Are GIFs hypersexualizing our youth?
As stated in Miltner and Highfield’s article, “GIFs have ‘an autonomous power to shape and manipulate users’ capacities on an affective level'”.
However, how often do we talk about this in the context of the hypersexualization of our country’s youth. Personally I notice daily that girls and boys at younger ages are dressing and acting very sexual. This is concerning to me because it is getting harder and harder to watch our youth trade out on their innocence for an over sexualized body image. That in turn causes a significant amount of stress about body image and image perception. Possible culprits for displaying this over sexualized image of women are celebrities and other influential people posting on social media sites making it readily available for consumption to everybody. Instagram has a story feature where people post what they are doing. Too many times was browsing the discover section and a female celebrity is posting a photo or a gif of them in skimpy clothing.
Another concern I have is that since these boys and girls are looking older, which makes it harder to tell whether or not they are of legal age. A popular MEME is one that features these older men looking at these younger hypersexualized girls that are underage and when they look at them online the police break down their doors arresting them.
The MEME may be entertaining but that is because it has some truth behind it. The US Department of Justice statistics says that 95% statutory rape victims were female.
Which in turn means that females are significantly more likely to press charges for a crime that is dependant on their age, regardless if she had lied about her age or not. In most cases however the offender is the girl’s boyfriend, but that is still scary because, even though they are dating, the boy is still held responsible just because he is a couple years older. The point I am trying to get at is that it is dangerous to hypersexualize our image because it cuts into the time that child have their innocence and ignorance.