Thursday, May 10, 2012

final thoughts

The title of this post is a little misleading because these are not my final thoughts on this topic.  I plan to continue working on this blog and sharing my ideas and observations about the way queer people use the internet as a site for identity production and community building.  This project grew out of my interest in this subject.  I followed and read the blogs I mentioned because I thought they had interesting things to say about queerness.  It may seem like a little thing to post a photo of yourself on a blog, but for people who are often asked to hide their identity, it can be a liberating experience.   Showing images of real people who identify as LGBTQ is a very important because these are not the images that are shown in mainstream media.  LGBTQ people are still very underrepresented in old media.  New media such as social media, blogs, and other Internet products can be a place for LGBTQ people to be represented and literally show their faces.  Not ever seeing an image that looks like you can increase the isolation that you may feel as a young queer person.  Finding images of other people who look like you look or identify how you identify, even if it is only on a tumblr can make you feel less alone.

That being said, the blogs that I examined are not perfect representations.  Most of the bloggers tended to be white and most of the photos posted were of white people.  Some tumblrs reinforced beauty norms by exclusively or primarily showing people who were young, white, conventionally attractive, thin, and able-bodied.  There still seems to be problems with people who identify as femme not being represented as queer or as visibly queer in the blogosphere.  I may have simply not found blogs that showed more diversity.   It is also very likely that the same problems with racism, ableism, misogyny, fat hatred, and marginalization that occur in LGBTQ spaces in the physical realm are recreated in the digital realm.  I do not want to claim to have any solid answers.  The blogs I listed are by no means representative of all of the blogs dealing with these issues on tumblr alone, much less in the blogosphere in general.  I urge readers to seek out other blogs by searching for "queer" or "queer femme."  These critiques aside, the blogosphere and tumblr can prove to be a site for community building and knowledge and identity production for queer young people, especially those from places without a large LGBTQ community.  I can personally attest to how much reading queer blogs has helped me to articulate and appreciate my own queer identity.  Because it is at least to some degree anonymous, the internet can be a safe place for young people to express and explore identities that they cannot express or explore in the physical world due to threats of violence and discrimination or lack of access to queer spaces.  Even though we do not bring our physical bodies with us to the cyber world, we cannot divorce ourselves from our bodies and their lived realities.  The way we come to think about those bodies through our online communities can change the way that we live our lives in the material world.

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