ICTS Webinar Series Spring 2022 –
“The Visibility Trap”: Sexism, Surveillance and Social Media, Dr Mary McGill (Carlow IT), 9 Mar 2022 @ 1pm (IST)

For many demographics, online visibility has become a non-negotiable aspect of selfhood in the digital age. On platforms like Instagram, there is a distinct emphasis on certain modes of feminine visibility while others are side-lined or rendered invisible. On platforms like Twitter, women’s visibility is both generative in terms of self-expression and political organising, and restrictive when such activities are met with digitised sexism that goes unchallenged. This landscape is characterised by what I call the visibility trap, a neoliberal conception of agency-through-visibility where one is at once ‘free’ to be visible but also held responsible for the unpredictable outcomes of ‘choosing’ visibility. This talk will explore the punitive and deeply gendered effects of the visibility trap, exploring how platforms and their ideological underpinnings enable and encourage visibility (and happily profit from it) while constraining and policing its potential, producing outcomes that are often regressive rather than progressive.

Dr Mary McGill is a Media Studies lecturer and researcher at the Institute of Technology, Carlow. She is a former Hardiman Scholar at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her doctoral research explores issues of homosocial surveillance, digital visibility and representation in young women’s selfiepractises. She is a regular contributor to RTÉ Radio One’s nightly arts show Arena and the Irish Independent. You find her book at New Island here and at O’Mahony’s.

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Meeting ID: 751 572 6874 Passcode: x2TZvr7!

The ICTS Spring series of lunchtime webinars focusing on “Digital Spaces and Transnational Femininities” is presented in association with the Institute of Irish Studies, MIC, and the Irish Women’s Writing Network.