Alice Weber’s research centres on how we present, experience and understand the body in the face of a consumerist, gendering, hyper-mediated, individualistic and ultimately objectifying environment. This presentation presents a work-in-progress notion of ‘aesthetic pessimism’. Aesthetic pessimism considers how the above might be more productively considered through negativity, with performance practices that trouble rather than solve issues surrounding the body. Counter to optimistic approaches, it asks what are the limits of emancipatory practices — especially from the privileged position — and what might be most useful for a material feminist project. It deliberately implicates the objectification of bodies, particularly feminine and feminised bodies, asking which bodies are chosen for subjectification, and points out the contradictions that proliferate embodiment under image-driven consumer capitalism.