Filed under: Treats, media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 9:42 am
These days, the stories we hear about kidz and the technology are often cautionary tales: strangers! sexting! TEXT NECK! But Nancy Schwartzman — producer and director of the in-the-works film xoxosms — wants to tell a different, more salutary tale: about (young) people forging relationships that may start as virtual, but are very, very real.
“xoxosms is about first love, long distance and Skype. It looks closely at one young couple who — like many — met online and fell in love before ever meeting each other,” says Schwartzman. “There’s a tension between their ‘digital intimacy’ and real life, and the film explores the way the digital world, full of intimacy, bonding, sweetness, is a way to mitigate the hard stuff of growing up and having sex. A way to be close without things getting too confusing.”
The documentary tells the true love story of Gus and Jiyun — a home schooled 19-year-old from a religious family in small-town Illinois and a 19-year-old Korea-born New York City art student — who met nearly a year ago in possibly the only place two people so different might ever find each other: The Internet. Over the past 18 months, they have built an intensely intimate world via Skype, AIM and iChat. They are each other’s very first loves, and through the Internet, they have established a connection that feels as real as if they were right there beside each other.
Help xoxosms have a happy ending! You can kick in a few bucks here to help Schwartzman & co. complete their project. (They’re already over halfway there, with 19 days to go!) You can share your story at their Tumblr, “Without the Internet We Never Would Have Met.” And you can watch the trailer, oh, right now!
Filed under: News — posted by Breakup Girl @ 6:09 am
Ripped from the headlines! Turns out our True Confessions retrospective last week has a breaking-news counterpart: efforts to reprint a Massaponax, Virginia high school yearbook in order to remove anonymous R-rated secrets and confessions scattered throughout the pages (along with “quotable quotes,” sometimes [mis-?]attributed, often containing sexual innuendo). Such as:
“I have sex with people just to feel wanted.”
“I worry all the time my ex-boyfriend will use the naked picture I sent him to ruin my life.”
“I had an abortion and my mom doesn’t know.”
“I’m pregnant with my best friend’s boyfriend’s kid.”
Much of the ensuing uproar seems to have focused on the content as “inappropriate,” with parents scandalized and administrators rushing to defend the school as a place where a lot of “good” things happen, too. To be sure, stuff like “I smoked so much pot I woke up high” pretty much is inappropriate for the yearbook. But to me, this is not (just) about keeping “treasured high school memories” clean and pretty. It’s about listening to — to the degree the confessions are true; but why wouldn’t they be — what may constitute, in part, an end-of-year cry for help. If the grownups involved trade their whiffs of moral outrage for a bit more of this, from the principal — “If these things are going on, we want to be supportive and we want to help those students and provide them with appropriate resources” — then future Massaponax graduates might be more likely to succeed.
Filed under: media — posted by Breakup Girl @ 1:02 pm
Clearly, the grownups aren’t at all sure what to do about sexting. While legal scholars (rightly) ponder when, whether, and most importantly how to prosecute sexters, one Pennsylvania school/DA threatened kids suspected of sexting with child pornography charges unless they took part in an after-school program which, among other things, required girls to write essays on why their actions were wrong; the goal: to “gain an understanding of what it means to be a girl in today’s society.” Is it shaming in here, or is it just me? To be sure, sexting should be taken seriously (as harassment and abuse). But why do I suspect — perhaps cynically, yes — that this focus on “what it means” will not include a full exploration of the deep cultural factors that appropriate and contain girls’ sexuality and limit their worth and self-expression to “hotness”? (Maybe it will; I hope I’m wrong.)
But as theoreotical counterpoint — and to counter the oft-peddled image of teens doing nothing all day but re-watching Twilight, playing Kill Everyone, and forwarding around naked photos of the French exchange student, I offer this: a reminder of many of the positive and, dare I say, actually empowering, ways that girls use social media.
As eleventh-grader Nadia Tareen — as part of a video series on media issues called Girls Investigate, a joint project of The Women’s Media Center (WMC) and Girls Learn International®, Inc. — writes:
Adults are often too fast to condemn teenagers’ use of technology. We aren’t as “clueless about online threats as some adults believe – Two-thirds of the teens who have created profiles have used privacy controls to limit access to them.” Also, I suspect that my parents and teachers are unaware of everything that my peers and I accomplish online. For example, social media is a great tool for activism. As the leader of my school’s chapter of Girls Learn International®, Inc., I have found that e-mail and Facebook messages are invaluable for organizing and spreading awareness. Teenagers even use social media to make their dreams come true. As an avid YouTube-watcher, I can cite at least a dozen teenagers who posted videos of their musical and comedic talents on the website, to then be discovered by industry professionals. If social media is used intelligently, it can yield endless benefits.
Text messages are the new lipstick on the collar, the mislaid credit card bill. Instantaneous and seemingly casual, they can be confirmation of a clandestine affair, a record of the not-so-discreet who sometimes forget that everything digital leaves a footprint.
This became painfully obvious a week ago when a woman who claims to have had an affair with Tiger Woods told a celebrity publication that he had sent her flirty text messages, some of which were published. It follows on the heels of politicians who ran afoul of text I.Q., including a former Detroit mayor who went to prison after his steamy text messages to an aide were revealed, and Senator John Ensign of Nevada, whose affair with a former employee was confirmed by an incriminating text message.
Unlike earlier eras when a dalliance might be suspected but not confirmed, nowadays text messages provide proof. Divorce lawyers say they have seen an increase in cases in the past year where a wronged spouse has offered text messages to show that a partner has strayed. The American Bar Association began offering seminars this fall for marital attorneys on how to use electronic evidence — text messages, browsing history and social networks — in proving a case.
Read the rest here. Of course, this also totally happened on Glee.
Sexting, apparently, is a new trend in teen texting, which involves trading dirty messages and nude or sexually explicit photos. “It’s like flirting and just having a little fun,” say teens. Wow, how did we get here from college-ruled notes saying “check here if you like me”–?
Now, I don’t wanna judge — that’s what the comments below are for — because, as Jezebel points out “Early adolescents are going to test the boundaries of their sexuality and sexual expression whether their parents — or school districts — like it or not.” Furthermore, if something is truly bad, teens will probably learn their lesson themselves, Degrassi-style. Or by watching Degrassi, like we did back in my day.
Now if there were to be a Sexting episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, it should probably touch on the following points: (Are you listening, Canada?)
Girls: Don’t trust a teenage boy — any teenage boy — with a nude picture of yourself. Like, duh. And before you hit send on that message, imagine the picture being shared among the entire sleazy school administration, because that will happen. Plus, if you’re caught, you will be suspended from the cheerleading squad for being a slut, while the boys who passed the picture around will simply get off, in both senses of the phrase.