Kim Kardashian does it. So does Britney Spears. Emily Ratajkowski can’t stop doing it. These narci-lebrities can’t stop flaunting their flesh on Instagram.
And while the scantily clad pics garner millions of followers and likes for the stars, which helps pad their bank accounts, some experts say they are negatively impacting a generation of social media savvy young women.
Dr. Montana Miller, Associate Professor of the Department of Popular Culture at Bowling Green State University, has researched and observed high school students for the last 20 years. She told FOX411 that social media has drastically changed how young women view their role in society since seflie culture has become a predominant part of their generation.
“It seems fairly obvious that the style of self-presentation is directly imitating that of celebrities such as the Kardashians—flaunting bodies and expressions in the most sexually provocative way possible,” Miller said. “It is extremely troubling that these girls find it more important to attract attention in this way, entirely fashioned for the pleasure of the male gaze, rather than expressing their true personalities, passions or achievements.”
Kardashian and Ratajkowski have both said those that question them for their exhibitionism are anti-feminist and accused their critics of slut-shaming. Two weeks ago, the pair posed topless giving the middle finger where Ratajkowski captioned the pic, “We are more than just our bodies, but that doesn’t mean we have to be shamed for them or our sexuality.”
Not everyone is buying it.
“Female empowerment is a clever label for them to hide behind. It’s good marketing, but bad morality,” said Katie Yoder, the Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow for Culture at the Media Research Center. “If the media and celebrities want to empower young women, they must push past their sex-symbol tactics for attention. We’re more than that. We have an intrinsic worth that that goes deeper than skin. We have personality, hearts, souls and the ability to be whoever we want to be. And we are all that without having to get naked.”
But clinical psychologist Seth Meyers, the and author of “Overcome Relationship Repetition and Find the Love You Deserve,” has a different take on celebs stripping down, and says it comes down to highlighting what the famous women are known for.
“When someone like Kardashian gets worldwide attention, it is only for her body as she is not known for having a skill-based career. The key is for parents of girls to point out what famous women are valued for,” Meyers said. “With someone like Kardashian, you can tell your child, "She is famous because she shows her body naked to the world, but there are good ways to get attention and you don't have to sell your body to get it.”
A look at Ratajkowski’s Instagram page shows 12 sexually suggestive pics in the last seven weeks. Kardashian posted her completed naked selfie that got over 1 million likes six weeks ago, and continues to post half-naked pics regularly. Spears is the tamest of the group, posting mostly workout and bathing suit pics.
Miller said that the self-obsession is problematic in itself but “even worse” is “the excessive, addictive nature of the endless quest to document each new location or activity with the sexiest selfie possible is consuming the energy and time of this generation of young women, depleting their lives of the richness and experience that could develop a true ‘self,’ rather than a shallow, image-based self-absorption.”