Thursday, February 24, 2011

In Search of Duckface

In the beginning, The Al Gore created the Information Super Highway and the World Wide Web.

And the World Wide Web was without users or content. The Al Gore made the dial-up modem and the fiber optic cable and He saw that it was good. That was the first day.

Then, The Al Gore made America Online. And He divided the American Online between chat rooms and primitive websites that offered almost nothing in the way of content. And He saw that this too, was good. That was on the second day.

The Al Gore then created the instant message. He separated the instant message between the erotic and the benign. And He was pleased. That was the third day.

On the fourth day, The Al Gore created message boards and user groups. He populated these message boards with nerds and shut-ins and all was well.

Next, The Al Gore created the .jpg and the .tif. And He divided them between the mundane and the pornographic. And He masturbated to pictures of Seven-of-Nine that took 6 hours to download, and He was pleased. That was the fifth day.

On the sixth day, The Al Gore created social networks, music downloads, the idea that anything you put on the Internet will automatically make you famous, memes, spam and perfected Internet porn, and all the multitudes did flock to Cyberspace to bask in the glory of “2 Girls 1 Cup,” “The Bed Intruder Song,” making fun of “” commercials from 2000 and other pointless diversions. And He was pleased.

On the seventh day The Al Gore got in His Hummer and drove over to Ed Begley Jr.’s house, where they enjoyed clubbing baby seals and running 10K generators to make home-made ice cream. And He saw that it was good, so He decided to win an Oscar and a Nobel Prize and secretly hate all Americans for not making Him president.


In the early days, the Internet was a wild, desolate desert, (actually an oasis for fans of Doctor Who and Red Dwarf.) Everything was pretty much limited to going into chat rooms and pretending to be a lesbian to get some sexy conversations going. Unfortunately, since everybody in those lesbian chat rooms were actually guys, it turned out to be a lot of creepy role-playing that I have blocked from my memory.

Eventually, companies started using the Internet to advertise and sell their products, and the boom occurred, leading to the bust, confusing people as to what the Internet could and could not accomplish.

A new era dawned a few years ago with the advent of the “social network.” The first popular network was Friendster. This was soon eclipsed by the far more popular Myspace, which was in turn was itself dominated by the juggernaut that is Facebook. And with these social networks, a new and curious phenomenon began to immerge in terms of photography.

Photographs are very important, when it comes to social networking. Since we are removed from being able to hear, smell or touch the people we’re talking to, we’re forced to judge and garner a better mental image of the person we’re interacting with by the written word (LoL! FML! SMH!) and by pictures.

During my travels across the cyberscape, I’ve noticed that for some reason, women are especially affected by having to post pictures of themselves online. Often times they try to create a narrative of who they are and what they look like. After months of research, observation and interviews, I have been able to classify women who post pictures of themselves into these five categories:

1. Women who are completely insecure about their looks

Defining characteristics: Very few or no pictures of themselves on their profile; pictures that are uploaded are often pictures of things, cartoon characters, actresses they wish they could be or admire, or sassy sayings like “If you can’t handle me at my worst, then you don’t deserve me at my best.”

2. Women who are partly insecure about their looks

Defining characteristics: Maybe a dozen or so pictures of themselves online, however, due to insecurities, many pics are either taken from the F.G.C.A. (Fat Girl Camera Angle. It also has many synonyms, but the results are always the same: an extreme camera angle, revealing very little of the woman’s body/face, designed to give the best impression) or the U.C.P. angle, otherwise known as Up Close and Personal, wherein the camera is too close to see anything other than what the woman considers to be her best feature, i.e. eyes, lips, right earlobe, etc. Also, there will be many group photos where the woman won’t identify herself, often while standing next to or around more attractive friends. This is what is known as photo camouflage. There may also be photographs of themselves from when they were very young, or from other decades. These photos are often meant to be viewed ironically, but usually only to those in the pictures.

3. Women who aren’t insecure about their looks, but should be
Defining characteristics: Far too many photos of themselves in what they consider to be “sexy” poses, positions and clothes. Sadly, these women are very deluded, but also stubborn, you can’t tell them anything and the rest of the world is forced to witness the horror. Photos such as these have lead to the creation of many comedy websites, like

4. Women who are fine with how they look
Defining characteristics: By far the largest category of women on social networks. They have copious pictures of themselves doing a variety of things: playing sports, camping, visiting scenic locations, attending parties/bars/clubs, hanging with their friends, going to the gynecologist and more. Often, these women are also attractive, which never hurts. Although there is the subset of attractive women (usually in their teens through early 20s) who have fallen prey to the facial expression known as “Duckface.” Lips pushed forward to a ridiculous degree, head tilted to the side at an angle that suggests severe neck problems, and often eyes looking up at the sky, as if questioning where air comes from. These unfortunate women believe this expression to be cute, irreverent or silly, when in fact that makes them look like total retards. I believe this face may have originated as “Blue Steel” from the movie Zoolander, but that inbreeding and bastardization turned it into the deformed look we know today. This is just speculation however, as nothing in my research has verified this claim.

5. Camera Whores
Defining Characteristics: Too many damn pictures! Anything over 200 is way too excessive! Honestly, by the 20th picture, we’ve got a pretty good idea of what you look like. No need to go overboard. Either these women are extremely full of themselves and want to share it with the world, or they’re insecure and hope to win people over by sheer volume of photographs. The worst is when most of them are close-ups and all the close-ups have the same “this is my official camera smile” expression in them.

Do men also fall into these categories, or perhaps other, undiscovered categories? Probably, but I don’t care because I don’t check out dudes’ pictures, so I’ll leave that adventure to one of my female counterparts.

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