"I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me": Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies

Vivienne, S 2017, '"I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me": Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies', Popular Communication, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 126-140.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title "I will not hate myself because you cannot accept me": Problematizing empowerment and gender-diverse selfies
Author(s) Vivienne, S
Year 2017
Journal name Popular Communication
Volume number 15
Issue number 2
Start page 126
End page 140
Total pages 15
Publisher Routledge
Abstract © 2017 Taylor & Francis. While selfies of beautiful cisgender women are declaimed by mainstream media as narcissistic and facile, some body-positive feminists and queer theorists argue that selfies can be empowering. They claim self-representation by traditionally stigmatized people can challenge normative presentations of beauty and gender. This article problematizes "empowerment" as a definitive and/or productive frame and argues instead for observation and analysis of "privilege" in situated practice. In this article I combine analysis of a collection of online cultural artifacts (including nonbinary selfies on Tumblr) and interviews with a small group of trans* social media storytellers to explore theoretical tensions between gender fluidity and identity fragmentation across multiple social media sites and practices. Gender-diverse digital self-representation encompasses both "consistent" androgyny, nonbinary, agender, and so on, and "emergent" presentations-in-flux. I assert that the ongoing iteration of self across social media-implied by self (re)presentation-can have simultaneous and contradictory political significance. I conclude that networked interpersonal complications frame understandings of empowerment, as perhaps they always have done.
Subject Communication and Media Studies not elsewhere classified
Culture, Gender, Sexuality
DOI - identifier 10.1080/15405702.2016.1269906
Copyright notice © 2017 Taylor & Francis
ISSN 1540-5702
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