Oversharing, Feminism, and the New American Twenty-Something

shafrir-juliaallison1v.jpg2111.jpgThe summer of 2008. A summer drowning in recession, debt, ridiculous gas prices, and boring, trashy television (I mean, Greatest American Dog??). Lots of things seem to be going wrong…or at least…discussed to the point of having us all believe they’re going wrong…and many teens and twenty-somethings are turning to the web to air their grievances.

Because 2008 isn’t just the summer of expensive corn and Obama-rama, it’s also the summer of TMI. Over-sharing has become a form of communication for our generation; from blogging about bad dates, to blogging about our self-indulgent issues, to blogging purely to become famous. No matter who we are, we can become stars overnight by uploading naked photos, name-dropping about a wild party, or simply having an ounce of literary ability and a snarky way with words.

By late July, 2008, the percent of people in the US who haven’t seen a celebrity vajayjay flash or heard someone say, “dude, I’m gonna blog about this!” is monumentally small, and it seems like every day a new gossip or 24 hour news site pops up. However, amidst the clattering of fingers on keyboards and snapping of flashbulbs, I can’t help but wonder if this constant need to be seen and heard is actually doing us any good.

Is all this over-sharing about our drug, drink, and sexual exploits really helping women cultivate a strong, intelligent persona? Do we feel more empowered now that Britney, Lindsay, and Paris have made trashy the new black? Are our lives more complete now that we know what David Beckham had for breakfast?

These aren’t rhetorical questions. As a twenty-something myself, I really want to know:

In this age of over-sharing, are you confident about yourself and your image? Are you proud of how we as women have represented ourselves in the media?

Vote in our poll, and write in our comments — this is your chance to tell the world exactly how you feel.



    1. Stacey says:

      I have to admit, I think women have taken a step BACKWARD. What are we trying to say? That newwave feminism is based completely off of sexuality?

      Because that's how it's portrayed these days.

      It's sad to me, honestly.

    2. Ashlee says:

      I had to vote that I am proud of our image as women because their are many powerful and influential women that have been raising the bar. Everyone knows that Lindsey, Paris, Nicole, Britney and and that crowd are trash. They don't represent women in general they represent Hollywood. Thats a whole other subject that needs its own repercussions. Some women such as Hillary Clinton and Angelina Jolie are during good for our image. Not only that, I appreciate the image that blogs such as CC give women. We don't have to live by the standards that our grandmothers lived by. We can go to college, educate ourselves and do something great.

    3. Belle says:

      Stacey, I agree that every movement should be complex rather than single-issue, but what is wrong with sexuality? The fact that women can now make the choice to be sexual or chaste rather than being told what to do is amazing! Although I don't think I could be out there like some women, as long as they do it safely, I totally admire those women who have sex when they want and don't feel self-conscious about it. Judgmental girls are the ones that need to check themselves…

    4. Casey says:

      Having sex with whoever whenever, or not having it I should say, is not necessarily an issue of whether someone is confident or self-conscious or not. After high school I was pretty promiscuous sleeping with guy after guy and I felt like I was "liberated" and I didn't feel like a slut because, after all, it's ok for guys to do it so it should be ok for us to, right? well, I've since grown up and realized guys and girls are not the same (yes we are equal, but not the same) there are different standards for each sex, and having different standards doesn't make us unequal, there are things that put us above men and some things that put men above women but as long as it's balanced we're still equal (that's what we should be striving for is a balance, not the same standards) As women we have higher expectations then men, we're supposed to be the calm collective levelheaded ones (which todays women certainly are not) that are supposed to "manipulate" mens minds. But what man is going to allow themselves to be manipulated by a girl that whores around? none. By being "liberated" we're diminishing our respect, credibility, and influence. I look back on that part of my life and just feel trashy, dirty, ignorant, and immature. I like the feeling of being the girl a guy has to work for and not being the "easy target" just because I'm horny. Because even if you feel "liberated" sleeping with some guy you just met you are the only one that sees it that way. And there really is no justification other than you just don't care about your image and you want whatever whenever, which, I think there's a word for that, and it's selfish.

    5. Ginny says:

      While I do not deny that standards (and double standards) exist, I don't see why they should matter. Unless you actually know the person how could you know the reasons for their sexual choices. They could be promiscous b/c they enjoy sex and like to experiment or b/c they have low self-esteem and don't value their bodies. Similarly, they could be chaste b/c they believe sex should always be emotionally meaningful or b/c they are repressed with an displaced guilt complex. I would feel uncomfortable having sex with someone with whom I wasn't in love, but I can only speak for myself and my background. It is purely wrong to pass judgment on something that should be personal choice. Casey, it seems like you made the wrong choice for yourself, but don't try to generalize about others.

      Also, what is this crap about "manipulating" men's minds? If you are striving for balance that is certainly not the way to achieve it. You sound like a crazy stalker. It's game-players like you that give honest women a bad name. As for your point about promiscuous women being selfish, you're doing some pretty strange reasoning. Exactly who should women be trying to please with their sexual habits? You? Society? I challenge you to find a sexual choice that wasn't self-oriented.

    6. Casey says:

      well maybe you should reread my first sentance I was responding to Belle's comment and said that the point she brought up was not necessarily the case and gave my cituation as an example. Women in the 50's were supposed to have been behind their husbands decision making. They would make the decisions and make their man think that it was thier own idea. That's what their mothers taught them to do so no that's not my idea and I don't see how it has anything to do with stalking, sorry that statement offended you so much you flew off the handle with personal attacks (maybe you're the crazy stalker?)

      I certainly don't play games i was giving an example of how women were in past decades. and sorry my last statement could have been clearearer, I was trying to say wanting whatever you want whenever you want it is selfish, whether it's something sexual or anything else, it just says something about a girls personality that doesn't care who they sleep with just cause they're horny and "want it now".

    7. Heather says:

      I dont think paris and lindsay are examples of how feminism has taken a step backwards. i think it can be seen in all women who name-call using the word slut, women who dont even see themselves as feminists despite the fact that all it really means is equality, and the fact that women arent as eager to stand up for their rights today (some, not all). the whole point of sex positive feminism is that sexuality is something to be embraced, and proud of. instead, the media uses these sexual images for the pleasure of men, or for aspirational aspects to try and get us to purchase products. the way we are represented, and the way we actually are, are two different things. we just need to remember, and keep in touch with how far weve really come in the past few decades, and understand that how we are portrayed in the media is a social obstacle to overcome, and has nothing to do with our own sexuality.

    8. Lauren, University o says:

      I don't have a problem with sharing the details of our lives online, but more with the fact that you can find out EVERYTHING about a person without actually meeting them. Where is the mystery? And is this really the best way to get to know/judge someone? I really miss discovering things about a person as I get to know them. Now, I just log on to the computer and know all there is to know (and so much more than I really needed).

    9. Belle says:

      Just to clarify, I was never saying that I thought it was a good idea for women to have sex with a cavalier attitude. I just don't think that expressing one's sexuality should be considered a bad or shallow thing.

    10. gregory dykes says:

      i want to meet you god send

    11. […] I realized that this isn’t just a problem that plagues sex columnists. Any sexually active person faces the same dilemma – what’s okay and not okay to share? Since […]

    12. Doodlio Jones says:

      The problem is that people are generally fools, uneducated, and chronically unengaged. For instance, "Casey" and "Ginny" have opinions about things that they haven't engaged themselves in. They haven't spent very much time considering this subject. The world needs ditch diggers! If everyone in the world is a sophisticated college educated, well traveled, financially stable person then who the hell is going to wait on me at a restaurant or cut my hair? Do I digress? No. Both women and men have certain stereotypes because the majority of men and women represent the masses of stupid people who make a state operate.

      Do you think that the whore on the street cares about sociology or criminal justice? Does the guy who picks your tomatoes or strawberries care about what you think defines his male role in society? The point is that you can't do anything to help redefine men or women, its is completely automatic.

      Hillary Clinton is famous because Bill Clinton decided to settle down with her. Angelina Jolie is famous because Brad Pitt decided to settle down with her- and guys like to wack off to her and fantasize about her.

      "Mass Society" is led by our desires, not our intellectual backwash, our intellectual reactions to reality. Whether or not you have whored around ladies, matters the most to you and how your upbringing, your needs, your situation, react to your behavior. If whoring around made you famous like Tila Tequila, you could rationalize that as a positive. Kim Kardashian and Paris Hilton owe their fame to whoring about on video. Because guys liked it.

      Guys let women control them because they think its cute. We like it when you try to fill our shoes. Human nature dictates, however, that when given power or wealth you most often buy shoes and take on a princess persona, while men with wealth and power rule the world.

    13. […] doing, “eating spaghetti with cheese,” or “walking home from the drug store” seems like an over-share. And you both know where this little text-dance is leading—“Do you want to hang […]

    14. Brenda says:

      Wemon that continuly deny their sexuality anoy the hell out of me. it is not necessary for a woman to go around telling everyone that she has just had sex with a man, but at the same time it can be said that wemon do have as strong a libido as any man, and it should be her right to satisfy that libido with whoever she sees fit, with out the judgment of the rest of her gender or the other for that matter. to not recognize sex as a pleasureble thing is to deprive our selves of one of gods greatest gifts and to shame our selves.

    15. […] So how do you know if you’re using it all right or oh so horribly wrong? Here are just a few signs that you overshare on social media: […]

    16. anon says:

      I don't identify myself as a feminist. The movement is poorly defined. For instance, the movement is pro-choice yet also campaigns for longer maternity leave, daycares in the workplace, etc. Yes, I know essentially it's saying that women should have the right to choose when to have a child and not sacrifice a career. But it's also advocates women as caregivers. Most feminists (including many professors of mine) believe women should have children, not overtly, but their lives and attitude speak for themselves(e.g., expressions like: "when you have a child…" even though I never indicated I planned to have a child or personal, irrelevant anecdotes about their two-year-olds in the midst of a lecture). When women's rights are brought up, someone usually brings up children. There is nothing wrong with children but face it: many so-called feminists, as with many women, aspire to marry and have children without it they feel incomplete and they see others who choose not to as incomplete. No matter how financially or politically successful, a woman without marriage or children is seen in the eyes of many as a failure.

      In addition, veiled euphemisms such as pro-choice, a woman's right to choice, etc are just silly, as is the word empowerment. First of all, empowerment is passive word that implies: 1. You weren't empowered until someone or something empowered you. 2. The root word "power" is frowned upon when a woman claims to have it so someone "feminized" the word. Many regressive books on dating ( usually written by men with daughters in their teens or twenties), use the word empowerment. "You must wait three months, before having sex with your partner. If you do not, your decision is not an empowered one and he (because such authors assume we only date males) will not respect you."

      I'm not saying all feminists are afraid to say, "They advocate legal abortions," or "A woman is a legitimate person whether or not she will ever have children." I've been around the movement long enough and have seen far too many hypocrisies to call myself a "feminist." In the end, it's just another example that labels don't work. I'm not straight, gay, bisexual, asexual, etc, and I'm not a feminist.

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