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Breaking the binary : exploring gender self-presentation and passing on #TransIsBeautiful on Instagram

The advent of social media enabled sexual minorities, as LGBTQ+ people, to find a community online. However, it can be difficult for transgender people to express their gender identity without risking a form of social injustice, as transgender people are not included in the prevailing gender binary. This thesis explores how transgender people present gender on the hashtag #TransIsBeautfiul on Instagram and to what extent to what extent can a form of ‘passing’ be seen in how transgender people adhere to expressing societal gender norms. Goffman’s (1979) theory on gender display is adapted as a main framework to analyse 346 posts with a qualitative content analysis. The theories of gender display (1979) and self-presentation (1956) by Goffman and the concept of passing by Serano (2007) are also employed for a deeper understanding of the social construction of gender. Findings show a great diversity of gender self-presentations. Transgender people tend to express their masculinity and femininity in an exaggerated way, by emphasizing certain masculine and feminine aspects according to societal gender norms and therefore ‘pass’ as a ‘natural’ member of the gender binary. In complete contrast, there are also transgender people who challenge the gender binary by expressing themselves as non-binary. They represent themselves within and outside the gender binary by mixing and minimizing feminine and masculine aspects. These results show that for transgender people there are two ways of coping with societal gender norms and put the gender binary model into question.
Date January 2018
CreatorsRutten, Theresa
PublisherUppsala universitet, Institutionen för informatik och media
Source SetsDiVA Archive at Upsalla University
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeStudent thesis, info:eu-repo/semantics/bachelorThesis, text

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