Editor’s note: The full name of one source in this article has been redacted in order to protect the source’s privacy.
College students find themselves doing a plethora of things to make cash. For Rose, this includes working at her hourly retail job — and selling her nudes on Twitter.
High-speed internet drives modern society, and that includes how people get their pornography. Some Twitter users capitalized on an opportunity to post, and in some cases, sell nude photos of themselves, leading to a debate among feminists across the web. While some feel that using one’s sexuality for financial gain can empower women, others believe it further objectifies them. Meanwhile, every woman who sells nudes has their own unique reasons.
For Rose, selling her nudes is just a way to make extra cash when needed. When she faced an expensive traffic ticket in January, Rose found the answer to her dilemma in her direct messages. That’s when she decided to turn unwanted attention into cash.
“Women are objectified anyway. Guys message me on Instagram like super creepy stuff. They ask me for pictures anyway,” Rose said. “So it’s like okay if you’re objectifying me anyway I might as well take charge of it myself and start charging you.”
Cinthya Arballo, international relations and global studies freshman, said she would fear for her future professional career if nude images of herself where to end up online.
“You never know where those images are going to end up and where they’re going to follow you,” Arballo said. “I would find that kind of embarrassing if I sold an image to a person and it ended up in the other side of the world somewhere. There’s always a way people can access things.”
Rose said she thought about this scenario and prepared for such an occurrence. She said she is extremely conscious of not putting her face in any of the photos and makes sure every photo is unique. That way, if she ever finds out if any unauthorized sharing she will know the source and accordingly take action.
“I’m pretty comfortable with my body as is,” Rose said. “So if I’m not sending anything that I’m not comfortable with and my face isn’t in it, I’m not really freaked out about it.”
As expected, not all the attention Rose gets is positive. Among Twitter feeds with nude photo sellers, countless users voice their disapproval. However, bilingual education senior Daniela Diaz said while she may not share similar photos herself, the decision to do so is ultimately the choice of the woman and is no different than the sale of art.
“In today’s world we use art pieces all the time with nude women on them and they are sold for millions and millions of dollars,” Diaz said. “So I almost want to say I’m not sure there is a difference if it’s the woman who’s deciding to do it.”
Sociology professor Gloria Gonzalez-Lopez acknowledges both sides of the feminist debate on the value of selling or sharing nude images of a woman’s body. Although it may be easy to pick a side, she said this is a complex issue that needs a combination of field research and theory to conduct a more critical analysis.
“When we do research on these sensitive topics, we really need to listen to the women,” Gonzalez-Lopez said. “That expands our views. It is important to explore some kind of balance between theorizing and also what the women themselves have to say about this.”
Rose herself pays little attention to those who criticize women who sell their nudes. She said what she does with her own body is ultimately her own business.
“I’m not personally offended by it, everyone is entitled to their own opinion,” Rose said. “At the end of the day, I’m gonna do what I want with my body and make my money. (People) can be bothered by it and that’s on them.”