Friday, June 17, 2005

Grab Me

It is common to hear camgirls discussed as "mediated voyeurism,” a term that depends on cinematic gaze theory as its reference point. Yet I believe that rather than gazing, Web viewers to take in what they see in bits and pieces, out of sequence, re-making it according to their own desires, often recirculating it as their own. I suggest that rather than the cinematic gaze or even the televisual glance, the term “grab” (with all of its connections to temporality, embodiment, power and politics) more accurately describes the dynamics of Web spectatorship. Continuing in a psychoanalytic vein, “grabbing” represents not voyeurism, but rather commodity fetishism and its attendant belief that what matters is what can be owned, if even for a moment. I believe camgirls are interesting not because they seamlessly enable commodity fetishism, but because of their inevitable failure to please all consumers/viewers, all the time. Terri Senft

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