The Naktiv site has a gender imbalance, (approx. 85% male, 10% female, 5% other), which might reflect all sorts of societal issues to do with nudity, but also online interaction too. The questions are: is this actually a problem? and if so, what are we going to do about it?
Is gender imbalance on a social network even a problem?
I do see gender imbalance as an issue, because when I see all single-sex groups in society, I don’t see especially (socially) healthy environments. Think of single-sex schools, convents, church choirs and monasteries, groups of football hooligans, the army, closed university professorship promotion systems, the upper echelons of the police force, ballet schools, modeling agencies and porn movies, etc, and so forth.
There are exceptions, of course, and some countries/organizations are better/worse than others, etc. and we all know women are making giant strides in all sections of society, but not everywhere, yet. Furthermore, most of us would probably agree that where there is a healthy male/female ratio, these environments tend to be better balanced, with more varied opinions being heard and less misogonistic attitudes. Last but not least, people learn how to get on with the opposite sex without treating them as a only a sexual object.
Online, the issues are the same, and predictably, the results are the same. And, yes, it IS a bit of a problem that online forums and groups, as open social networks like the Naktiv site, are manifestly over-populated by visually excited males, who vastly outnumber their female counterparts. This perpetuates the urge to see pretty young female nudity at the expense of BALANCED and more representative postings of both male and female postings, of all body types, inclinations, and of (nearly) all ages.
I would expect any social network to attempt to represent the society from which it is comes, representing the basic gender (m/f) spread, varied sexual inclination groupings (hetero/homo/bi/etc.), and to be neither spiritually nor politically aligned, and to not pander to any personal agendas. If we want to educate people about how nudity is healthy, normal and fun, then we need to encourage both male and female, and to foster an interest in largely equal numbers, to actively participate in this naked revolution. So, YES, gender imbalance is a very real problem, and we do need to address it.
So what is going to be done about gender imbalance, and who will do it?
First of all it is critical that we ALL realize that to address this issue, WE need to address it. There is no point in waiting for them , to do it for us – whomsoever we might like them to be. Firstly, we need to increase the visibility of the network, and secondly we need to actively attract more people from the less represented contingents. Fortunately this is a fairly simple operation consisting of 2 separate components.
1. Use the handy Share facility to expose your blogs, feed items and posts, to other more mainstream networks, like Facebook and Twitter, Google+, etc. etc. This Share facility is available for every new post you make here.
2. Invite your friends and fellow group members from other groups, forums and networks, using the <a href=”/contactimporter”>Contact Importer</a> facility.
It’s not good enough to just sit back and complain that activity on this social network, or gender balance on that social network, or posting frequency or topics, are not precisely as we want it. All of these social networks, including the Naktiv site, are exactly what we make of them.