The other night I saw this in a bar, and could not figure out what it was a commercial for (especially since I couldn’t hear the sound!) It seemed kinda fishy and it turned out it was:
It’s from a 2007 PSA campaign put together by the Ad Council and the U.S. Department of Justice and National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to Prevent Online Sexual Exploitation (mouthful!) I know I’ve seen at least a couple more and they all leave a bad taste in my mouth… Here’s another one:
okay, obviously there is some sick stuff on the internet and some horrendous things have happened due to the ease of sharing information quasi-anonymously.Crazy stuff like this.
But I think what bugs me about these PSAs is that they place the blame entirely on the girl (and only young, nymphal girls are exploited on the internet!), and implies she deserves whatever retribution comes from the photos (or whatever your dirty mind conjures up, since the first ad doesn’t specify what exactly is circulating). “Think Before You Post,” while sound advice, locates the origin of internet soliciting solely in the young girls instead of pointing out other issues, like the prevalence/accessibility of social networking, non-sexualized internet abuse and bullying, the “predators” themselves, or why young girls are sexualized in the first place. In addition, the videos also don’t offer up any means of coping with the problem or how these girls might deal with the aftermath or even if they can stand up for themselves. It just instills feelings of shame and fear.
It’s contentious, for sure. Bitch touched on it in a point/counterpoint on To Catch a Predator in the “Wired” Issue (No. 39, p 20). I feel these PSAs do what Lindsay Paige Hoffman said about the Dateline special: “It perpetuates a near-mythical stereotype of powerless young women and animalistic men—a stereotype that is fundamentally disempowering to young women.” Anybody else seen similar ads? Feel similar or am I super wrong/totally creepy? Weigh on in….
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