"Whenever you put your body online, in some way you are in conversation with porn," writes Ann Hirsch.
Some women live from the neck up because they consider their bodies too horrifying to claim as their own. Conversely, some live only from the neck down because they have been told their faces and their minds do not deserve love.
We see this fear and fascination between the face and the body play out in the ubiquity of careful cropped profile pics and high-angle selfies. This is the anxiety of appearing online.
Self-portraiture is the emotional labor of young women who—through the mirrored feedback of webcam and video previews—observe themselves both as digital subject and object. They learn the accurate angles and gestures of sexy-but-not-"slutty,", bold-but-not-"bitchy" poses. At best, phone cameras and webcams provide a means to reinvent an embodied and full-bodied representation of ourselves. Yet the responses the resulting images invoke—such as online catcalls, insults and sermons—fuel an ongoing need to self-police the performance of feminine representation.
Video may be the medium of narcissism, but a narcissist does not a performer make. I hate my body and I am ok with that. I never see myself objectively. It is through a camera I see myself become not-me, or the me I cannot be.
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