It’s 2017, and the nude photo has made a comeback. When I say that it has made a comeback, I simply mean they are present and thriving again due to the diminishment of the stigma of the “nude photograph.” 2003 came and left with the Kim K sex tape and various nude photo leaks by unsuspecting high-schoolers. 2005-2009 were years where public and parental outcry against nude photos, the dangers they present, and how they inevitably ruin lives permeated education courses and the press. We heard story after story of how one sly nudie sent by a girl to her boyfriend ended in her entire high school receiving it once they broke up.
Nude photo sharing was one of the problems brought on by the rise of digital and cell phones. Similarly to the threat of people making fake MySpace accounts to do harm to teenagers, nude photos were a topic of the time. In 2008, it felt impossible for someone to be dumb enough to continue to take naked pictures and send them to his/her crush because it was hammered into every preteen, teenager, and even adult’s mind that it was going to end poorly. Nude photo leaks were weekly headlines, and the psychological aftermath continued to be highlighted by our parents and the press.
Enter the year 2017 where people grow up being told not to give away personal information in response to email inquiries (even the legitimate looking ones) or random websites. We are programmed not to send certain things (social security numbers) via email in case the server is hacked. We are smart to work under the assumption that our online information is vulnerable, and it is up to us to be intelligent enough to know what is and is not safe.
As the digital world advances and people face identity theft and compromised credit card and bank security, things like nude photos start to feel trivial. Simultaneously, society is exposed to more and more graphic content every day. This is unfortunately partly due to the media having a slew of other events that are far worse (and therefore garner far more public attention) to concentrate on. The fact of the matter is that we are all desensitized to nudity. Seeing a naked photo of the girl down the street is certainly attention-worthy, but for 30 seconds. We aren’t dropping everything we are doing for an hour to talk about these things anymore.
Even today, nude photo leaks are still incredibly violating and psychologically damaging for the person who took the photo. The only consolation I have to victims is that fortunately nude photos are more of a “let’s glance and then we’re over it situation” nowadays. The distribution of nude photos is also no longer surprising, so people can’t claim “they didn’t think anyone but who they sent it to would see it.” Photo leaks have happened too many times to be ignorant to the repercussions.
All in all, I have heard of nude photos being sent pretty regularly now. Snapchat has enabled for a “seamless” nude photo sharing experience. Dating apps and text are also ways for people to communicate and send photos to one another. In fact, when I spoke with my 21-year-old brother about this topic to see if he agreed that nude photos were on the rise again, his response was “oh yeah, I get those things like twice a week now.” Clearly people aren’t shy or they aren’t too concerned about the repercussions anymore. In the world of 2016 where wars, Trump, and drugs continue to make headlines, nude photo shaming has melted into the background.