Fraternity gang rape. New York, NY: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Šmahel, D., & Subrahmanyam, K. (2014). Adolescent sexuality on the internet: A developmental perspective.Google Scholar
- Vanden Abeele, M., Campbell, S. W., Eggermont, S., & Roe, K. (2014). Sexting, mobile porn use, and peer group dynamics: Boys' and girls' self-perceived popularity, need for popularity, and perceived peer pressure. Media Psychology, 17(1), 6–33. https://doi.org/10.1080/15213269.2013.801725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Weinstein, E. C., & Selman, R. L. (2014). Digital stress: Adolescents' personal accounts. New Media Soc. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814543989.
- Willig, C. (2013). Introducing qualitative research in psychology: Adventures in theory and method. England: Open University Press/McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar