GIRLS vs BOYS
Search engines are the portal through which we experience the internet. Because companies like Google make their money by matching companies to consumers, companies, unlike non-commercial concerns, spend time and money to speak directly to search engines. As a result the internet’s primary identity is increasingly that of a shopping mall that favors products over people and companies over communities (consider the search results for Amazon or Cherokee) This creates a sexist internet where females are identified as products for consumption.
Compare the image search results for “boy crawling” and “girl crawling.” In the first you see cute babies, in the second you see scantily clad women in seductive poses. Similarly compare “boy at work” with “girl at work” or “school boy” with “school girl.” This sexualized representation of women is perpetuating an unequal internet that must be actively combated before the further encoding of bias via artificial intelligence.
One method of for identifying and altering the way women are represented online is what I call Internet Imperialism: The intentional structuring of information to dominate the online definition or reputation of a person, place or idea. Through it I manipulate search results, swapping existing image results for my paintings. To do so around search terms relevant to women is to impose my own, and therefore female, perspective on what these words mean. I use these paintings and Search Engine Art pieces as a platform through which to teach other women about how they can creatively get involved in the regendering of the internet.
In the first half of 2018 my work will focus on adding female perspective and voices to the following topics via their search terms:
Perfect female body
This work is only accomplished through community. I am looking for partners who want use their sites, blogs, or networks to share in this story. Get in touch!