I already discussed briefly the #LOVEYOURLINE Instagram account, but I thought it would be suitable to follow the discussion of this online space for the third and final blog post. This time I’ll be more critical and analytical of the subject matter.
#LOVEYOURLINE is an Instagram growing community (+108K followers) that aims to inspire women all over the world who lives with stretch marks. The black and white photos can sometimes be very graphic, since there is a lot of nudity, but it is not aimed to be sexual but testimonial. The account displays ‘real’ women bodies sent from consented women to the page admin. Here I mean ‘real’ bodies compared to what we often see in the media: bodies that are digitally modified to enhance and sexualize women. This approach helps to bring awareness to women to make them realize that they are not the only ones who lives with skin covered in stretch marks.
As previously seen in class, Instagram tends to have double-standards when it comes to women bodies because censorship promote, as they say, a “comfortable experience”. Systems such as the Instagram community guidelines have been in place because every types of bodies can have access to the World Wide Web. For this reason, ‘non-normative’ bodies disrupt online spaces and thus, are being censored. By doing this, I believe Instagram promotes stigma around important issues of women self-image. Since Instagram allows certain bodies to have more attention, how does that shape our perception of bodies in online spaces? This is what I will investigate in this blog post. But certainly, Instagram must consider how we conceptualize bodies and interrogate the ideas of natural/beauty/etc. before censoring any kind of excluded bodies.
#LOVEYOURLINE is an interesting case because, clearly, Instagram is an online space exclusionary to certain bodies. However, this page promotes the idea that every kind of bodies are accepted: black, white, teenagers, mothers, etc. This shapes our perception that, when Instagram is confronted to a supportive global community account, even if it displays non-conventional body types, it is okay to be shared. Why? We can refer here to Lefebvre’s Differential Space: ”(…) a new space (differential space) cannot be born (produced) unless it accentuates differences” (293). Here, #LOVEYOURLINE function as an online differential space that generate new diverse relations that foreground and emphasizes shared differences, and more specifically, from the experiences of women.
#LOVEYOURLINE is also a special place that exists online because the testimonials are the ways in which the images are described for viewers. Therefore, from a phenomenological point of view: ”(…) the body no longer conceived as an object of the world, but as our means of communications with it, to the world no longer conceived as a collection of determinate objects, but as the horizon latent in all our experience (…)” (54). From their lived experience, #LOVEYOURLINE enable women who share the same struggles to connect together and build a community. This way, the viewers participation on the online space has an impact on their day-to-day lives and their own perception of their bodies, because they know they are not alone.
1. How can women feel empowered and strong when images of them are taken down from popular social sites such as Instagram? Is there an alternative to the censorship?
2. As a social community, what can be done to support oppressed/censored individuals?
By Ana Patricia Bourgeois
Lefebrve, Henri. ”The Production of Space” in Gieseking, Jen J. and William Mangold, (Eds.), The People, Place and Space Reader. (289-293). London: Routledge.
Merleau-Ponty. (2009). The Experience of the Body and Classical Psychology. In Mariam Fraser and Monica Greco (Eds.), The Body: A Reader (52-54). London: Routledge.