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Dec 13, 2023·edited Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

Freya, you are about 8 years too late on TikTok and 18 years too late for other social media... the genie is out of bottle and for a long time. You cannot just say "keep your daughter off social media" -- HOW WOULD YOU DO THIS? a smartphone is required in nearly every school for homework, uploading assignments, school calendars, notification of tests, etc. Kids know every trick to get around parent controls; most know more about the technology than their parents do!

Even if you took away your child's phone... their friends all have phones. You can BUY a burner phone for maybe $10 and get phone cards (minutes) at any convenience store. Libraries ALL have computers, schools ALL have computers.

I am not saying I like or approve of this, I think it is horrible. It's just that the time for outrage and controls was ... years & years ago. And we did nothing and here we are in 2023. Soon to be 2024.

BTW: even in Jurassic period when I grew up (70s), I was quite aware of things like my dad's Playboy magazines and sexualized images on TV and in films. I was keenly aware of what was desirable to MEN, and what things they utterly despised ... and what women had to do to get male attention ("the male gaze").

The biggest differences though were that A. it wasn't 24/7 or in the privacy of my own bedroom on a phone and B. there were COUNTERBALANCES in life... it was absent entirely at school... there were religious affiliations (Sunday school, church, synagogue. etc.) where more wholesome and respectful ideals were presented. I think that is painfully lacking today. Even schools, once places free of sexualization... are now hotbeds of gender/sex ideology and graphic sexual books in libraries.

I am up for ANYBODY'S ideas on how to change or even moderate this... ideas?

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Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

This is something I was complaining about to my husband. Not just the 'pornification' of our culture, but sex being shoved down our throats constantly. I was on FB Marketplace looking for a desk, and one of the sponsored ads was for a "sex stone" (essentially a solid lube bar). I'm actually not oppossed to the product, and if id been on a sex-centered website, may consider trying it. But why, in the company's array of offerings, did they have to choose that one to showcase on FB? Why is it always the sexual item? I don't think it's prudish to say "I'd like to shop for a used desk without having my genitals pandered to, thanks."

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I’m definitely in agreement with this post and will also say, we shouldn’t let our sons near social media either. It’s doing nothing for them in terms of learning to respect and appreciate women.

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Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

And men. Men, men, men, the 90%+ of you we are told use pornography: get some dignity and just STOP. The world will not end. You will survive. It's disgusting and degrading to you, to the women and girls, to everyone. STOP.

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Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

Great article! It often feels like there is very little space for women with generally progressive views to have space to express a more nuanced or modest relationship to sex. If you express that you wouldn’t feel comfortable posting a photo of yourself in a tiny bikini on insta or want to wait until you are in a more serious relationship to be sexual with someone, the response is that you hold “conservative” views. I feel like women should be allowed to decide what level of sexuality is comfortable to them without the binary judgement of culture war lines or feeling a pressure to conform (in either direction) to what is designated as appropriate beliefs for their social/political sphere.

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I should add: I know this is called "GIRLS" and so your focus is on girls & women, but... this also affects boys and young men. They too see what girls/women "like" or comment on... they are painfully aware that if they are short, homely, awkward, not muscular, not rich, etc. that the girls won't "like them" the way they do celebrities or the most popular guys in school.

They may express it in other ways, by going over to the RedPill movement, or declaring themselves "MG-TOW" or incels or men's rights advocates.

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Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

Ugh. As the mother of 3 (including 2 preteen boys, 12 and 10) I all of this disheartening. It seems like an impossible fight to keep your kid safe. It seems like I'm fighting against the school to keep my kids from having constant access to youtube. I am determined, though, to keep my kids phone and social media free for as long as possible.

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Dec 13, 2023Liked by Freya India

It is a sick, sad world for girls. We need grown women to provide compassion, mentorship, and sisterhood- with no apology.

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Great post, it’s devastating and huge problem today. It’s pushed on us everywhere, especially online, horrible for people of all ages, but especially kids.

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It's all true what you say about "the pornification of everything" but there's another hugely important thing that hardly ever gets discussed in journalism about sex. Teenage sex experience has always been VERY DIFFERENT for pretty girls than for what used to be called 'plain' ones. And it's very different for confident cocky boys than it is for shy geeky ones. The social media stresses you talk about in this essay will doubtless have amplified these differences. I discuss all this here: https://grahamcunningham.substack.com/p/the-less-desired

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I so despise what social media had become like for men, as well. Remember watching a Hamza video where he put it well: social media IS porn now.

It's well studied that men are way more visual when it comes to attraction. So you see shorts of women in scant, skin tight clothing at the gym, or doing sports, cosplay, whatever - essentially softcore porn. As a young adolescent male driven by hormones to seek sex, of course you give a "like" and so are served ever more of that.

Imagine how alluring this is: you can follow the accounts of all your favourite "models" and not only will you have daily content of this personal harem you've cheated steamed into your feed, you'll actually get recommendations on who else you might like!

I know people with dedicated porn Twitter accounts. They follow these girls and in conversation will call them "twitter hoes". They'll send their newest ass pics into our gaming group chat and I'm like, man, I don't want to see that right now.

Are you that far gone? It's so sad how social media can lead us astray and reinforce exactly the worst in us.

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I, think it is imperative to stop the glorification of sex for young girls who are barely clinging to an identity and show them a harmful alternative route. I can't imagine being young today being lured into the hellish landscape of social media. It nourishes the ideation of suicide as well as drug use to soothe the insecurity. It's madness and frightening.

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Dec 14, 2023·edited Dec 14, 2023Liked by Freya India

As I pointed out in Freya’s first article in November, getting kids off social media is one thing, but then what alternative activities do they have, given the virtual disappearance of IRL (In Real Life) activities for them to fall back onto?

To see just how big the challenge is, consider how children grew up before the internet. Here are the chapters in my book, Life Before the Internet, devoted to home and family:

Ch 3 – Children learned to fend for themselves

Ch 4 – Children played with each other, not with phones

Ch 5 – Children played for hours outdoors

Ch 7 – Children had limited access to pornography

So even if we were somehow able to get them off social media and access to porn, we no longer have the IRL activities of childhood as outlined in Ch 3-5, due to a combination of over-protective parenting and the internet.

I think it is time to look at the bigger picture beyond just restricting teen access to social media (which is a given and should be done) and also addressing the IRL activities they need to fall back onto for this to stand a chance of succeeding.

(My original comment here https://jonathanhaidt.substack.com/p/algorithms-hijacked-my-generation/comment/43429455).

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Great piece! Food for thought.

The comments below, about an outright ban being both unworkable and potentially back-firing, ring true.

However, I don't think it's all doom either. I see many older women now, taking on the role of guiding or providing mentorship for girls transitioning to womanhood. Just the other day, I saw an invitation to an art therapy workshop for 10-13 year old girls, to celebrate menarche and the rite of passage from girl to woman. It was a beautifully crafted invitation, acknowledging the grief and potential confusion that goes with saying farewell to childhood and the joy, that goes with embracing womanhood conscsiously, guided through the wisdom of older women.

And let's face it, there is nothing in this world and I mean nothing, more powerful than a circle of women gathered consciously! In providing such safe spaces within our own communities for girls to express their fears, anxieties and dreams; a space to explore their own embodied experience of what it is to be a girl / woman - pleasure and pain; to imbibe the experience of older teens and women; who knows but that girls may begin to question themselves, whether they want to give their time, attention and energy to the unending and deadening drivel on-screen.

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I love that you wrote and expressed all of this. And I hate that this happens 24/7 and is “normalized”. I’ve been on the side of getting sucked into OF and trying to sexualize myself. I had the insight to realize I didn’t want to do that and be known for that. It hurts me that young women who really haven’t had any guidance, besides from social media and society, think that this is how they can be recognized or heard or show their value. My biggest hope for this world is that this doesn’t get minimized and normalized but that we minimize this from further continuing.

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Hi Freya,

I really appreciated this article, and I appreciate your work in general. I just wanted to chime in concerning your media selection, given that I have historically struggled with pornography addiction I am suspect that some of your audience may be in that same boat. I personally find photos such as the header image triggering in a way that I just wanted to make you aware of. For me, it was not a big deal because I am far along on my recovery journey. Others, I fear, may have found it more difficult to deal with.

I would like to emphasize that this is not a criticism, I really appreciate your voice in the barrens waste of the internet.

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