Monday, May 20Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

‘Sexting’: Unashamed and Confident

After the hacking of many celebrities’ nude photos, the issue of ‘sexting’ and explicit photos became a discussion topic once more. Celebrities from all spheres were affected by the hacking, including Jennifer Lawrence and Rihanna, with the photos being posted on the website 4chan.

‘Sexting’ is the act of sending sexually explicit photos, messages or videos via a mobile device and evidence suggests it is becoming more common among young people. Six out of ten teenagers say they have been asked for sexual images or videos according to an NSPCC/ChildLine survey. Technology and access to the internet play a large role in this with more people able to send these kinds of images and messages easily and privately.

SHAG (Sexual Health Advice and Guidance) Week gives students an opportunity to be open about these sorts of issues. The statistics show that it is a common occurrence in peoples’ lives, yet it is rarely spoken about, let alone in a positive consensual way. The hacking of celebrities’ photos showed that photos intended to be private viewing do not always stay that way, and from this horrible experience is an opportunity to talk and be open about your sexual experiences.

The reaction from many celebrities to deny the photos and claim they were fake (some of which may have been), shows some feel there is still somewhat of a stigma attached to this sort of thing. However, Jennifer Lawrence’s responses to her photos being leaked took a different direction where she didn’t become apologetic or embarrassed by this experience. Lawrence, instead, drew attention to the idea of consent, with a headline in Vanity Fair saying “it’s my body, and it should be my choice.”

She is not the first celebrity to be unashamed by the leaking of photos such as these. Scarlett Johansson’s photos were leaked three years ago and she gave out a statement to Vanity Fair “I know my best angles.” These responses show an openness and confidence which is welcome, especially in a week with the name SHAG.