I’m a bit taken aback at the judgemental tone of many of the comments on this story. Yes, it would be great if young women — young anybody — would simply refrain from ever taking nude or intimate photos of themselves or allowing such photos to be taken. But that horse is so far out of the barn it’s a little late to shut the door now, and anyway such an all-or-nothing bromide ignores the reality that there are still many, many young women who spend part of their younger years buying into the idea, so encouraged by our culture and media, that their bodies are a commodity, and their appearance an asset to leverage while it’s still current. And even if you’re careful, in this age of ever-present smartphones, you can be photographed at your most vulnerable quite without your knowledge. So perhaps the only way forward is, indeed, to own our images and our mistakes, and even our betrayals by those who seek to literally expose us. But it’s a bitter and frightening pill to swallow. I’m no longer a young woman, but I feel great empathy for those who are and who have to navigate in this treacherous landscape. I wish them courage.

Written by

Writer & educator. The Startup, Writing Cooperative, P.S. I Love You, The Ascent, more. Award-winning short fiction. Visit me at www.JanMFlynn.net.

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