My Other Self is Plastic

A young woman learns about gender, desire, and digital by imagining and animating a persona.

Khushi Bano is 20 and works in the social media team of Sadbhavana Trust, Lucknow. She has been part of The Third Eye’s Learning Lab for two years.

One day, in the process of trying to understand the “digital”, Khushi observed that young Muslim girls around her would only show their hands in the Reels that they made and uploaded on social media.

“We live our offline and online lives very differently,” she says. The “I” on social media reveals what “I” cannot be in other spaces. For her, this became the start of a process of learning about gender, desire, and digital by imagining and animating a fake profile. Fake profiles are plenty on social media, but how does Khushi bring her alt ‘Roshni’ to the “real world”? Which dimensions of the self does the phone make possible for her?

Make-believe with dolls and social media reels are both considered frivolous, but Khushi brings them together to teach herself what it means for the phone to be an extension of oneself. She explains, “Khushi’s Roshni stitches together moments which are absolutely real, and yet not.”

Watch Khushi’s Roshni to see how “reel” meets real as Khushi makes her doll do all that she cannot.

Which parts of yourself do you reveal online and which ones do you hide?

Khushi Bano works with Sadbhavana Trust, Lucknow. She is part of the Digital Educators programme in The Third Eye’s Learning Lab.

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