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Documenting the reality of online harassment

Posted by Tom Megginson | 31-01-2014 15:28 | Category: Media



Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

Lindsay Bottos is a 21-year-old Photography student at the Maryland Institute College of Art. As part of her evolving artistic expression,  she posts a lot of self-portraits online.

While “selfies” get a little tired, serious self-portraits of the vulnerable artist have been part of our visual vocabulary since the Renaissance, and reached a fascinating peak in the 20th Century.

In the 21st Century, however, personal artistic expression is seen as an invitation to make anonymous personal attacks on the artist, via social media. It’s actually a grave threat to the development of our artistic futures, as real critics and public discussion have been shouted out by immature and cruel trolls.

Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

Ms. Bottos has chosen to face the trolls in her own way, by producing a whole series of self-portraits embellished with the worst comments she receives on them via Tumblr.


Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

According to the artist:

I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.

It’s a good way to raise awareness of just how idiotic online “debate” can become. Anyone who creates public content, or who even expresses an honest opinion, online, can surely relate.

Lindsay Bottos - Documenting the reality of online harassment.

You can see the rest of the series, “anonymous,” at Ms. Bottos’ site.


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