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The girl in the corner: aesthetics of suffering in a digitalized space
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2071-349X
Umeå universitet. (HUMlab)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4240-6490
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The Internet may provide the means for otherwise marginalized groups – such as young people with mental ill health – to make their voices heard in public, and online representations have therefore become an important source for studying how emotions are conceptualized and communicated in these groups. In an ongoing study of YouTube video montages on the subject of self-injury, we have found one emblematic and frequently occuring character: a girl sitting alone in a corner, on the floor, with drawn up knees and head bent down. This image is widely spread, not only on YouTube but also on blogs, discussion forums and websites. Together with her likewise sitting ‘sisters’ – the girl on the swing, the girl on the pier and on the railway track – she is taken to represent young people’s suffering: unhappiness, pain, misery. Our paper sets out to explore how these images are deployed as signifiers of suffering in online contexts. Particular focus is on the ways in which the aesthetics of suffering is circulated and reinterpreted through the digital, where search engines and other media-specific affordances play an important part. We argue further that these examples contribute to an aestheticization of suffering that often seem to emanate from the rejection of conventional ideals and hegemonic definitions of normality; the embracing of suffering might, thus, be used as a strategy for achieving social distinction. Also, we suggest in our paper that the girl in the corner and other representations may be seen as facilitating certain structures of feeling and emotional identifications, especially as regards gender.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keywords [en]
Aesthetics, Emotions, Gender, Girls, Identity, Internet, Social media, Suffering, Representation
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-30960OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-30960DiVA, id: diva2:676368
Conference
4th Global Conference: Making Sense of: Suffering, Athens, Greece, November 10-12, 2013
Available from: 2013-12-05 Created: 2013-12-05 Last updated: 2017-01-23Bibliographically approved

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Sternudd, Hans T.Johansson, Anna

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf