The bikini debate

Alexandria Buchanan, editor

As the holiday season approaches, many people expect the cold and cozy weather winter brings. However, the islands can expect perfect beach weather and social media photo ops Hawaii is known for.

Social media has become a big part of our lives. In 2017, 81 percent of Americans owned a social media profile of some kind, giving people ample opportunities to post and share to the world.

Some posts teenagers make are controversial, especially for girls who are always scrutinized from what they are wearing to how they look. Even in school, teachers talk about what teenagers post and always seem to mention how those bikini pictures girls take are “unprofessional.”

A beach photo should not immediately determine the amount of respect you deserve. If a social media post causes these professionals to make snarky remarks to shame teenagers, it seems ironically more unprofessional than actually posting the picture.

As residents of Hawaii, many people frequent the beaches in this paradise, so it should not be considered shameful to be posting about it. It may seem small to post a picture, but for some, this simple action can be very impactful. These images can help with self-confidence and teach girls to accept how they look.

I understand that posting photos that show more skin, especially for girls, could be improper. For example, a shot in lingerie posted by a teen would definitely be inappropriate. While both may be showing the same amount of skin, the context between a bathing suit picture compared to an undergarment photo is very different. One shows a good time at the beach while the other implies raunchier behavior.

People bash teens who post bikini pictures for thinking they are “bikini models,” when a more positive and useful comment would be teaching the consequences that a suggestive pose offers, or what others may be paying attention to when we post these images. Most of us already know our intentions may be innocent, but others may not take it that way.

Many people worry about comments that others may leave on these types of posts, which may be raunchy or negative. However, comments are usually left from friends who are being supportive and hype each other up. Rarely do strangers comment anything lewd. Comment sections are generally full of positivity and far from the stories of intense cyberbullying.

The age difference between these two generations most likely adds to this conflict. We are unable to see eye to eye because we grew up in different times, with completely different standards of what is “normal” and “acceptable.” The platform that social media brings is newer, and it can be scary that everything you post is permanent. However, our generation has grown up with this modern way to communicate with people and are aware of the consequences it may bring after frequent assemblies and announcements talking about the dangers of the internet.

Social media provides us with a platform that can be dangerous if used incorrectly, and adults are concerned about teenagers being too immature about what they post. In order to make a positive change, we need to stop acting like these young women don’t deserve respect because of a post at the beach. Teach them what could be taken out of context, but do not make it your goal to humiliate them in order to stop this “unprofessional behavior.”