In order for us to consider the image an object, with agency and materiality to match, we must escape the allure of asking it to signify something other than itself. This is a framework within which we may have direct access to things, rather than always through the mediating function of representations. It is to follow the lead of Karen Barad, to doubt the framework within which practices of representing are entirely independent of the content of the information being represented. Let us begin by rejecting the belief in the ontological distinction between representations and that which they purport to represent. (Barad 2003, 804) The result returns representations to their body and affirms the materiality of our encounter with them.

For Elizabeth Grosz, this movement away from representations and towards the real, is the possibility for a feminist project which moves from an examination of what we are, to what we do, or what we could do. Feminism is freed from representation- from representing the silent minorities that ideology inhibited, and from representing the real through the truths it affirms- and is opened up to the virtual, to the future which does not yet exist. (Grosz 2011, 81) Where here virtuality, in the Deluzian sense, is the possibility of new, as yet unactualized, possibilities. Rather than constantly entangling ourselves in the accuracy of representations (does the public image of women or queer people correspond with reality?), we might be able to set our aims higher than simply the construction of an authentic image. This is a movement beyond ourselves, rather than simply affirming what we are. (Grosz 2011, 81) It is an affirmation of the real and living context, and our ability, through the materiality of our being, of our bodies, to affect change. In the words of Grozs, the concept is how living bodies, human bodies- that is, male and female bodies of all types- protract themselves into materiality and enable materiality to affect and transform life. (Grosz 2011, 80-81)