Feminism, Health and New Media: (Finally) Understanding Their Cohesive Properties

So folks, the sun is setting on our Fall semester of 2012.

New York sunset, from Google Images

New York sunset, from Google Images

I’d say it was a pretty challenging roller coaster ride for me and many of my peers. But the hardest learned lessons always stubbornly turn out to be the lessons hardest to forget, and I think now as I tie pieces of my critical essay together, I am finally learning to understand Professor Daniels’ purpose in titling our Hons201 course, “Feminism, Health and New Media!”

Well maybe I am a little late to the picnic, but you know what they say: never deny a late bloomer her slice of the pie. Is that how that one goes? Anyway, I apolgize for the awkward UN-funniness of this final blog post. I guess I am having separation anxiety, or something. The individual puzzle pieces are finally fitting together for me in my head, forming a cohesive picture that I can somehow superimpose onto my critical essay, and all I am able to do is crack lame jokes. So, what was I saying? Oh yeah! Feminism.

For my critical essay, I will be pulling largely from feminist theory so as to articulate my thesis on, “female to male YouTube Trans* vloggers and the construction of knowledge,” therein. This semester we had focused on the “women’s health movement, 1969-1999” as purposeful practice of autonomy (Morgen). It was inspiring to read and watch self-identified feminists advocate for gender liberation and reproductive justice here in the US. Pulling from those inspirational sources within feminism, I aim to expand upon those cisgender parameters so as to navigate a contemporary discourse – happpening right now in the online vlogosphere – pertaining to transitioning and knowledge of Health.

Health is that which “knowledge” will refer to in the body of my final paper. Knowledge of the body and knowledge of self in relation to social assimilation ideology surrounding what constitutes gender. The discourses upon which we very often find ourselves resisting are those that claim there is a one-way-road to gender authenticity and that that is via genital matching, or in the case of FtM Trans* folks, assimilation. New Media is assembling a strong defensive front to such rigid defintions of gender.

New Media is going to be the B-B-BULK of my critical essay. I have been researching FtM Trans* YouTube vlogs for some time now, and I’m finally zoning in on which ones will be most representative of my central claim, that is to say:

FtM Trans* folks are producing knowledge by and through new media, that knowledge largely pertaining to health: bodily modifications and psychic journey toward self-hood. It is necessary to state that I fully intend on debunking those arguments that wish to assert any kind of homogeneous, monolothic liberation and/or empowerment among Trans* folk, let alone Trans* YouTube vloggers. I argue privilege (along all social identity markers) has so very much to do with the ways in which knowledge gets produced online in the YouTube vlogosphere, as well as the means by which FtM Trans* political identities are made visible.

So, in short, I aim to argue that FtM Trans* vloggers’ feminist intent(s) to (re)claim bodily health-based knowledge are negotiated by and through new media (i.e. YouTube).

And that’s all folks!

I "love" finals week, you guys. Weeeee!

I “love” finals week, you guys. Weeeee!

Please watch some of the following YouTube vlog posts, if you have time, and are interested in learning about the ways and means by which FtM Trans* folk are navigating their bodies in relation to their gender-in-TRANSition:

Stuff Cis People Say to Trans People

Binding the Pain – FTM Binding, by Ryan Cassata

Ryan Post-Top-Op

Liam in TRANSition

2.5 Years on “T”

Binders & Packers, Part 1. by Kamari Marchbanks

FTM Binder, Packer Show ‘n Tell

How I Use My Pee-Cock

Metoidioplasty Information FtM

“T”estosterone & Tampons

Post-meta surgery

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