Recently it has come to light that Anthony Weiner has yet again been caught sexing, for the third time now. This time is different, however. The person at the other end of the line is a 15 year old girl. This could potentially earn Weiner some time in the big house if NY prosecutors determine the messages were sexual enough to actually break the law. But we all know he did and we all know he will be facing charges. But what is he really guilty of?
In today's world of Snapchat, Periscope, and other online services that allow young, attention seeking girls, to self-produce their own content to be consumed by an audience thirsty for something new to look at that doesn't cost any money. We have a whole demographic of girls who are essentially willing to work for peanuts. Only in this case, they are being paid with attention. What these girls do not realize or perhaps they do not care about, is that their audiences, which can quickly grow into the thousands, are full of men that would frighten them if only the could see them or know their age. These girls dress in a very revealing manner and sometimes even engage in exposing private parts of their body just to get more viewers for their broadcast and to get more "followers." Once their broadcasts are complete, however, they are quick to delete the broadcast footage from the service in order to avoid the footage being used against them for shaming purposes in the future.
Anthony Weiner was pursued by an under-aged girl who claimed to be "obsessed" with him and now in retrospect the girl claims she just wanted to write a book about him. While this is a noble aspiration and certainly adds to her narrative as a victim of Weiner's double life as a sex addict, there are some interesting nuances that should not escape us as we analyze this story and quickly drag Weiner into the public square.
First off, the girl had carried on an inappropriate relationship with Weiner for months but suddenly had an attack of guilt and decided their relationship needed to be made public. The interesting part about this is the timing, only a couple weeks after it was discovered that Weiner had been exposing himself to victim #2. This suggests he was sexting both victim #2 and this under-aged girl at the same time. Which I'm sure when the news story about victim #2 broke, it was probably the first time the under-aged girl had heard about their being another girl. I think you can see where this is going and that's because we all know how much everyone loves cheaters. Was this public outing a cry for help or an act of revenge?
Weiner exercised incredibly poor judgment but does he have a mental disorder? Well if he does then we have a pretty sick world on our hands. In fact, web sites have started to pop up that make finding girls of all ages easier to find when the broadcasts are becoming sexual. Sites like YouNow and Periscope are exploding with new users because of this "work for attention" mentality that is plaguing the online community. They take very ineffective measures to curb these behaviors. They only care about masking the problem to avoid breaking any laws or evade legal liability.
Let's be very clear, girls who are under-aged, should not be allowed to broadcast video on the internet. The fact that these services allow under-aged girls to broadcast, knowing these girls will behave inappropriately to gain popularity, is disgusting. They are using gaming mechanics and other emotional exploits against these young girls to temp them into inappropriate behavior and drive site traffic. It's gross. Any measures they do take are reactive and any warnings or account deletions happen after the behavior has already taken place and displayed to a completely open internet audience.
Is it the other way around? Should older men not be allowed to watch broadcasts of those who are under-aged? The current strategy of these broadcast sites is to allow everyone to watch any broadcast, even users who haven't event registered for an account.
So clearly nobody cares. Clearly we want act like Weiner's behavior is not on the same continuum as the epidemic of under-aged girls behaving inappropriately on the internet. It would be so easy to prevent, with just an age verification step including a photo ID. But no, that would destroy the user-base of these sites and therefore cannot be. So clearly we need to make an example of Weiner and go about our professional and perverted life duality that we seem to cherish so much.
Let's acknowledge the problem and do something about it. Scaring men into "not looking" at under-aged girls broadcasting on their own volition by making a pariah of Weiner does not solve the problem in its entirety and will only cause the problem to go deeper into secrecy.