I am 36 years old, going on 37. Let’s keep that between us, if possible. My age implies I was a child in the 80’s and a teenager and adolescent in the 90’s. We didn’t have cell phones, or laptops or internet at home. We all had one phone. Let me rephrase that; every family had one phone, THE phone, which was in every person’s living room. You couldn’t talk far from it because it wasn’t wireless. You had to stand there or sit next to it and there was always a chair strategically placed near THE phone. Those were simpler days, weren’t they…

Today, everyone has a phone in their pocket. Moreover, that damn device can do pretty much anything, from paying a bill, to booking a ticket and regulating the temperature in one’s home. I even read an article saying that people use smartphones to hack other phones, networks, computers and other devices. Is there something those god-forsaken devices can’t do? I think not.

The one feature that keeps getting better on smartphones, is their recording capabilities and picture quality. Every company tries to make the phone that takes the best pics and videos to the point that several regular cameras have become obsolete. The direct consequence of that is that we, and I mean almost all of us, take pictures and videos all the time. It doesn’t matter what it is, we will capture it and download it on social media platforms for others to see, enjoy or sometimes, to be appalled. Yes, we live in a bizarre shock culture that is transitioning to something even weirder and more voyeuristic.

To those who are as old as I am and/or older, imagine yourself being a teenager with a 2019 smartphone in your pocket. How would that go? Let me tell you how it would go; exactly how it is going with these kids today. Human nature hasn’t changed in millennia so you wouldn’t be different. You’d take pictures all the time, expose yourself all the time, comment on everything, like, tweet, retweet, repost, save, forward and so on. We are self centered people and we do seek attention and validation, to stronger and lesser degrees, thank the Gods. Some of us are pathological in our need of validation, others have a moderate need for attention.

That brings me to the nudes that we see every now and then. I frankly despise and got nothing but disdain for the way that these young (and not so young) girls are shamed on social media. Please remember that no one takes these nudes with the hope that one day, they might be released. Most people who take nudes, do so in a safe setting, especially when they are in a relationship, when they are in love, when endorphins are flooding their bloodstream, when everything is going according to plan in their new lovey-dovey relationship. They are happy, they trust the person they are with, and they send them pictures and videos as foreplay, as a way of getting their partner aroused, as a way of getting attention, as a way of being perhaps “extra” liked by their partner. I will refrain from insulting these guys with egos as big as a nanoparticle, whose only goal is to shame and hurt an ex-girlfriend who might have hurt them or actually, hurt them. They believe their pain gives them license to flood social media with unauthorized nudes from their exes. Doing so in many countries is a crime by the way, which means you WILL go to jail. Those fucking guys are lucky I am not judge, jury and executioner otherwise they would find themselves in cells so tiny that their lips would kiss their kneecaps so they could fit.

These people who take nudes today are no different from you and me and the things we would have done if we were in their position. Please, stop with the “I would never”. I know you would never ADMIT it, but you would take pictures or videos. There is nothing wrong with exploring your sexuality or engaging in sexual games with your partner in the haven that is your consensual relationship. Adults are free to do whatever they want so long as they do not hurt others. Moreover, stop with the “That is what you get when you are not careful”. Please spare me the fake and pretentious outrage. These are human beings that made a mistake. They trusted the wrong person who happened to be right person at some point in their relationship. If the other guy turned out to be a douchebag, it isn’t the girl’s fault. So, stop with the condemnation, inquisition and shaming. Yeah, that is what you get but that doesn’t make it right, nor does it make fair.

Full disclosure, I do look at the nudes that I receive on my phone like everybody else and I am an enormous fan of the naked female form. Nothing wrong with that. I do not share them; I just delete them as soon as I see them. It pains me and I feel bad for the woman who has been exposed in such a public way. I immediately think of any female friend of mine that could be exposed like that and it scares me to think she would be humiliated on social media.

Life is unfair at times. I am asking for a little empathy here for these young girls who got caught up in a game with consequences they didn’t anticipate, let alone understand. Imagine if your nudes were released and your parents, brothers and sisters received them on their phones, as a regular message. How the hell would you feel then? People make mistakes. The younger they are, the bigger the mistake usually. Remember all the mistakes you have made until now? Imagine now that all those moments were recorded and were available for eternity! Imagine that your own kids could see them one day. How would you feel? Do you think it is easy? Do you think it is a game? No, it isn’t. We are talking about people’s lives, mental state and public image. Imagine becoming for months or years “the girl whose nudes are available”. How fun is that? Not so much I presume if you put yourself in the victim’s shoes.

It is so easy to judge others when we are sitting on our high horses, isn’t it? It is easy to call those girls “attention-seekers”, “whores”, “sluts”, “idiots”, “gullible”, “naïve”, “too trusting”. It is easy to dismiss them as human beings with feelings who just made a damn mistake and they are paying heavily for it. It is easy to not see yourself in such situations. Please let’s not celebrate these situations and instead, turn to the person who released them. Once again, I wish I had the full power of the law behind me so I can inflict on those men (yes, it is overwhelmingly the men who leak the nudes) an equal pain and humiliation. Turn the other cheek if you must, I will not. I have empathy for the victims, not the perpetrators.

Now, ladies, if you happen to take nudes for any reason, please crop out your face or any recognizable accessory or tattoos. That way, the pictures or videos become a random file with no interest to anyone, because, let’s be honest, the face on the nudes gives the picture or video value.

A little empathy can go a long way. Be careful out there with social media.

Just one man’s opinion.

Now smile and go on with your day.

Freeman. B

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