A 12 grade student, Kiona Osowski, did a research project which began with a question she based on her own life experiences as a 17-year-old teen: why are today’s girls constantly asked to send nudes?
Osowski believes that a lot of individuals don’t want to talk about this; however, it’s happening. Young women are constantly asked to send nude photos on the internet.
As of September 2020, Osowski tried to learn more about how and why boys feel the right to ask for nude photos from girls and why girls feel compelled in a way to send them over.
She claims that this has become a norm in the society, but it’s high time we take it apart.
What Did Osowski’s Research Conclude?
During her research, Osowski found that there are toxic media messages that teens receive when growing up with phones in their hands constantly.
She claims that a lot of the adults in their life are unaware of the problems happening in the youth today.
The student worked on this project under the mentorship of a psychology teacher Heather Gunn and Chris Evans, a teacher of sociology.
Gunn explains that many adults are actually naive and probably think that all youngsters do on the internet is playing Minecraft. But, it was a real surprise to them when they understood more about the reality of young people today.
In a letter she wrote to officials from the Anglophone East School District, Osowski said that nude photos, exploitation of women, toxic male representation, porn, and violence-inducing media are issues that aren’t discussed enough.
“Why Can’t I Look like That?”
The research that this student did opened up with how she and some of her friends feel about their bodies and their physical looks.
She wrote how they can sit next to their best friend and each one knows that the other is thinking of the same thing she is: how she doesn’t like herself.
A lot of these young girls go through their Instagram or other social media and see these skinny, tanned, perfect-body women who go to the gym every day and eat kale and spinach and they think to themselves: why don’t I look like that?
The curriculum Osowski developed helps students learn about photo editing that is more common on social media than you may think and how women strive for an ‘ideal body’ that doesn’t actually exist.
It also talks about the increasing number of people with eating disorders. Kiona is currently member of the soccer team and she also boxes. She feels these two activities help her be strong and empowered.
However, she wishes that someone told her that feeling bad about her own body wasn’t a normal thing. She recalls going on with her life and thinking how she hates her body because everyone seemed to hate their own.
The Negative Impact of Porn & Video Games on Young Boys
Kiona also researched young men and the media.
She came to the conclusion that boys start to play video games and watch porn from early on; on the other hand, men are rarely seen expressing emotion; according to Osowski, this left them believing that anger is the only emotion acceptable for men.
Media constantly represents men as the dominant side, sexually aggressive, and lacking emotions.
During her presentation, she encouraged her male classmates to be brave and express themselves.
She encouraged them to support their friend who’s having a bad day rather than making fun of him. She advised them to create a community and a group of friends where they will challenge all stereotypes set by media.
Unfortunately, excessive porn watching and porn watching from early age creates body ideals in men and women that are often unrealistic.
Osowski hopes to present the new curriculum to the parent school support committee of Moncton High and to have an audience with the officials from the Anglophone East School District.
She believes that education should never stop evolving.