It’s not without some profound reservations that I am posting this image. There are a host of things that are problematic about it: the indeterminate age of the young woman who could be older than she appears but given the doll and her bracelet probably isn’t. Add the random detritus strewn about the background along with the lurid reflected flash and there’s no denying the unsettling vibe– like some sick fuck uncle is directing his niece for a camera in Grandma Gardenia’s basement.
All that is an enormous put off for me–I know and care deeply about too many friends who have weathered such abuse. But I keep coming back to this image. Beyond everything fucked with it, something about it resonates with me.
A Google Image search returns a single hit for this: a 2009 blog post by a young Swedish woman who gravitates toward the macabre.
This does not exactly set my mind at ease regarding questions of exploitation but the text accompanying the image in the aforementioned post amplifies the resonance I feel towards this image:
Sen lekte vi med dockor.
För det var det som väntades av oss.
(Then we played with dolls.
For that was what was expected of us.)
There are two sides to expectation: what is expected of one and what one expects of oneself–I am expected to play with dolls but I don’t want to play with them or play with them in the way that is customary.
The starker the dichotomy, the greater the feeling of bodily frustration–a deep navel throbbing for physicality, no matter how self-destructive, anything to achieve even a moment’s peace.
A body with only anger to hold it– knows to trust the ruptures; wherever lies the greatest weakness, there also is the greatest need. In such moments the tang of plastic melting into the curled tip of a tongue is so empty and wrong that something has to rush in to fill the space–something no less hopeful because it is broken beyond repair.