Anthony Weiner's sexting escapades have brought to light a completely new issue in the continuing debate about sexuality in America. Moreover, the pathetic odyssey of the former congressman is another reason why everyone must be wary about the potential dangers that exist on the Internet.
An op-ed in the New York Times today titled “Weiner’s Women” by Susan Jacoby is compelling. Ms. Jacoby, a self-proclaimed feminist, sets aside the condemnation of Weiner and focuses on the women who have been willing participants in the bizarre activity known as “sexting.”
Ms. Jacoby is spot-on — it takes two to tango. There is no physical coercion in sexting. One can always cut off contact, temporarily or permanently. It’s impersonal sex (I suppose), without commitment, sensuality, risk of disease, or emotion. It affords people none of the things that they expect in a romantic situation. And yet some people, men and women, get off on it. Frankly, Jacoby is disappointed that women even consider this type of “relationship.”
Another article in the Times yesterday titled “Weiner’s Behavior: Psychiatrists Weigh In” by Kate Taylor and Javier C. Hernandez “[puts] forth a variety of possible explanations for risking online acts.” The approach in this piece is to consider the plethora of reasons why Weiner has continued to sext even though it has destroyed his congressional career, ruined his chance to become mayor of New York City, and turned his marriage upside down.
Interestingly, the psychoanalytic gurus who opined about Weiner’s motivations said very little about the women who were his accomplices. Did they destroy their lives? Are they troubled with personal problems? Are they happily married?
I think it is worthwhile to read both pieces to gain insight into what is going on when a man and a woman speak dirty to each other and post pictures of their private parts online. Then again, I would understand if you were not interested in reading any more about Weiner.
The other interesting issue that seems to have been swept under the carpet is the real danger that may arise when communication over the internet leads to face-to-face encounters, especially those involving children. Common sense should preclude physical contact between sexting adults given that there are so many creepy reasons why people do this activity — discretion is paramount.
The internet is a dangerous place. Some people feel the federal government is abusing its power by tracking innocent Americans with information from internet sources. Nations are hacking each other. Top-secret information is being stolen and delivered to sleazy media outlets. Children are being stalked. Thieves are stealing identities and credit card numbers. And now, some are transmitting naked pictures of themselves.
I’m not one to encourage more government interference in our private lives, but the internet is becoming more of a social, political, and sexual hazard every day. Maybe our leaders and legislators need to look into it with a more discerning eye. The risk is that they might find embarrassing pictures of their colleagues during their research.