Sex, Anonymity, and the Internet
The internet has worked to give an identity to those that are outcasts in society. An outcast in the real world could be the "life of the party" online. With avatars, aliases, and message boards the popular kid could be the loner next door.What the internet does best, and most efficiently is sell sex. For those that don't want to buy it, well there are tons of free options.
We are all human, working to make a place for ourselves among the masses. For some, the virtual world functions as a window to opportunity, be it, sexual, educational, etc.
Recently, A Republican, Anthony Weiner, shared photos of himself via Twitter. The politician had 6 ongoing relationships with different women, while living as a married man. (Notice, I didn't say happily) Weiner denied the allegations of the photos, claiming it was a glitch/hack, then assumed responsibility. Weiner is strong about continuing his political work believing this has nothing to do with his career;
Although, he did lie repeatedly before accepting responsibility, I agree with him. His personal life should be kept separate from his political endeavors. One small piece of advice, keep it off Twitter, Facebook, and all other social media platforms."I don’t see anything in what I did that violated the rules of the House,” Weiner said. “I don’t believe I did anything that violates any law or any rule.” He didn’t have any explanation for his online habits."
What I've noticed is a string of reactions to feelings of imprisonment. Not that Weiner or any other virtual sex lover are literally caged, but more locked in their inability to express themselves. However, I disagree with men or women that step out of their marriage for sexual fulfillment. Communicate with your partner before leaving the bedroom in search of something different. Weiner is a public figure with so much to lose, yet foolish enough to believe his secret activities would go unnoticed. In this society we no longer settle for "skeletons in the closet". Facebook, and Twitter have taken away private thoughts, and replaced then with streams of memories, information, news and images constantly flooding the user.
There are still parts of the internet that are in the shadows of the public eye. It's only a matter of time really. Are we okay with this inability to remain private? Is the only solution to refrain from social media entirely? I can admit my participation, but the internet doesn't provide me with another identity like it does for some. There is a place that does though...
Moving to NYC was a huge step for me. I chose a City University because I wasn't too fond of the suburban lifestyle I was given. I saw the city as a place where I could be anyone I wanted to be. I could do almost anything I wanted to do. Once I had arrived, I was engulfed by the culture, nightlife, and the anonymity. Walking down the street or taking the subway, a New Yorker comes across so many people they probably won't ever see again. What better place to be myself? My small town in New Jersey was home to so many relatives, there was no chance of being invisible. In New York, I came into my own, and became who I wanted to be.
Now this may sound ridiculous to some, but it worked perfectly for me. During the last 5 years, I have come out about my sexuality, graduated college, finally developed some sense of style, and I am comfortable with who I am. All of this happened in New York City because it was the only place I felt I could be myself.
New York City works like the internet does for some users. Anonymity is the allure, and the access to forms of communication that weren't always available. The nightlife of New York is my Twitter and college was my Facebook. I am no different from people that can only be themselves once they log on, or sign up.
While the public looks at people like Weiner with scorn or shame, there are parts of ourselves that cannot be shared with everyone. Society forces people into "the closet", and that is not just a homosexual reference. You're in the closet if you go against any societal norm. The closet is the place where a part of you resides, when you believe it can't be shown. Wit that said, I'll end with some wise words, from a much wiser person:
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.-Marianne Williamson