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Camgirls

Celebrity and Community in the Age of Social Networks

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Theresa M. Senft

This book is a critical and ethnographic study of camgirls: women who broadcast themselves over the web for the general public while trying to cultivate a measure of celebrity in the process. The book’s over-arching question is, «What does it mean for feminists to speak about the personal as political in a networked society that encourages women to ‘represent’ through confession, celebrity, and sexual display, but punishes too much visibility with conservative censure and backlash?» The narrative follows that of the camgirl phenomenon, beginning with the earliest experiments in personal homecamming and ending with the newest forms of identity and community being articulated through social networking sites like Live Journal, YouTube, MySpace, and Facebook. It is grounded in interviews, performance analysis of events transpiring between camgirls and their viewers, and the author’s own experiences as an ersatz camgirl while conducting the research.