Bodies on Screen: Feminist Health Science Studies in Trans* and Queer of Color Digital Media

I am excited to be heading to the National Women’s Studies Association Conference tomorrow to present my paper, Bodies on Screen: Feminist Health Science Studies in Trans* and Queer of Color Digital Media. Ill be be joined by Emory University colleagues on our panel titled, Screening the Body:” New Directions for Feminist Health Scholarship and Activism Through Engaging Popular Media.

Check out our panel blurb and the blurb for my paper below. We are on for Saturday Evening, Nov. 9, 5:25-6:40 PM in the Duke Energy Convention Center, 204-AV. Join us! There will be pizza!

This panel borrows its title from a book of the same name by Lisa Cartwright (1995). The panel explores relationships between medicine, media and representations of the health care needs and histories of queer communities of color and women in the US. It also privileges the interrogation of popular representations of marginalized groups as the bodies of knowledge production in commercial biomedical discourse. Moya Bailey’s examination of the health promotion practices of queer people of color moves beyond mainstream media and engages alternative medium to challenge the narrowness of dominant health media and create community authored representations. Rachel Dudley explores the counter narratives of contemporary performance art that acknowledge the history of women of color in western biomedical innovation and that challenge mainstream celebrations of J. Marion Sims, the early gynecologist who honed his craft on enslaved women in the southern US. Sheri Davis-Faulkner introduces a new framework for media analysis that responds to mainstream health marketing by privileging black girls’ bodies and their corresponding narratives. Engaging the conference theme of body politics, this panel asks what kinds of new knowledges and critical disruptions are possible when we pivot our methodological and analytical frameworks and center marginalized communities.

My paper explores how marginalized groups use existing social media platforms to create new and alternate representations of themselves as a practice of health promotion, self-care, and wellness. These activities include trans* people of color creating YouTube videos of their transitions, masculine of center people creating their own health zine, and Black women using social media to organize for reproductive justice. Central to this activism are images that challenge mainstream depictions of marginalized groups. My scholarship explores the ways that controlling images and language impact the collective survival and health of people who are multiply marginalized.

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