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Selfie-feminism, the Sad Girl Theory and the Sad Girls of Instagram

21st century

Selfie-feminism, the Sad Girl Theory and the Sad Girls of Instagram

A new wave of female artists started to appear on Instagram. They come from various backgrounds, were born in different decades, their styles are wildly different, but they share a similar characteristic. They’re women, they’re proud of it and want to show the world many aspects of being one. Working independently they created what you could call ‘selfie-feminism’.

The Sad Girl Theory

The so-called ‘selfie-feminism’ can be derived from the ‘Sad Girl Theory’,  a term coined by Audrey Wollen in 2015, revolving around the power of sadness as an act of resistance and social activism. According to the theory, female sadness should no longer be perceived as a weakness and crying isn’t something anyone should be ashamed of. They all should constitute ways of resisting patriarchal society and showing discontent towards current social standards.

Audrey Wollen selfie-feminism

Audrey Wollen, source: Instagram @audreywollen

Audrey Wollen selfie-feminism

Audrey Wollen, source: Instagram @audreywollen

Selfie-feminism

Selfie-feminists believe that by rejecting current norms, shyness, shame and exposing themselves, particularly via social media, such as Instagram, they can emancipate from the patriarchal culture and existing stereotypes.

During a recent exhibition „The Girl May Seem Strong but Inside She Barely Holds On” (23.02–14.04.2018) at  Lokal_30 in Warsaw, we could see works of such artists as:  Coco Kate, Alicja Gąsiewska, Monika Kozdroń, Nola Karamazow, Agata Zbylut, Iwona Demko, Karolina Suboczewska, Zuzanna Janin or Zofia Krawiec, who was also the curator of the exhibition.

Zofia Krawiec

Zofia Krawiec, one of the central figures of Polish selfie-feminism argues that an attractive woman is immediately recognized as unintelligent, mostly because she pays attention to her looks.

Zofia Krawiec selfie feminism

Zofia Krawiec, source: Instagram @zofia.krawiec

Zofia Krawiec selfie feminism

Zofia Krawiec, Velazquez selfie, source: Instagram @zofia.krawiec

She fights that assertion by proving that a woman can be intelligent, well-educated and appealing at the same time. Krawiec is an artist, art critic and a curator herself. She posts selfies which are a blend of glitter, BDSM, nudity and sadness, contradicting the opposition between intelligence and physical attractiveness. Her provocative art sparked substantial controversy among feminists, who criticized it for basing on the beauty of young and attractive bodies, rather than focusing on the goal of emancipation from the patriarchal culture. Krawiec, on the other hand, argued that by using tools and methods which were used to objectify women, she deprives them of their former power.

Zofia Krawiec selfie feminism

Zofia Krawiec, Ready to go, source: Instagram @zofia.krawiec

Will selfie-feminism have a real impact on women’s lives and change the perception of female emotions, lives and social roles? I guess only time will tell, but for now, let’s just take a selfie.

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An intellectual property lawyer, helping artists on a daily basis, an art lover and a serious foodie. If missing, look for him in the nearest museum or in the kitchen.

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