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to a man of color being president and a woman being prime minister.”The anxious intersection of race and gender likewise haunts Apryl Williams and Betty Aldana Marquez’s contribution to this issue. In “The Lonely Selfie King: Selfies and the Conspicuous Prosumption of Gender and Race,” the authors share the results ofconversations with viewers of male and female selfies in New York and Texas. They find that Black and Latino women were relatively comfortable with men of any race taking selfies of any stripe. But “for White women, the ‘man selfie’ must adhere to very strict expectations.” These include the demand that a man’s performance of masculinity seem entirely effortless, natural, and unstaged, lest he come across as less-than-truly-male (or, we might add, less-than-truly-White). According to Stuart Hall (1978), media panics almost always act as smoke screens deflecting conversations that would be more dangerous to those in authority. Katrin Tiidenberg implies the sorts of conversations these might be in her article, “Odes to Heteronormativity—Presentations of Femininity in Russian-Speaking Pregnant Women’s Instagram Accounts.” While analyzing representations of pregnancy among Russian speakers on Instagram, Tiidenberg found it difficult to locate examples that didn’t emphasize the major normative notions of what a “proper” Russian woman needs to be today: “the idealized female appearance, the celebration of the heterosexual nuclear family, and a staging of opposite-
International Journal of Communication 9(2015) Introduction—What Does the Selfie Say? 1593 sex relationships that bespeaks traditional romantic values.” A frustrated Tiidenberg ends by asking, “[How] could one Instagram one’s pregnancy in a less normative tone?”Even in purportedly less sexually repressive political regimes than Russia’s, panic over nonnormative selfies abound, argue Sonja Boon and Beth Pentney. In “Virtual Lactivism: Breast-feeding Selfies and the Performance of Motherhood,” the authors point out that even the most conventional breast-feeding selfies occupy a liminal space, making visible the “often taken-for-granted sexualization of the breast.” Boon and Pentney arguethat, given such a restrictive view of the breast-feeding body, alternative breast-feeding selfies (e.g., those that feature toddlers, tandem breast-feeding, transgendered breast-feeding, supplemental breast-feeding devices, etc.) “implicitly push at the boundaries of maternal roles” and are thus doubly troubling.Whereas popular pundits and comedians seem to have plenty to say about selfie culture, academics in the fields of media and cultural studies have been slower to weigh in. Certainly, there is excellent work to be found on the social aspects of mobile photography (Gye, 2007; Hjorth, 2007; Kindberg, Spasojevic, Fleck, & Sellen, 2005; Lee, 2005; May & Hearn, 2005; Steenson, 2006; van House & Davis, 2005), documentation of the self through digital photography (Ardévol & Gómez-Cruz, 2012; Durrant, Frohlich, Sellen, & Uzzell, 2011; Lasén & Gómez-Cruz, 2009; Schwarz, 2010; Rettberg, 2014;