From the Editors: October 14, 2015
After realizing that the topic needed as much exposure, so to speak, as we could provide it, we featured revenge porn on our last cover.
After realizing that the topic needed as much exposure, so to speak, as we could provide it, we featured revenge porn on our last cover. We hoped those who've been victims of this devastating crime — and who are unaware of their options — might see that they do, indeed, have legal recourse.
Once the issue hit stands, we received this thoughtfully written email:
I would like to commend you on your article regarding revenge porn. It is something people need to know about. However, I don't really care to have to explain to my nine-year-old what porn is after she sees the cover of your paper at the grocery store! :( I'd like to give her a few more years of childhood before I have to tell her about the ugly parts of humanity.
She has a point. Who wants to explain revenge porn to an innocent nine-year-old? Truthfully, we wish we didn't have to explain it to anyone. It's horrible at any age.
But while we're at it: how does one explain any of the images bombarding a child in the checkout line or elsewhere? What messages are they getting? And now that "the media" has expanded into a near-constant barrage of images and dogma, how are we to raise awareness of what is truly worth knowing, while also protecting each other?
Unfortunately, this reader's nine-year-old daughter may have to deal with these questions soon. And the influence of checkout line covers — typically featuring airbrushed, hyper-sexualized women in objectifying poses, with headlines about getting beach butts and the guys they want — cannot be overstated. A study by Common Sense Media last January found that 80 percent of 10-year-old American girls have been on a diet. And the New York Times summarized a 2011 AAUW report, "Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School," stating, "Nearly half of 7th to 12th graders experienced sexual harassment in the last school year … with 87 percent of those who have been harassed reporting negative effects such as absenteeism, poor sleep, and stomachaches."
This is our world. It can be so hard to look at; but it gets even harder if we look away.
We want to thank this reader for taking the time to write to us. Her letter inspired us to pause, contemplate, discuss, and reflect. In other words, it gave us what we strive to give readers with every issue.
We enjoyed it so much that we'll now feature our most intriguing reader comments on this page. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (tell us if you'd rather remain anonymous), or via Facebook or Twitter.