In early feminist theory, objectification was attacked as harmful and immoral because of its dehumanising effects. Today, some contemporary feminists keep questioning the objectification of women. Sexualizasion of women is also being questioned and for them celebratory accounts of being looked at or sexualised are instances of internalized misogyny or caused by consumerist ideology.
In her article Feminism rules! Now, where’s my swimsuit? Mendes speaks about modern feminism and compares to second wave feminsts. The second wave feminists stressed collective action and third-party intervention while postfeminsim is influenced by neoliberal ideology that promotes individual freedom, choice and personal responsibility.
A part of neoliberalism and postfeminism is sex-positive feminism which is a feminist movement centering the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component of women’s freedom. In her article SEXISM RELOADED, OR, IT’S TIME TO GET ANGRY AGAIN! Rosalind Gill wonders if the notion of objectification is still relevant, when women are not being presented as passive sex objects, but more as active, desiring, playful heterosexy subjects.The article emphasizes how understanding the psychosocial dimension of power and ideology is becoming more important as time goes by, for example because of social media and other features of Web 2.0. In particular, she mentions the proliferation of representations that are self-produced and could be considered “freely chosen”. The distinctions between producers and consumers are blurred and the contrasts between subject and object are decreasing.
As a continuation of exploring topics about gendered bodies in virtual spaces with the use of my avatar, I signed my second self up for OnlyFans.
OnlyFans is a social media platform created in 2016 where people can sell their content through a monthly membership. Unlike many other social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, you are permitted to post nudes and erotic content. The platform has now become known for such content and is associated with sex work.
The aim with the avatar’s presence on the platform is to question and explore attitudes towards sex work, bodily autonomy and sexual liberation on the Web.
The project celebrates the empowerment that can be felt, by taking control over one's sexuality, autonomy and financial situation, but does however not ignore the problematic aspects of sex work in general. To look at sex work we both must take in consideration the power structures within our societies and the personal history of each individual. It is important to stop shaming sex workers and patronizing them, but instead focus on the reasons why sex work exists. Could avatar porn be a solution to the demand of sexual content without harming actual people or would that just be another way in which men can profit of women’s bodies? Is avatar porn clearly a fantasy, or would that increase the dehumanization and objectification of female bodies?