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The line for this particular train is crowding the platform, thousands of females waiting to board with ticket and camera in hand. You know what I’m referring to, yes? The Great Thirst Trap Train. You’ve seen them: the self-shot camera pics of females everywhere from as young as 14 to only God knows how old seated not-so-comfortably on the edge of the bathroom sink, a trick used to make their rear end look even a fraction of a cheek larger. Or how about the back shot photos taken in elongated mirrors, their bodies contorted to get the exact angle at which their hips, booty and legs look most poppin’?

Throw in an outfit made of nothing but bra and panties (or now more frequently, no clothes at all) and photo captions/song lyrics like, “Body like heaven,” and you’ve got the perfect example of a tried and true thirst trap. A thirst trap is a photograph, status, tweet or the like that aims to entice men and result in compliments galore.  I’ve found that it’s a sexually-motivated social networking tactic that attention-starved young ladies use to boost their self-esteem. Then, once men begin to respond sexually to your photos, they are deemed the “thirsty” ones, “pressed” or overly eager.

Let’s take a step further into this craziness, shall we? I’ve seen girls post statuses (under the guise of “Facebook After Dark”… REALLY?) about how they “like to ride it backwards.” Then, they follow the subsequent drive-by of likes and downright illicit sexual questions posed by horny young men with LOLs, <3s and smiley faces. But if the same young men begin to blow up their inbox, they are now considered “thirsty” and need to chill. And while some men take disrespect to a whole other level – which is NOT okay any way you slice it – this whole phenomenon still blows my ever-loving mind sometimes. Where do we draw a line for ourselves as women? Especially since I’ve seen all sorts of casually sexual behavior stem from these kinds of interactions.

With the growing number of x-rated photos (and videos) girls as young as 14 and 15 are tweeting, posting on Facebook and Instagraming – I’m wondering where (if anyplace) we’ll start setting boundaries for ourselves? Are we going to keep pushing the envelope for the thrill of seeing that little red Facebook notification seconds after we post a bra-busting photo?

I’ve gone weeks with less than five Facebook notifications, informing me that some guy has ‘liked’ my photo. When I was but a wee college freshman  it used to bug me because I saw all the “sexier” girls getting so much attention. My self-esteem was outwardly validated then, so I would wear a shorter skirt and arch my back like an alley cat. That got old really quickly when I realized the kind of attention I was drawing. And not all attention is good attention. Forget what you’ve heard. Learning how to be comfortable in my own skin (and a full set of clothing) gave me confidence, so no matter how many Instagram/Facebook likes I may or may not get, baby I’m good. And honestly, a confident woman in a jumpsuit in her wall photo can be more attractive than a broken woman in a brassiere any day of the week.

There is room to love your body without advertising your goodies. And when you really think about it, why would you want to give away full view of your “assets” to a bunch of men who’ve done nothing to deserve even a peek, let alone the full Maxim spread (and I do mean “spread”) that so many females plaster across the Internet?

Your worth isn’t wrapped up in social networking notifications. It’s in how you view, carry and love yourself. We each set the tone for how we are ultimately viewed and treated both on and offline. So let’s button one more button and think twice about our destination before paying our fare to board The Great Thirst Trap Train.

La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change through her writing. Check out her thoughts/jokes/rants on Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.   

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