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Monday, April 13, 2009

"Sexting" and the Reactionary Rhetoric of "Consequences"

Dr. Dan Gottlieb, the house psychologist of WHYY radio, revealed his erotophobia again in the interview he gave this morning on the Pennsylvania "sexting" case. I just submitted the following comment to the station:

I was disappointed, but not surprised, by Dan Gottlieb's comments on the "sexting" case. Not surprised, because the promo had made no mention of the nature of the court case, in which the judge threatened not just three, but dozens of teens, mostly girls, with charges of "child pornography" for sending pictures of themselves, not engaged in any sexual activity, to their friends -- unless they submitted to "sexual violence awareness" classes. Are we really supposed to believe that boys are less eager to show off their looks? Or isn't this clearly a case of one judge's attempt to enforce traditional standards of female modesty?

Yet Gottlieb made no mention of this context. Instead, he urged parents talk to their children about "long-term consequences," taking for granted that those same traditional norms of modesty, clearly already being challenged, will still be in place "when they're thirty."

By implying this, and urging parents to convey the same to their children, Gottlieb was in fact perpetuating the same puritanical attitudes as the judge is trying to enforce. It's time he thought about the long-term consequences of his own actions.


You can listen to the original story and post your own comment by going to http://whyy.org/cms/news/health-science/behavioral-health-health-science/2009/04/13/teens-technology-and-sex/6032/comment-page-1#comment-177.

Eric Hamell

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