• Wed, Sep 28 2011

14-Year-Old Girl Unwillingly Becomes Internet Sex Symbol

If you haven’t had a sit down talk with your teens and pre-teens and tweens about Facebook privacy settings, here’s all the more reason to. Angie Varona, now 17 years old, was just 14 when she took some sexy shots for her then boyfriend. Now before you say to yourself “I know how this is going to end up,” it’s worth pointing out the photos she snapped were pretty tame by internet standards: no nudity. We’re talking cleavage and some bikini snaps.

Although sexual in nature, the photos could be akin to anything girls would carelessly take of one another at sleepovers or perform on dares. No raunch.

According to Gawker, the photos were dropped into a Photobucket account which was then hacked. The photos went everywhere after that, popping up on sites like Reddit with the teenager’s real name attached. Angie and her father informed the FBI but because the teenager wasn’t nude in any of the shots, they didn’t technically count as child pornography. Gawker reports that at present, there are 356,000 Google results for “Angie Varona.” That are even quite a few Facebook fan pages dedicated to her with new pictures pulled directly from her Facebook account.

Varona told The Status, “They’re getting them through my Facebooks. I can’t even have my real name. I’ve had like six Facebooks now.”

The emotional damage to the teenager has been immense as she says that she’s now home schooled and has thoughts of suicide. She continually sees comments from her “fans” saying that they would rape her if they got the opportunity and asking when her porn career will take off.

Angie uses the word “embarrassing” to describe what’s happened to her. I’m going to go a step further and add mortifying, psychologically damaging, and extremely dangerous to her mental health. Obviously the power of the internet is presenting many new ways in which our kids can be harassed and bullied, as 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer ended his life after endless cyberbullying from his peers.

In addition to making our queer kids feel worthless, the web is now making sex symbols out of ninth graders.

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  • Abigail

    I would venture to say that this is the fault of millions of parents who are terrified to talk to their child honestly about sex, nudity, and their bodies. We are raising a generation of stupid teenagers who think that standing up will keep them from getting pregnant, that sending nude pictures of themselves to their boyfriends is appropriate relationship behavior, and that pregnancy is glamorous. If there is one thing that I aspire to do as a parent, it is to be open and honest with my children about sex and about the consequences of their behavior. They need to know they have options, that they have rights, and they need to learn to respect their bodies.

  • xobolaji

    but what does “no raunch” have to do with anything? the point is that the pictures ARE sexy. let’s address that before we do anything else. this is a case of a girl exploiting her own sexuality and deeply, deeply regretting it—which she has every right to do— because it got way out of hand.

    i wish this could be undone. i think it’s unspeakable that it can’t, and won’t ever go away. however, we need to address the issue of personal responsibility. the internet does not create situations, the internet exploits situations given the opportunity. people approach the internet in hopes that the internet will richly reward them. some are more successful at this than others. the culture of the communities embedded in the interwebs are the situations in which a “successful” brand is created and nurtured. which means that at the end of the day, it’s not the young girl people are after, but the image of the girl and what she represents. ironically, like most actors in a script, her “usefulness” is for viewer satisfaction only. the fact that she is “real” is immaterial to the audience of voyeurs who have claimed her as theirs. the fact that her image and her account was hacked gives credence and power to her image and its cultural currency. her name therefore takes on more importance and significance because she is now regrettably in/famous.

    our current culture is youth obsessed, and sex-obsessed. and obsessed with youths having sex. it’s inescapable. and creepy. very, very creepy. so instead of pretending that we should be shocked and outraged that such a thing could happen, let’s address the fact that it does happen and it is happening. let’s continue to keep in mind that while this young woman happens to be feeling victimized by this unwarranted celebrity, that perhaps there is yet another young woman out there doing the very same thing but conversely her intention is to “cash-in” on this “opportunity.”

    what i’m saying is that we have to be very careful about making these stories “representative” of a deeper societal ill, and placing our value judgments on wished outcomes, when it could very well be the opposite.

  • MG

    Awww she’s cute and there’s nothing wrong with the pictures. People are just stupid!

  • Cassie

    She can do something about it if she is willing. She took the photos of herself so technically she created them and therefore she has copyright. Send all the sites a DMCA Copyright Infringement notice and get it taken down. She doesn’t need to hide or wish for death, she needs to empower herself and fight back. The internet will exploit innocent underage girls and protect the aggressors and I, too, went through the same thing. Fight back Angie!

  • Giuseppe Verde

    Maybe if her parents hadn’t bought her breast implants, and all the familial psychology that goes along with that, she wouldn’t be in this situation, either.

    xobolaji makes some very cogent remarks, as well.

  • Eileen

    Isn’t Verdi spelled with an “I”?

    Cassie, I’m not sure if she does own the copyright. I’ve never looked closely, but it wouldn’t surprise me if photo sharing websites require you to cede the copyright on pictures uploaded to them.

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  • anony mouse

    what a slut

    • ccc

      I can’t believe this site allows comments like this?!

    • Lindsay Cross

      ccc, We’ve actually been debating about these types of comments ourselves. Especially considering the conversations that surround another famously exploited minor, Courtney Stodden.

      Personally, it’s really upsetting to see people speak like this about a young girl whose trying to speak out about a serious issue. (It’s actually upsetting to see anyone described by this term…)

      Technically, “slut” isn’t a swear word. Normally we only censor comments if they curse. But I agree that seeing both of these comments was both startling and disheartening for me.

  • Anon

    What a slut…she did it to herself.

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  • Kim

    If they are pulling photos from her SIX Facebook accounts, she hasn’t learned a thing and is likely continuing to “leak” the photos because she secretly likes all the attention–which is what she set out to get in the first place. Since the user controls the privacy settings on Facebook, she’s bringing it on herself and perpetuating this by making the “new” photos available to the public to “pull” from her Facebook. I do not feel sorry for this girl.

  • Massive Marbles

    The images themselves are of a normal teen age girl who obviously thinks that she is nice looking. As for the x-rated comments, any adult who looks at a teenager and thinks about sex is a pedophile.

    • yfukyfuk

      normal? when be slutty become normal?
      and pedophile is an adult who MAKE sex with a teen. otherwise, every fucking momheartbieber is a pedophile ok?