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1. Length: 400-600 words
2. MLA Format (Times New Roman, size 12, double spaced)
3. Read the following prompt and answer one or more of the listed questions. So, when you go back to in-person classes (if you’re not already there), will you prop a little mirror up on the corner of your desk because you miss the Zoom experience of seeing yourself on the screen all the time? Yeah, we didn’t think so. As it turns out, that front-facing laptop and cellphone camera experience is causing mental anguish and insecurity for a lot of people. Wired senior editor Amit Katwala wrote about the phenomenon of “Zoom dysmorphia” in this August 2021 report.
4. After you have read the article linked above. Answer one or more of the following in a journal-style response. Use paragraphs and do not write out the question(s).
A. Why are front-facing cameras more problematic than, say, staring at one’s image in the mirror? How is “Zoom dysmorphia” different from “Snapchat dysmorphia”? Summarize the explanations that Katwala and his sources give. Does the information seem reliable? Why or why not? Explain your reasoning.
B. For about the first half of his report, Katwala talks about people in general in the third person; that is, as “they” and “them.” Later, some passages directly address readers (and people in general) as “you,” and other sentences broaden the scope even further, talking about self-image and online experiences with “we” and “our.” Did you notice the pronoun shift when you first read the article? Where does the first shift occur? Identify the sentence. What effect, if any, do the pronoun shifts have on the way you respond to the article? Explain your response. Do you think Katwala made a good rhetorical decision to shift from exclusively third-person references? Why or why not?
C. What about you? about you? Do any parts of Katwala’s report ring true for you? How have a year and a half of online classes and meetings affected your feelings about your face and appearance? Do you ever turn your camera off so that others can’t view you or just to take a break from seeing yourself? Have you tinkered with your chair and table height or the room lighting in order to get a more favorable view? In what ways might your attitudes about your appearance have changed since the pandemic began? Write an essay addressing these questions and describing your responses to Katwala’s report.

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