Don't Know, Don't Care
DKDC (abbreviation for ‘Don’t Know, Don’t Care’) is a series of images investigating the objectification and sexualization of the female body on social media. It's a series of images about my own (internet) generation of young girls and women who are portrayed and portray themselves as objects of sexual desire from the ‘male gaze’ in order to gain acknowledgement — ‘likes’ and ‘followers’. DKDC is a series of images about the increasing paradox in today's Western societies: women are expected to be simultaneously lolita-look-alike and sexually mature.
DKDC is an umbrella term for the different series of images approaching objectification and sexualization of the female body on social medias in various ways. What they have in common, however, is the choice of pastel — especially pastel pink — colors, cute underwear with sexual allusions, and my own naked body.
In "DKDC: what are we going to do with all of this future?" I focus on the Insta-generation of women who stage themselves with their smartphones and follow the number of likes constantly. They feel inadequate if their next picture does not perform as well as their previous one. They take off their panties and bras and pose in order to gain more likes and more followers.
In "DKDC: Yes Daddy?" I explore sugar dating websites, using an alias. As part of the series of images I show real chats with men at the forums. I also play with the word SUGAR by taking pictures of melted sugar on my naked body and in flowers.
As mentioned, I use my own body in DKDC. I do this as a third/fourth wave feminist. Third wave feminism is largely synonymous with the post-structuralist queer theory of the 1990s that attaches vital importance to the idea of gender as social construction. Here, feminism focuses on identity, sexuality, and gendered expressions. Fourth wave feminism originates directly from, or is a continuation of, third wave feminism. What sets it apart is first and foremost the connection to modern information technology. Fourth wave is led by a generation of digitally native women using their own bodies as a medium for artistic expression, focusing on online culture and social media. This approach to feminism means that I don’t try to ‘preach’ with my series of images. I don’t say that women should not portray themselves as they wish on social media, I only question the way in which women are portrayed and portray themselves on social media. I thus challenge ‘traditional’ second wave feminism and gender norms. You may talk about a new kind of feminist resistance.
Marie Wengler is a contemporary artist, the editor of Toxique Magazine, and creator of smoove.me.