Slate has an interesting post about an Argentina-born artist, Amalia Ulman, who used her Instagram account to create a narrative arc featuring three phases: dewy ingénue, boob job and a breakdown, and an aficionado of meditation and avocados. It is troubling that she refers to phase 2 the American “ghetto aesthetic.”
I love Cindy Sherman so I am really excited by constructions of feminity and this type of project, but I think this sort of reductionist feminity says more about perceptions of American womanhood (dyed blonde, busty, and borrowing from black culture to lend a gritty veneer) than it does about general construction of womanhood. The artist calls it specifically “middlebrow” feminity.
Slate sums the project up as:
Fresh-faced twentysomething moves to Los Angeles hoping to break into the modeling world; loses herself in the hedonistic dazzle; develops body dysmorphia and a drug habit; breaks up with her boyfriend and takes a job as an escort; hits rock bottom and goes to rehab; and eventually moves back home to rebuild with the help of her family and her renewed appreciation for life.
Why is this Lifetime Movie Network narrative so appealing to people?
Fader has a really good exploration of Instagram in the context of this project:
At the end of the day, there’s nothing all that out of the ordinary about @amaliaulman; in a space where everybody is projecting some sort of fantasy image, her own fantasy projection seems entirely within the realm of possibility.