In a new dark corner of the Internet, young women are uploading photos of themselves in tears -- supposedly in the name of art.
The project, Webcam Tears, features a string of webcam videos of distraught girls alone in front of their computers, some with silent tears running down their faces and others completely racked with sobs. The site features not only videos but also photos and animated GIFs.
Initiated by European fashion journalist Dora Moutot, Webcam Tears is a collaborative art project inspired by New York-based video artist and photographer Laurel Nakadate, who recorded her sadness for a year in her piece 365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears. The project's Tumblr page -- which encourages anyone who has cried in front of the computer to share their tears -- states: "In a time where showing genitals on the Internet is not shocking anymore, tears are a new form of pornography."
According to the Webcam Tears "about" page, the project is intended to portray contemporary sadness in a voyeuristic Internet culture.
Although the submissions page does not explicitly target teen girls for submissions, all videos and images on the page feature young females.
The Webcam Tears project is the latest in a recent string of controversial Internet trends among teenage girls. From 'thinspiration' to "Am I Ugly?" YouTube videos to the "Most Beautiful Teen" Facebook contest, these online projects and communities have raised questions and alarm, particularly from parents.
But not everyone is alarmed by this project. Jezebel blogger Lindy West writes: "This is actually kind of satisfying to watch. But I'm concerned that clearly America's teens have nothing to do... Oh my god, all these girls are such fakers."
But whether the tears are genuine or fake, the desperation and loneliness expressed in the videos is no joke.
Is this "new form of pornography" that encourages girls to publicly share their sadness exploitative to those who participate? Or is it justified in the name of art? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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