Gut Feelings

Flatness, Appetites, and Aesthetics in Sheena Patel's I'm a Fan

in Screen Bodies
Author:
Jennifer Jasmine White Researcher, University of Manchester, UK

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Abstract

This article reads I'm a Fan as a major intervention into literary representations of women online, particularly within the context of Patel's materialist rendering of the operations of race, gender, and class in platform economies. Patel writes against a tendency toward what this article terms an emergent “flatness” in representations of women online, manifested aesthetically, ideologically, and affectively. Patel's debut offers an alternatively “de-flattened” account of life on the internet, partly through a focus on the hungry body of its narrator: an insistence that the internet is for women in particular “not a still, flat, surface thing” is explored via its effects on the feeling body. This article considers how I'm a Fan employs questions of algorithmic desire, taste and aesthetics, and the concept of autofiction as a “masticated life,” rematerializing, and therefore repoliticizing, gendered encounters with the platform.

Contributor Notes

Jennifer Jasmine White is a PhD candidate at the University of Manchester. She holds first-class degrees from the University of Cambridge (BA) and the University of Oxford (MSt). Her PhD research explores the relationship between experimental form, contemporary women's writing, and social class. She is fully funded by a President's Doctoral Scholarship.

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Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

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