A Teenage Girl's Perspective on the Culture of Online Slut-Shaming

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Temitayo Fagbenle is sixteen-years-old, and like a lot of teenagers, she sees a lot of images online that fall squarely under the definition of sexual cyberbullying; or in layman’s terms: online slut shaming. They're photos of girls in various states of undress, often taken by their own boyfriends, and then posted on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

Temitayo wanted to find out more about what it’s like to be one of the girls exposed, what goes through a boy’s mind when he’s the one posting the photos, the stance that schools and Facebook hold, and how teenage girls perceive the whole world of online slut shaming.

And so she completed a report for the show Radio Rookies, which is produced by the Takeaway’s own co-producer WNYC.

To hear Temitayo's full report, check out the Radio Rookies website. And tune into WNYC at 8pm eastern time tonight (January 8, 2013) to hear Radio Rookies in-class live chat that coincides with this story.

Temitayo is also hosting a live chat today at 1 p.m. Eastern. Find it here.

Guests:

Temitayo Fagbenle

Produced by:

Arwa Gunja, Mary Harris and Kristen Meinzer

Comments [17]

Allen from Boston, MA

Dear Temitayo:

You have definitely brought an issue that girls face everyday in our country. What can we do to help reduce this problem? Who has picked up this torch to really start affecting change.

Change = less girls being "exposed" on websites like Facebook.

Are there specific units within the police, like Child Porn Units, that can try to get more attention brought to this topic, so that maybe Facebook can ban posting indecent pictures of young girls?

Please do another piece, and send us a message of what we can do to help this important cause.

Jan. 30 2013 08:45 PM
Pamela Mead

Temitayo , I was driving in traffic when I started listening to your piece and eventually was able to park and give it and you my full attention. Your presence on air is deceptive. I was surprised to hear that you were only in high school ! I look forward to
hearing more of your incisive and articulate reporting on any topic. Certainly do hope that I will hear you regularly on NPR.

Jan. 29 2013 05:59 AM
pedauntic from paris france

Dear WNYC proofreaders:

if you want to use compound adjectives, great! But please include a subject, otherwise it just looks bad.
You can either say, "a sixteen-year-old student," or "is sixteen years old."
Note how the hyphen identifies the compound adjective, which would negate the use plural use of "years."

And yes, I am playing with words when I id myself as "pedauntic."

Jan. 28 2013 11:48 AM
Protect2Evolve from East Coast

There is lacking a strong voice of disapproval toward the boy involved. To him & anyone who would do such a thing: You're nothing but a hater & a bully.
Why would you go to such great lengths to bully & hurt someone more passive and defenseless than you? You must have a HUGE lack of character, or hate females. When you do this to someone, a girl in particular, you find a feeling of power by hurting someone who is gentle natured & not likely to physically retaliate. "Oh, look at me, I'm going to school and tricking your daughters into intimate encounters and then publicizing it to hurt them. Ha ha." Wow, what a tough guy.
You probably don't realize these are actions of hate, or preemptive to denial of being gay, being a future domestic abuser, or a child molester. That's right, it's the worst of the worst. You can't hide behind a crowd of morons congratulating you, or that school, which only still lets you in b/c it's public. You're potentially on a road to domestic violence to end up in jail, w/only men to turn to for intimacy.
You don't deserve to go to school in this country. Go somewhere else with poor ideals. Like the countries that can't stand when girls try to get educated, b/c it would raise the bar & show their resignation to stupidity & mental laziness in academics & relationships.
You want to conduct yourself like you're grown up. You don't have an education, no respect for kind that responsible for bringing you into this world, you likely don't have your own place, a worthy job & thus don't pay bills, oh yeah, & help IMPROVE the community. You shouldn't be actually dating, let alone deceiptfully dating. You haven't earned the privilege to date.
"Aaa, they do it in porn." You're in school to learn how to live & improve the world, not degenerate it. We don't want to see your intimacies, and nobody wants you to secretly film them & publicize it. KEEP YOUR INTIMACY TO YOURSELF. As mature adults, being comfortable with our sexuality is acceptable, screwing in public view is not & the PUBLIC doesn't want to see it! You're not an adult & hardly on a path to becoming a man.
Pick on someone who can put you in your place. Go and do this to a really strong fighter, and see how far you get. If I had been the girl, your legs wouldn't be functional.
But I think you should be given the benefit of the doubt and a chance to atone. You're unenlightened & unevolved, since those around you didn't show a better way to treat people, & you haven't connected the dots. This is your wake up call. Take back your bullying. YOU did it, YOU take it back. It's NOT funny & NOT cool.
Don't continue to fail your family, classmates, teachers, community, & YOURSELF! You can apologize to the girl & her family, your own family (they'd appreciate that if they actually care about you), and to your school & community. You need to ask yourself: Do I feel bad that people are talking so poorly about me? or Do I feel bad for what I put her through? Make atonement.

Jan. 13 2013 08:24 PM
FTOBA from Queens, NY

Great work, great talent. More grease to your elbow. We are proud of you!

Jan. 08 2013 11:16 PM
Wayne Johnson Ph.D. from Bk

Many of the pictures referred to are uploaded by the girls themselves. Does John Hockenberry really want to analogize this behavior in any way to the violent rape in India? How can we trust a host that is so far off the mark?

Jan. 08 2013 04:51 PM
Kathe from San Diego

A courageous report! Perhaps it will encourage more like it, and eventually, with raised awareness, we can all deal with this issue more compassionately.

Jan. 08 2013 04:21 PM
ladysparks

I want to give kudos to Temitayo for presenting the story. I was riveted yesterday when I heard it. I was equally delighted when it was rebroadcast today. All humans are sexual, we should not descriminate between male female gay straight. I hope giving light to this shaming will change "posters" thoughts and attitudes. It takes two people, people! Neither partner is "cool". And please keep up the pressure to prosecute anyone that publishes images of underage sex photos. Wish to hear more from Temitayo.

Jan. 08 2013 03:51 PM
Joan from West Hempstead

Temitayo, you have brought light and focus to a topic much in need of thought and dialogue. Continue your work. Even one life changed is a victory.

Jan. 08 2013 03:45 PM
The Women's Room

Journalists, good Sirs, could you please stop using the phrase "young girls" for teenagers age 16?

A 16-year-old is a girl, or a young woman. She is not a young girl.

An 18-year-old is a woman, or a young woman. She is not a girl.

Jan. 08 2013 03:17 PM
Alicia from Long Island City

The documentary Sexy Baby illustrates how pornography has infiltrated the mainstream and young women are inundated with hyper-sexualized images since infancy. Adults have to take responsibility for this and force search engines and social media to delete, and possibly prevent, child pornography. This is not a matter of free speech but a perversion of the first amendment that is literally killing our children.

Jan. 08 2013 03:13 PM
ladysparks

I want to give kudos to Temitayo for presenting the story. I was riveted yesterday when I heard it. I was equally delighted when it was rebroadcast today. All humans are sexual, we should not descriminate between male female gay straight. I hope giving light to this shaming will change "posters" thoughts and attitudes. It takes two people, people! Neither partner is "cool". And please keep up the pressure to prosecute anyone that publishes images of underage sex photos. Wish to hear more from Temitayo.

Jan. 08 2013 02:28 PM
Sally P. Patch from Boston

Thank you so much to Temitayo Fagbenle who is an excellent radio host! You've got a bright future in radio. Keep up the great work. This is an important segment that reveals how men and boys receive no "shaming." Men pay little to no social price for sexual activity. Conversely, they win points with peers. Why? What message does this send about gender roles and expectations in 2013? How are sensibilities about "sluts" and sexuality explored in this piece connected to the larger issue of violence against women, e.g., the news from New Delhi recently? Thanks again for a great report. I am going to share this with students in my college.

Jan. 08 2013 12:08 PM
Lisa from Forest Hill, NY

Temitayo Fagbenle, this piece was wonderful. You highlighted something everyone (especially parents) should be made aware of. I have a grade school daughter and this helps me understand the potential challenges she or her friends may face in the coming years. Thank you.

Jan. 08 2013 10:50 AM
Peg

Why are the females immoral and "sluts" and ashamed???? Why are the males proud of themselves????

They are both participating in the same act.

5000 years of 'civilization' and nothing has changed.

Jan. 08 2013 09:14 AM
Brock

The layman's term is "slutt shaming?" Really. Is that a common term? Whatever happened to good ol "kids being mean to each other" as that has been going on for numerous generations. We live in a society with social norms that are loosely adhered to by use of - yes - shame. Bullying is another matter and whether that has to do with sexual matters or otherwise, it should be monitored and reduced. Traditionally, parents are the most effective in teaching their children not to bully others. So where are the parents voices in all this?

Jan. 08 2013 08:43 AM
Brock from Manhattan

The layman's term is "slut shaming?" Really. Is that a common term? Whatever happened to good ol "kids being mean to each other" as that has been going on for numerous generations. We live in a society with social norms that are loosely adhered to by use of - yes - shame. Bullying is another matter and whether that has to do with sexual matters or otherwise, it should be monitored and reduced. Traditionally, parents are the most effective in teaching their children not to bully others. So where are the parents voices in all this?

Jan. 08 2013 08:40 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.