-“Doctor, my daughter’s mind is in another planet—don’t know why.”

Maria X. does not understand why her teenage daughter, who did not have to go through the travails of immigrating to a place with a culture and language so different than her native own, seems to reside in another reality than hers. She rightfully senses that those “distractions” might endanger her mental and physical health.

Nancy Jo Sales interviewed more than 200 American teenagers and says that the coarse, sexist and erotic culture of the social media is damaging them. Even though they usually feel much more “socially empowered” than their ancestors, they are in fact treated as “sexual objects” in a perverse way that other generations did not even fathom. The irony of a mendacious liberation.

Maniacally glued to their little screens and waiting for an oftentimes elusive approval of their images, they are cruelly assaulted with misogynist jokes, pornographic images and horrible comments that damage their self-esteem. This low intensity-sexual harassment precedes a more aggressive coercion, which entails their assessment in websites and the demand for nude photos.

The implacable gaze that the social media train on the girls’ sexuality creates a widespread female anxiety about the physical appearance—assessed by the “likes” they get for their photos—that might lead to a “self-objectification.” Paradoxically this “new mentality” harks back to the darkest times of the Homo sapiens when they resided in deep caves.

Peggy Orenstein states that this girls’ generation has been trained by a porn-saturated, commercialized culture “ to reduce their worth to their bodies and to see those bodies as a collection of parts that exist for others’ pleasure; to continuously monitor their looks to perform rather than to feel sensuality.” Even though many lead active sexual lives and claimed to like it, few of them had a real orgasm with a sexual partner; in a humiliating twist, almost half of them performed oral sex to them but never had  a “quid pro quo.”

What do you want me to say? Parents like Maria should sit down to talk with their distracted daughters…

What do you think? Please tell us.

Don’t leave me alone.

 

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