[-empyre-] Post-internet art (selfies, feminism, and the female gaze)

Claudia Pederson ccp9 at cornell.edu
Sat Oct 1 03:32:23 AEST 2016

Interesting Simon. I do have the same experience with a number of graduate
women students working in relationship to this topic. They insist that
their work relates to the notion of the female gaze as they tend to
contrast their work with 1980s feminist photographers for whom the male
gaze was the issue. The notion of agency comes up often as many of these
women students are very interested in thinking about the power dynamics of
selfies in relation to themselves and other women. The audience they
envision is not male but female. One student in particular is a queer white
woman and she is struggling with how her work relates to queer women of
color working in a similar vein. I should add that as Murray notes, the
selfie photography culture (largely women) is not only about posting images
on instagram but it is a community of sorts where friendships, discussions,
and exchanges of work and about the work take place.

Two questions that come up is the public nature of the work as well as the
financial aspect of using such platforms, and the responses I get to both
are ambivalent. These students are very aware of these dynamics yet they
are also interested in exploring them as part of the work itself. I noticed
that the objections to such projects from men and women students and some
faculty are about concerns that are not so much caught up with narcissism
(though some mention this) but with deciding whether they represent a
straight-forward imitation of the social-media celebrity culture that you
mention. I think I rather have them take over social media alongside the
Kardashians and I also think that such objections are perhaps caught up
with the broader discomfort about women showing off their bodies and
speaking up.
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