Interview: Where Are The Girls, Online? Part Two of an Interview with Kate Durbin / Hyperallergic

Image from Kate Durbin’s “iPrincess”

Artist and writer Kate Durbin is both an internet scavenger and connoisseur. Like a cultural anthropologist, she prowls the immaterial space of Tumblr, discovering user-generated content that describes the semi-anonymous emotional outpourings of masses of women, girls and young people. I first discovered her project “Girls, Online,” through a Facebook post.

We talked about her project in part one of this two-part series. In this post, Kate and I discuss gender and other corners of the internet, including the world of boys, queer transfemme artist of color blogger Mark Aguhar (whose voice at times could pass as an adolescent girl — and that is meant in the best possible way), the copyright “politics” of Tumblr, the “but is it feminist art?” question, and the flow between IRL and URL identities. Oh, and we can’t forget Lena Dunham’s Girls, too!

AE: What about “Boys, Online”? Why the focus on women and girls instead of men and boys?

KD: “Boys, Online” would be an interesting project, too. Not everyone I follow on Tumblr is born a physical woman, though. Some are trans and gay bois. I see “teenage girl” as more of an aesthetic stance, a place of radical, highly material (yes, the internet is (im)material), abject positioning in the world. A position in which one wields ones own objecthood playfully, glitteringly, and problematically. Can a boi do that? Sure, especially a gay boi. Anyone can. But because of the ways girls are culturally viewed via the male gaze, they are in a particularly prime position for this kind of play. They can teach us something about what it’s like to always be seen as a thing, as less or other than all that you are, and what you can do with that position of abjection if you are brave.

Read the interview on Hyperallergic: