WGSS Undergraduate Senior Riana Brewer created her own media-rich Ted Talk for an independent assignment in Professor Suchland’s senior seminar class. Brewer’s presentation discusses self-representation and how the rise in self-promotion on the internet (via selfies) challenges mainstream messages which overwhelm our society with images of white, cisnormative/heteronormative, and able bodied representations of beauty. Brewer runs a popular tumblr site called lezbhonest which seeks to proliferate images of non-normative expressions of love and identity. Brewer is in the process of creating a second video of interviews with people about their experiences as LGBTQ.
“The act of self-representation helps to break these narrowly defined roles and boundaries. When minority groups and individuals, such as queer people of color, take selfies, they are actively demonstrating against the narrow boundaries set forth by institutions. They are building a base of individuals that celebrate diversity and individualism. In the past, disciplinary control have forbid workers from wearing braided hairstyles common in Black culture. Selfies are reaffirming that wearing braided hair, performing gender, and being queer and happy is a positive act worth celebrating. Selfies from minority communities often receive hundreds to thousands of comments and “notes” that produces a psychological benefit to the uploader (feels better about self in a world that denies identity), affirmation for others in the community, and a certain “cool” factor or newfound appreciation from mainstream society”
Watch her video here: Selfie Revolution Ted Talk