As we conclude the conversation, John’s mobile pings again: it’s another set of naked selfies.“This week’s been a real bonus.” That same day I meet Lexi*, 18, for her take on the nude photos spreading virtually.But why would the girls take the photos in the first place and send them to their boyfriends?“Oh, you know how it is – when you’re going out with someone you think you can trust them and that you’re going to be together forever sort of thing.” There are girls, she says, who send nude selfies to boys they fancy in order “to get them to fancy them”.Last week, several naked selfies of young Maltese women were circulated on the internet without their consent. She used to go to school with a friend of mine,” says John, 23.Kristina Chetcuti delves into the virtual world and talks to people who live and breathe the nude pictures culture. He swipes and shows me what he has just received in his What’s App inbox. The photo was sent to him by another friend of a friend who posted it on a ‘thread’ – like an online room for his group of friends – on an instant messaging application.“It’s like a trading card game for them.” She says, that since last week, when photos were uploaded on a blog dedicated to Maltese girls, they’ve talked of nothing else.The photos have since been removed from the website which was closed down shortly after it was reported in the mainstream media.
On Facebook, the photos they post are milder, but still heavily suggestive: cleavage and legs are always on show, but – perhaps an indicator of their naiveté – their photos are interspersed with photos of their families.
“It’s like to be a good girlfriend you need to send your boyfriend a photo of you in the nude,” she says.
“It’s all about guilt tripping.” *names have been changed.
It is a photo of a girl of Barbie-like proportions: long shiny locks, slim, well-formed buttocks, large breasts. John is a graduate, with a professional job, and, like all his peers, nude selfies are part of the ‘boy’ culture.
She is naked, leaning against the bathroom sink, one hand faux-covering her bosom and with the other she’s holding her i Phone to take the selfie. “Nude photos of girls always used to be shared but in the past two years, with apps like Snapchat and Instagram, there has been a boom – it’s become very easy to share photos widely,” he says.