Mexico Just Declared War on Sexting (Hide Your Eggplant Emoji!)

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sexting sex Mexico

This is about to get VERY interesting...

Is sexting a good thing or bad thing? Your opinion will probably be influenced by your personal experience (or lack thereof) with digital sexiness, but, recently, the country of Mexico kicked off a widespread campaign that is firmly focused on stressing the negative aspects of sexting.

However, the campaign itself — known as “Think Before You Sext” — has inspired a larger debate about how the country is approaching sex and the sexting issue. Some critics and non-profit organizations feel that the government’s messaging is misguided, demonizing the act of sexting rather than the people who abuse it.

How does someone “abuse” sexting? That doesn’t mean people who do it too much (that’s just embarrassing). It means those who use sexting to extort or embarrass other people. A prime example is revenge porn, where disgruntled exes post compromising, sexual pictures of their former flames on pornography sites, either as a means of vengeance or blackmail.

Mexico’s new campaign — sponsored by their National Institute for Transparency, Access to Information, and Protection of Personal Data (INAI) — revolves around 10 main talking points that they refer to as their “10 Reasons Not to Perform Sexting.”

They created an animated public-service announcement to advertise their “10 Reasons,” which is surprisingly cute for such a potentially loaded issue. (Warning: The video is, understandably, in Spanish.)

For those who don’t speak Spanish, here’s a translation of the INAI’s “10 Reasons Not to Perform Sexting”:

1. There is another person involved that you depend on now.
2. People and relationships can change.
3. The protection of digital information is complicated.
4. The distribution of digital information cannot be controlled.
5. An image can provide a lot of information.
6. There are laws that criminalize actions linked to sexting.
7. Sextortion occurs if the image of sexting falls into the hands of blackmailers.
8. The internet is fast and powerful.
9. Social networks allow people you know to get information about you.
10. There is a serious risk of cyberbullying if the image from sexting is published on the internet.

They’re pretty reasonable points, right? Nothing surprising. If you’ve ever sent a racy snapshot to a friend before, you probably quickly considered most of those points in your mind before you hit “send.”

But, despite the anti-sexting campaign’s fairly inocous talking points, several organizations in Mexico feel that the “10 Reasons” send the wrong message to young people about sexting.

Armando Novoa, director of Mexico’s Alliance for Internet Security (AIS), told the press that, “To tell them not to [sext] simply doesn’t work … We have to teach them how to do it responsibly, without exposing themselves and others. Children need to know about this the moment they get access to the internet.”


It’s akin to the perennial arguments between proponents of abstinence and proponents of sex education. Many people believe that we can’t simply make young people STOP having sex (and there are numbers to prove that), so they argue that efforts should be shifted to educating young people about sex and how to have it in the safest possible way.

In regards to sexting, the equivalent would be the “Safer Nudes” campaign, a Mexican movement to teach young people how to use coding, metadata, and digital security techniques to protect their online flirting.

Another major issue people are having with “Think Before You Sext” is that it doesn’t address any actionable steps towards stopping the abuse of sexting. It doesn’t call for stricter laws about revenge porn or sexting extortion and doesn’t mention the various websites that benefit from that abuse.

It’s for those reasons why some people are viewing the cartoony “10 Reasons Not to Perform Sexting” video as a form of victim-blaming. While, yes, it is important to keep security in mind while sexting, is it really fair to suggest that the ONLY way to prevent sexting abuse is to never engage in it at all?

Shouldn’t two people, past the legal age of consent, have the freedom to send some sexy pictures back and forth to each other, if they wanted to? Why shouldn’t they be able to send some flirting selfies or racy emojis? Shouldn’t there be a reasonable assumption of privacy and, if that privacy is violated by a third party, isn’t that third party solely to blame?


And it’s important to note that the vast majority of those being violated by sexting abuse in Mexico are women.

Armando Novoa from the ASI told Fusion that, “Our data shows Mexican men are sending 48.2% of the sexual photographs while women are sending 51.8%,” he said. “This means they practically engage equally in sexting. However, when it comes to reporting incidents [of abuse], many of which started out as playful sexting, 49 out of every 50 victims are women.”

Yes, you do have to be safe when it comes to sexting and the “10 Reasons Not to Perform Sexting” are a good reminder of that. However, abstaining from sexting won’t stop Mexico’s larger problems with the people who are using compromising pictures against innocent people. Hopefully, this new campaign is just one small part of a much larger movement targeted at the bigger issues.

Because sexting is not inherently a bad thing. It can be wonderful, sexy, and intimate, and people have the right to share that experience with a consenting partner.

Ideally, Mexico will soon recognize that sexting is never going away and instead pivot their efforts towards prosecuting those who turn something so private into such a public violation.


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