Essay on "It's Complicated - The Social Lives of Networked Teen" by Danah Boyd; Chapter 4 - "Danger"
When I Google search my legal name, many different “Amanda Kents” come up on the search engines. This makes sense being that Amanda was on the top baby names list in the 90s and Kent is a common last name from Kent County England. People from Kent County in England would say, for example, that they were “Amanda from Kent,” when addressing themselves. Eventually, they shortened it to “Amanda Kent” and used it as a last name.
I am a music producer. When I Google my artist’s name, “Amanda PLZ,” the internet is swamped with portfolios about me on every popular website. This includes all the popular musical platforms for releasing professional music, as well as my personal website. These sites are to include Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.
As a professional entertainer by trade, these fears that are talked about in chapter 4 were more prevalent when I began to publish myself all over the Internet. After years of experience in doing so, I have found that not many care what I am doing online. I must seek those who are interested in my craft. Also, being a “somebody”, people are less likely to want to mess with me because more people are going to be looking for me if something were to happen to me. I have a lot of followers who keep up with me daily and would be concerned if they did not see my regular social media posts for some time. In a way, being a professional entertainer safeguards me from some of these concerns of the Internet. Also, there is a saying “bad publicity is still publicity.” When people ask me if I am concerned about stockers, I told them that stockers would be a form of publicity for me, and that bad publicity is still publicity.
As a professional entertainer, I have had to formulate methods of safety for myself and have gained an added sense of awareness of my surroundings to safeguard myself from bad situations. I have gone as far as obtaining my concealed carry permit so that I can always legally carry weapons with me, and I have even trained a service dog which always acts as my guard dog. She travels with me to all my shows and performances and has my back in times when I need a bodyguard. Someone tried to sneak up behind the stage from the woods on one occasion to steal my equipment. My dog alerted me of their presence and scared them away.
Most individuals in the professional world would never want this type of representation of themselves so publicized online for everybody to see, including their families. I have been a professional exotics dancer for eight years and have never had any issues with stockers. When I first started dancing, I had a fake name that I went by. Over the years I have stopped using my fake dancer’s name and gone by my music production name to gain more followers for my true persona. I have a lot of dancers and managers tell me that they think I am crazy for doing so and question if I am ever worried about people finding out who I am. But the reality of the situation is that I want them to know who I am even if that brings a certain level of danger to me, I know that I always have my keen senses and my pistol and my guard dog with me. If something were to happen to me, that would be very unfortunate but at the end of the day I certainly feel capable of protecting myself and I feel like I want people to know my name and I want people to listen to my music and it is easier for me to do that by only having one persona. Someone recently referred to me in the gas station as “Only Fans Girl.”
All my information, including my only fans page and videos that I would not necessarily want my family to see, are available for the whole world to view at their discretion. I think that this goes back to the chapter on privacy and social norms where people who should not be viewing me in those types of ways should respect my privacy by not viewing those types of content for me even though they have access to it. It would be weird, for example, if my brother, mother, or father or to view my only fans page even though it is accessible to them, and I have a free subscription rate.
I recognize that this is not what you were expecting to read for my submitted assignment and that it may feel off-the-wall, off-topic, or maybe even inappropriate to whoever is grading my paper, however, I feel that it is also an interesting topic that a small percentage of the world experiences and maybe it will open your eyes unto another form of social media sharing. “It’s complicated” does not necessarily advocate against these types of accounts and here is my experience to show that sexual predators are not preying after everybody. They typically prey on the weak-minded. I have a lot of men ask me to hook them up with friends of mine and they will genuinely ask for desperate females because desperate females are typically in need. They recognize me as someone who does not need them and therefore someone whom they cannot prey on because they do not phase me. Some of them even know that I keep my dog and my pistol by my side and that I am also not afraid to call the police if I need them.
When I was young, I started writing music on pen and paper, with a crayon, on construction paper when I was only five years old. I remember the lyrics to my first song still. “In a dream somehow, could it be all a dream? In a world full of sunshine, could it be all a dream?” These are very deep thoughts for a five-year-old to come up with in my opinion. There was never a Plan B for me. It was always music. I have worked very hard to achieve that goal and it has taken many years of dedication, many letdowns, and feelings of not being good enough all to achieve my desired goal of being a paid professional musician. Now that is a type of reflection to look back on because many people told me that it could never be done or that I was crazy, and now everyone congratulates me.
The reality of the situation is that there are dangerous people everywhere. There are perverts everywhere. I was a waitress for a long time, and I found that the people I waited tables on are far more perverted than the people I come across at the club where I dance at. This is interesting, however, people who come to see dancers are typically respectful of the career choice even if they are looking for a girl in desperation they still respect the woman more than a pervert who goes out to eat which I find strange or maybe it is the associated attitude and body language that one would expect a customer to have one coming into those different settings.
Many pedophiles and child rapists exist within close tight-knit families. I cannot tell you how many of my friends were molested by a close relative of theirs, including myself. Most predators outside of family ties go after girls who are helpless. When it happens within the family, often young children think it’s OK and even fall in love with the rapist.
I do not feel as though restrictions placed on minors are unjust. While my father would argue that a child is an adult at the age of 14 years old, I know that I was a teenager committing sexual acts in the park at that age and I should not have been doing so. All my friends were older, and I would often sneak out to hang out with them in these public places in the wee hours of the night and I promise you that nothing good was happening after midnight. It is a good thing that I never got caught or in trouble except for one time when I was 17 years old living in Murfreesboro, Tennessee by myself without my parents hanging out at a suspicious motel with adult men. My parents were called, and the police officer was speaking of bringing me to a juvenile detention center but I brought to his attention that there would be no adult that was going to come to pick me up because I was living in Tennessee all by lonesome and so he let me go and warned my mother, over the phone, that he would keep a close eye on me.
I understand that teens have a desire to experience sex, but I do not think that they need to be having sex because teen pregnancy is an issue and there is a lot of child neglect in that room. Young people who have children in their late teens and early 20s do not take as good of care of their children as people who have children in their 30s. By the age of 30, a person has had a whole second teen life span of time as an adult with opportunities to explore and is more experienced and equipped to better know how to care for a small human. There are many other things that are important for teens to worry about other than sex.
I believe that the idea of fear which is sold to the public is more of an issue than we care to talk about. People do not fear to live their lives before we are fed this idea and I do believe that there is a big market for making a profit from it. As well as keeping the people team in a place where we do not revolutionize, we do not rebel, we do not speak our minds, or stand up for ourselves out of fear of what may happen. This is absurd.
Interestingly, there has been a decline in child predation since the rise of social media. If anything, this proves that social media prevents you from being sexually exhorted in many ways. It is also interesting to me that many seeking predation looking for attention and validation and would stand up for their so-called abusers. The thing that makes it wrong is that youth are too young to know that they are making a decision that will affect their growth until they are older and are able to look back on the situation. Even though they are willingly putting themselves in the situation claiming that it is unfair for adults to hinder them from their own choices.
I recently visited Alaska which is still extremely rural. It was interesting to me that public buses, as well as TV commercials, publicize the fact that sex trafficking was very common in Alaska. I think that this is because there are many areas that are so rural you cannot even take a land vehicle to get to the destination. There are places in Alaska where you must fly in an airplane to get there, and those places are very under the radar and not many people go to them and so therefore it is easy to sexually traffic young women and hold them hostage. I had my service guard animal with me which prevented this activity from happening to me though it is still possible.
The place where I feel the most preyed upon by sexual predators is while driving. I have found that a lot of people masturbate themselves while on the road and they will specifically play with themselves in front of me or follow behind me watching in the side mirrors while they drive and masturbate themselves. They either don’t think that I do not notice, or they don’t care that I notice and act like sexual predators. This occurs to me so often that it almost seems like a form of human nature. Just today I had a scenario where I was driving on the highway and somebody was masturbating themselves and so I pulled up next to them and asked them to move with my body language and to stop following me to which they followed me even harder, and so I pretended like I was taking a photo of them to maybe try to get them to stop their behavior because it was making me very uncomfortable and it was affecting my driving. They responded by following me even more and pretending like they were taking photos of me while I was driving and so I slowed down to about 50 miles an hour on the interstate and they proceeded to slow down so that they could stay with me on the road which I just thought was very strange.