Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Duck Face and Shame

If you're not familiar with the culture and customs of Facebook, you probably have no idea what "duck face" is.  I spend an embarrassing amount of time on Facebook, and I had to look it up, myself.  It's apparently a common pose young women assume in photos, and the most popular outlet for misogyny I see in my feed.  Here's a fine example.

The usual thrust of duck face humor is that it doesn't look very nice at all, so stop making that face in your pictures.

I think duck face is just a variant (meant to look playful and silly) on the face most people make unconsciously as an expression of shame.  Making that connection put some things in perspective for me.  Duck face epidemics are probably just epidemics of self-loathing, and the hostile response creeps me out.  Facebook is a great way to indulge vanity (which can be annoying, but isn't the worst character trait I can think of), and it's interesting to see how people try to do so by a sideways, not-obvious approach.  We demand a certain amount of vanity in women, but punish them for any display of it.  If you try to put a funny spin on it, like duck face does, you are the target of everyone's disdain.

I'd love it if I looked fantastically beautiful all the time, and I try to look nice in pictures, but I've come to the conclusion that I photograph poorly (in that I look bad in photos, but I also am terrible at taking them.)

While I'm on the subject of social networking and photos of people, I hate how you can't pull out a camera without people awkwardly hugging and posing for it.  I'd like it if I could take a picture of a party, not just the faces of a few friends at it.  
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