Kids Today With Their Rock n Roll Sexting

October 8, 2011 § 1 Comment

Justine Cassel and Meg Cramer, “High Tech or High Risk: Moral Panics about Girls Online” (2008)

Stranger danger online, is it really so serial? Why don’t you take a seat and we’ll talk about it. Specifically re: moral panics! Yet another in a long-ass line, for example parental freakouts over the sexy telegraph and even sexier telephone! I’m clutchin my pearls y’all! And the AOL or whatever is apparently even scarier for gurlz! EXCEPT NAW YOU GUYS NAW, it’s got less to do with actual Pedobear and more to do with sublimated fear of girls’ sexual agency! In conclusion, parents they just don’t understand!

Ellen Seiter, “Practicing at Home: Computers, Pianos, and Cultural Capital” (2008)

Bourdieu reeeemiix! Comparing the piano with the computer! Pedagogy! The “right” skills! Distinction! Financial barriers to entry! An ever-widening access gap! The economic capital of digital literacy! The cultural capital of digital literacy! The social capital of digital literacy! High Tech High! Lucas! Kenny! Technology didn’t save either of them :(

Also OH MY GOD I think the girl at :4 and :40 might be 13 year-old me

sassy tween

Speaking of that little cyberminx, once upon a time my friends and I thought it’d be fun to explore the World Weird Web we’d been hearing so much about from the television. We logged onto Prodigy (my name was appropriately dark and dangerous, BOW DOWN BEFORE Raven22267) and found our way to the kidzbop chatroom or whatever; within about 27 seconds we had a real scott16 on our hands. He wanted to do verbs to my noun! I thought this was just a gas, even though my boring friends were like I’m skawed let’s watch Clueless. But I was like SHUT UP, let’s make fun of this guys’ spelling! “thats not how u spell that u loser,”  I wrote, or something to that effect due to THREE GUESSES — and just as he IM’d a particularly descriptive response, my father came tearing into the room probably because the fone was tied up & he realized there were GURLZ ALONE ON THE INTERNET. He saw the last part of me n Scottie’s little exchange and like a good girl I feigned innocence, I don’t know papa, the bad man started saying really gross stuff and he couldn’t even spell it right??? My father, who had been pushing me to be an internet person from the moment I slopped out of the womb, was suddenly Baron Von CEOP and never let me go online unsupervised again — which, for the first time in my life, was all I wanted to do. Eventually my interest passed, however, and Raven22267 remained dormant for the better part of the decade.

I haven’t though about that day in years. I didn’t even know I remembered my screen name. Until I did, and then lol’d. Because RAVEN. But apparently Cassel and Cramer’s argument –that online experimentation is perfectly healthy and maybe even beneficial for girls, and that the moral panic surrounding girls’ online behavior is actually disempowering– struck a chord. And lines up with something I’ve been kicking around for quite some time. Namely feminist applications of trollish rhetoric. inb4 that’s not possible, trolling is antithetical to feminism!! All trolls do is make rape jokes and ruin lives! To which I say bitch please, nothing kneecaps a chauvinist or low-level pervert, either irl or online, like a swift troll to the nuts. Yes it’s important to keep our girls safe blah blah. But we should also teach them how to play, because the alternative –”protecting” them via the reinscription of their weakness, their vulnerability, their apparently essential girlishness– is worse. Not that there isn’t some truly scary shit out there. But there’s also a lot of shit that’s made to seem much scarier than it actually is. And frankly it grosses me out to think that we’re cashing in our Crytime Fear Cards on something that’s barely worth a few choice swears.

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