How do we draw the line between female empowerment and female exploitation?
That’s the question posed by Nicôle Lecky’s Superhoe, a one-woman play that explores the often confusing relationship between 20-something women and social media.
Lecky’s playwriting debut, which opens at Sloane Square’s Royal Court Theatre on 30 January, focuses on Sasha Clayton – an Instagram addict and aspiring rapper who begins stripping online to strangers.
While the 24-year-old protagonist from Stratford, East London, claims to feel empowered by her choices, the play suggests she may not be as in control as she she ostensibly appears.
However, Lecky, 28, who plays Sasha in the Talawa theatre production, insisted the text wasn’t intended to judge but rather ask questions.
She said: “I spent a lot of time researching these ‘camgirl’ websites and trying to work out what they mean for women.
“On the one hand these girls feel in total control of their own bodies and sexuality – and that’s great.
“But on a darker level, they’re still subscribing to the male gaze and their jobs basically reinforce that, as women, all they have to offer is their looks.”
The energetic young star – who has featured in TV shows such as Eastenders and Death in Paradise – admitted that she remains unsure about where she stands on the issue, having always been pro-sex work.
Regardless, she is adamant that the story, which also covers issues of race, class and substance abuse, needs telling – and she is extremely grateful to have been given the platform to do so.
She said: “I had spoken to camgirls on snapchat and on Twitter and I felt so compelled to share their experiences.
“I don’t even feel particularly nervous about how people will respond to Superhoe because it doesn’t feel like it’s about me – it’s about these girls and I suppose all women and how they are perceived online.”
Superhoe will open at the Royal Court Theatre on the 30th January.