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How Social Media Influences Hookup Culture

Nowadays, most teenagers and young adults have become almost obsessed with new technology. Think back to when you were younger. If you had a phone throughout your childhood years and your parents took it away from you as a punishment, what was your reaction? Were you nonchalant about it or did you instantly start begging for it back? 

There are many people I know who have Snapchat streaks. I’ve actually been asked to keep their Snapchat streaks going while they’re on vacation or where they don’t have much signal. It truly is fascinating to see how much social media impacts us.

Sometimes, people find a way to work social media into their relationships or hookups. It’s common that women feel offended or upset when the person they are talking to or dating leaves a like or comment on another person’s post. Sometimes men feel that way too. However, it is much more common for women. 

When technology advanced to where we’re able to see what people are doing and when they are active, it has driven many of us insane. Some people check someone’s activity status or Snapchat score if the person they are interested in does not respond to their text in a certain amount of time. In addition, sometimes couples check their partner’s location if they’re not home by a certain time. Over time, these tendencies can eventually become toxic. Unfortunately, social media is beginning to normalize toxicity.

There are multiple social media apps that influence toxic behaviors within a relationship. Here are some apps that influence toxicity, followed by how they do that:

  1. TikTok

As you scroll through the “For You Page”, it’s noticeable that most girls or guys post funny relationship-related videos or even posts that insinuate sexual activity. Even the recent challenges or dance moves that are trending lately have become more sexualized. There are also a lot of older men that prey on underage girls on the app. This is most likely because of the challenges that are promoted. One of the most recent challenges is the “Silhouette Challenge.” In the challenge, girls show themselves in their normal clothes while standing in the middle of a doorway. The music begins as soft and sweet and leads into a transition of a much different, sexual type of song. When the transition happens, the setting is different. The girl is then shown in the doorway as a silhouette with red lights in the background while wearing almost nothing but a bra and underwear. Some girls have even been completely naked in the challenge, which sometimes is still noticeable even as a silhouette. This has led to an immense amount of issues and controversy. It has become unsafe for women to post these because there have been tutorials created on how to remove the red filter lights used in the video. Many women have been exposed and upset from the result. The controversy that plays a role in this new trend is based around the idea of what the challenge is meant to do. It was meant to make women feel sexy and confident. However, men will choose to see it much differently and tend to sexualize it. This causes women to be seen as more of an object. The more trends that are formed on TikTok, the more sexualized they have become. It’s now a norm and has left an impact on how men view and treat women. 

  1. Instagram

Approximately, over one billion people have an Instagram account. Instagram has been around since 2010. It has only been 11 years, yet it has changed how society views others and themselves. Society has managed to make women feel like they have to look a certain way in order to get likes or comments. It has caused women to want to look more promiscuous or beautiful for validation.

In addition, men have used Instagram to make accounts to repost women that look promiscuous or post videos of women dancing and sexualizing them. They usually make these accounts private and make it known that you are only able to follow if you are 18 or older. Having accounts like these on Instagram where sexual content or sexual memes are posted allows men to perceive women differently, therefore treat them differently. 

  1. Snapchat

Much like Instagram, Snapchat has a history of men or even women creating private stories where they can post sexual content to get people in “the mood”. Sometimes people subscribe to these Snapchat stories while being in a relationship, which often ends them. Another downside to Snapchat’s influence on how men and women interact sexually would be that it’s mostly based around sending pictures. You are able to set the picture you send to a certain amount of seconds, but it’s still easy to screenshot or save a picture. There have been multiple instances where people have sent nudes through Snapchat and they have been leaked. Snapchat also has a “My Eyes Only” section where you can hide private photos…if you know what I mean. This makes it easy to hide things from your significant other or someone you are talking to because it requires a password to unlock it. Having these features to make things private (including your Snapchat location) makes it easy for people to lose trust or feel like they cannot trust. It also allows your love interest to see you differently or sexualize you more based on what you send or how you post. 

As mentioned earlier, it is possible for our generation to become more toxic over time based on the expectations and hacks that exist within the social media world. Both genders have become sexualized in different ways and both have attempted to conform to societal standards – whether that involves beauty or sexuality. It’s essential to become more aware of the standards we hold for ourselves and for others to improve our generation as a whole.

Featured Images by: Karsten Winegart, Alexander Shatov (TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat)

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