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Christopher Meloni

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Sales Nancy Jo

American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers by Sales Nancy Jo

Author:Sales, Nancy Jo [Sales, Nancy Jo]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
ISBN: 9780385353922
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Published: 2016-02-23T05:00:00+00:00

Washington State

“Misogyny now has become so normalized,” says Paul Roberts, the Impulse Society author. “It’s like we’ve gone back to the Mad Men days. We can’t even see the absurdity and the inequity of it, it’s so pervasive. When the male gaze was digitized, it was almost as if it was internalized. With smartphones and social media, girls had the means of producing the male gaze themselves, and it was as if they turned it on themselves willingly in order to compete in a marketplace in which sex was the main selling point.

“And the social media companies aren’t going to do anything about it, as long as it’s driving traffic. It has so much to do with the drive for the fastest return that can possibly be generated, which has been the [corporate] mentality since the eighties. All you need to know about a social media company is that it’s the hits, the clicks, the number of images seen is all you care about, as long as you’re driving traffic; and if that traffic involves teenage girls doing self-destructive or character-eroding things, well, we won’t think about that. It’s people running around looking for anything to generate volume: Oh, teenage girls are taking their clothes off? And that’s getting a lot of hits? Then let’s turn a blind eye to the consequences. Oh, your daughter’s on Tinder? Well, she’s just meeting friends. It’s all about high-volume usage. I don’t think it’s necessarily a cynical, let’s destroy women thing—it’s how can I get my next quarter’s bonus?

“And I think that to the extent that the digital social media society normalizes impulses—think it, post it,” Roberts says, “we’ve also created a context for more and more provocative propositions, whatever they are: Look at my boobs. Do you want to hook up? It’s moved the bar for what’s normal and normalized extreme behavior; everything outrageous becomes normalized so rapidly. You realize how insane things are today when you think about the relative rate of change. When I was in high school, if I had gone around saying, Here’s a picture of me, like me, I would have gotten punched. If a girl went around passing out naked pictures of herself, people would have thought she needed therapy. Now, that’s just Selfie Sunday.”


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