Online redistribution of intimate pictures without consent among Danish youth

Charlotte Amalie Hyldgaard

    Publikation: Working paperForskningpeer review

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    Over the past few years, Denmark has seen a rapid increase in the number of cases of intimate pictures being redistributed without consent. The phenomenon, which seems to involve children down to the age of eight, consists mostly of girls having their intimate pictures redistributed on different Facebook groups as well as among groups of primarily boys. Several NGOs, the media and the Danish Government have all become aware of the increasing problem. However, why do we see many cases of this problem in Denmark, and how do we explain it, as well as combat it? On this basis, the main research interest of this project is what explains the redistribution of intimate pictures without consent among Danish youth. To answer this, different sources have been collected and consulted. As several NGOs have joined the fight against the phenomenon, interviews have been conducted with three experts, whom are all working in field. These three interviewees provide the main data for the project. Online articles, letters from Bø, as well as a DR documentary supplement the interviews. The theory section is constructed based on collected theory from the following main themes, which includes: cyberspace, trust and intimacy, sexuality and youth culture. These main themes have been identified as contributing to explain the phenomenon. The main research question is answered through a four-split analysis: First, the focus is on the background of sharing intimate pictures, also called sexting, which seems to be more or less consensual. It is analysed how young people increasingly communicate in pictures and attempt to manage favourable impressions of their online selves, mainly due to the Internet’s ability to construct identities and the technological developments in social media and smartphones. Next, the focus is on the motivations for engaging in sending intimate pictures. Lastly, the focus is on the driving forces behind the phenomenon. The last section is split in two: the first part is on technological explanations and the second part is on gendered explanations. A key point of technological explanations is how there is a lack of clear boundaries between private and public information and unclear boundaries for online behaviour. A key point of gendered explanations is how there is a double standard for women online, which follows some narrow social codes, and if these are broken, it can have severe consequences for the victim. Another key point is how the Internet can be viewed as predominantly male, thus at the expense of women, allowing intimate pictures to be redistributed on for example closed Facebook groups, thus reducing these pictures (and the victims in them), to entertainment. This can partly be explained by youth culture, as how guys in homosocial relations for example, which can be found in some of these closed groups, redistribute intimate pictures of girls without consent, in order to gain social status among their peers. This combined with how there has been a lack of addressing which boundaries should be applied online offer possible explanations of the phenomenon of redistributing intimate pictures without consent among Danish youth. Based on the findings of this project, I will conclude with specific recommendations on how to combat this phenomenon.
    UdgiverFREIA - Center for Kønsforskning, Institut for Kultur og Globale Studier, Aalborg Universitet
    Antal sider60
    StatusUdgivet - 2017
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