This week’s readings made me think a lot about the power of media in organizing, but also the power of *creating* media in healing and empowering. Mostly, what resonated with me, was the importance of members of marginalized communities or identities being the ones to create content to represent themselves for themselves. This isn’t about “giving voice” to marginalized communities within the dominant culture, but about the power found in creating content and representing oneself outside of the mainstream hegemonic narrative.
The sentence that stuck out to me from the Bordowitz reading was “Ask yourself, “what images would I like to see more of in the world?” Make them.” (176)
Bordowitz defines dominant culture as “culture produced in the interests of the current hegemony.” (176) Later in the text he addresses how “the most widely recognized problem among community producers is lack of access to the means of television production.” (176) I believe this is still very much true today, but that today we also have alternative ways to create and advertise content that differs from the mainstream (through blogs, vlogs, facebook, twitter, etc.). This doesn’t discount the influence and gravity of the mainstream media, nor does it discount how difficult it is, still, to enter the mainstream. It is to say that these alternative ways provide a great deal of creative autonomy and influence in some circles.
This made me think of “Assigned Male” Comics; an online comic about the experiences and thoughts of a transgender girl by trans artist, Sophie Labelle, which is advertised on fb, etsy, and on a separate website. The comic strips call attention to a variety of important issues that come out of trans youth’s, and trans folks’, lived experiences. Importantly, it creates a representation of trans youth that departs from the way trans folks are usually represented in the hegemonic mainstream. More and more, different media are used to create counter-hegemonic narratives and representations. If Sophie Labelle would have created these comics even 20 years ago, she would not have had the same exposure or influence on widespread audiences. Further, perhaps 20 years ago she would not have had the means to create these comics, as nowadays tools of creation (video, comics, content) are less costly, more accessible and wide-spread.
I really recommend checking out her facebook page!