Bulgarian youth debate the ‘pros and cons of sexy selfies'

  • Awareness
  • 03/05/2016
  • Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre

On 26 April 2016, the Applied Research and Communications Fund (ARC Fund) and Association Debates Sofia organised a debate on the topic ‘For and against uploading a sexy selfie'. A discussion on the two points of view aimed to shed more light on whether sexy selfies bring more positives or negatives to the young people who share them online.

The debate was the culmination of a national campaign for counteracting contemporary methods of gender-based violence, financed by the Norway Grants Programme 2009-2014. The main debaters were members of Association Debates Sofia, who were divided into two teams of two. Each debater delivered a seven-minute speech. At the end of each speech, members of the public were able to comment on the statements and share their opinions and points of view.
According to the team who supported taking and uploading sexy selfies, girls and boys need to have the freedom to choose what pictures they want to upload or not. What is more, sexy selfies allow many different people to demonstrate their beauty to the rest of the world: in this way, such pictures not only break down old stereotypes of beauty, but they also give people a platform to express themselves.
According to the team who opposed sexy selfies, those pictures do not break down stereotypes but, on the contrary, they solidify them. Not all young girls look like the stars they constantly see online; as a result, they cannot maintain the ‘standard' for beauty which is being set online. This not only makes them feel bad about themselves, but also makes them feel excluded from their community. Moreover, serious problems like bulimia and anorexia could potentially result from failing to reach the ‘beauty standards' set by movie stars and models online.
The audience participated in the discussion throughout. One young man shared that not all of his peers, boys and girls alike, are on Facebook or Instagram. According to him, sexy selfies should not become a criterion for beauty, because not all attractive young people post provocative pictures online. He also said that not all people who think they upload sexy selfies actually achieve their goal – he believes that the attempt to post a sexy picture could actually backfire and could shame a person. A young lady from the audience shared that she believes young boys and girls who upload such pictures do not think about the consequences and could get themselves in trouble by uploading them.
At the very beginning of the debate, everyone agreed that whatever arguments are presented in support of the sexy selfies, they do not apply for boys and girls under 18 years of age – minors should think twice before uploading such pictures, due to the many dangers this might cause. Everyone unanimously agreed on this point.
At the end of the debate, the coordinator of the Bulgarian national Safer Internet Centre introduced the #облечисебе (dress up) campaign and the idea of the selfies, on which people are fully dressed, in front of the audience. We hope we get to see many dressed up selfies soon!
Find out more about the Bulgarian Safer Internet Centre here.

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