Lindsay Bottos is a 21-year-old art student and active Tumblr user, the latter of which guarantees a steady stream of anonymous comments filled with sexist, abusive messages. Why do people hate Bottos’ tumblr presence so much? It seems that people take issue with Bottos’ selfie-heavy Tumblr, and feel the need to tell her regularly. Now, Bottos has turned the comments into a feminist art project, and posted the results to (where else?) her Tumblr.
The project, called “Anonymous,” take screen shots of anonymous comments posted over selfies. It’s a work in progress, but already a pretty powerful look at the hateful things that commenters feel emboldened to say without their names attached. She described the project as:
some new stuff I’m working on, I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.
Selfies seem to be the new area of prescriptive feminism, with claims that selfies are inherently anti-feminist or narcissistic. The reality is that seflies are basically whatever you want them to be, including a tool to improve mental health. I actually think that selfies are radically feminist, because they’re universal. Anyone can take a selfie and all selfies have the same value, and being in control of how our own bodies are portrayed without shame seems like a pretty strong statement of agency to me. I’m not surprised that selfies garner so much criticism/hate, because I suppose it’s pretty threatening for a woman to feel so very much in control of her own body.
Bottos’ project is an excellent insight into gendered insults, which normally consist of comments about appearance, sex life, of inflated sense of worth (we get them all the time at our Internet jobs). Bottos’ commenters seem to wonder how she ever found the balls to take selfies. How dare she find herself worthy? I’m glad she did.
Photos: Tumblr // [h/t Buzzfeed]