Camgirlsproject was created by former fashion student Vanessa Omoregie who began the ongoing series about a year ago. The project seeks to investigate the female image within the context of the internet by presenting images of classic paintings that feature webcam selfies in the place of the painted nude female form. All images are user-submitted and present the viewer with a reappropriation or reclamation of female nudity as something to be celebrated and not shamed for.
The term – camgirl – originally applied to anyone who recorded themselves via webcam doing anything, not just sexual acts, but has been more currently associated most strongly with sexual behavior. Omoregie says, ”The name has connotations of its own.The project hopefully makes people rethink what they know about the term and how they view girls who choose to be in front of a camera -sexual or not.”
Something you may notice about the submissions is that these modern-day nudes overwhelmingly represent lean, white, hairless bodies, almost a complete reflection of the bodies in the classic paintings. As a black woman, Omoregie is disappointed that more women of color and varying body types have not submitted to the project, although she has herself participated and tries to encourage more women to submit. Her hope was that women who are not typically represented by the media would feel more comfortable presenting their bodies in this sort of space, but so far, submissions of more variance have been few and far between.
While not currently taking submissions, Omoregie will be inviting followers to contribute to future projects of hers through this project’s site. She has also suggested that people follow her personal blog in order to keep up with forthcoming projects. (via telegraph and animal)
Lindsay Bottos, a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, has created “Anonymous,” a series of webcam selfies overlain with anonymous messages she’s received via her Tumblr page. The messages Bottos uses criticize her appearance, body-shaming and slut-shaming the selfies she’s posted to her Tumblr page. “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.”
The timing of Bottos’ project coincides with a recent article published by Pacific Standard that makes the case for online harassment, especially of women, as the next issue facing women’s civil rights. Even through a medium like the internet, a platform perceived as a level playing field of expression, women receive a disproportionate amount of threats and abuse related to their gender and appearance. Bottos asserts, “The act of women taking selfies is inherently feminist, especially in a society that tries so hard to tell women that our bodies are projects to be worked on and a society that profits off of the insecurities that it perpetuates. Selfies are like a ‘fuck you’ to all of that, they declare that ‘hey I look awesome today and I want to share that with everyone’ and that’s pretty revolutionary.”
Bottos’ other projects also heavily feature text, written or embroidered, onto various surfaces. For “Get Over It,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about her sexual assault onto a tear- and mascara-stained pillowcase; for “The Morning After,” she wrote thoughts in permanent marker in places touched by a hook-up; and for “I Don’t Really Miss You,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about a relationship onto images, clothing, and mementos. Whichever medium she uses, Bottos conveys her vulnerability though language and form, rendering an honest and engaging perspective. (via buzzfeed)