...But it was only in her mind.

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[personal!] I should be doing school stuff...
look around you: beard
...but I just spent the last 4 hours watching Youtube videos about trans issues and another videoblogger's experiences during his FTM transition.

NOTE: Please do not continue to read this post if you are homophobic, transphobic, biphobic, or anything like that. If that is the case, I don't even know why I am on your flist, though. I am homophobicphobic so we probably wouldn't get along. (Homophobic people scare the bejeesus out of me, srsly.)


Video blogs like this (and Youtube in general) make me so happy, because trans people are SO underrepresented or poorly represented in mainstream culture and media, especially transmen/FTM.

I love how Youtube gives (nearly) everyone the ability to represent themselves, to some extent. A videoblogger (or any kind of blogger) can be the scriptwriter/director/performer/editor/publisher of her/his/hir(I'm bad with 3rd gender pronouns) own content, and (some) people ALL OVER THE WORLD (almost) can access it in some way or another. Generally speaking. (There are obviously some barriers to access and to communication, etc, but that's not really my point right now.)

I'm pretty sure Youtube (created in 2005) did not exist when I started questioning my identity (around 14, so 2003-ish) and I pretty much had no flipping clue what was going on, or "wrong" with me. I do not at this point in my life believe that I am trans, but there have been times when I thought it was a possibility. I had almost no information about what that meant, though, so I was just terrified and hated myself. Of course, I managed to educate myself on "queer stuff" (I basically use the word queer to mean non-heteronormative, but other people may use it differently) without Youtube, as anyone before 2005 did, but I'm still always impressed by the power of these kind of media.

It makes me think of this time I went to an Internet Media panel/presentation during the Guelph Festival of Moving Media (formerly the Guelph International Film Festival) and I was SO JAZZED for it, because I obviously think Youtube is The Greatest Day and I want to have it's non-literal babies. However, I was slightly disappointed when the presentation was just two hours of some people showing some clips on Youtube and not really saying much of anything. It wouldn't be so bad if they had shown a vast array of videos to exemplify some of the multitude of genres available, but they showed "Don't Taze Me Bro" - seriously. And, okay, I can appreciate that they were demonstrating how someone can take cell phone footage of an event and post it and how it can spread, but they didn't have to show us like EIGHT different versions of the same video, including the rap remix! Clearly they were just killing time because they had no idea what they were doing. I could have made a better presentation with a day's notice. Because I love Youtube for MANY reasons.

Yes, I love it for the reasons that they showed, but so much more than that. I also love how WE become the producers of our own representations(vlogging), and how we can have the power to recontextualize something that already exists (fanvids), we can create our own cinematic and musical content, but we can also repurpose (with dubious legality) existing content. I like how I can find funny clips from shows I like and I can watch commercials from the 90s and I can watch cats being afraid of their own tails and I can watch people solve Rubik's cubes really fast and I can become aware of things I was not aware of before and I can POST MY OWN STUFF. It has actually become such an integral part of my life, I'm can't remember what I did without it.

That being said, there are also a lot of the same messages that you see in every other kind of media, but I don't really think that's avoidable. As the viewer, though, you have a choice of what you watch or not, much more control than cinema or even television. That's the major difference. In my Women's Studies class last semester, in the first seminar, the TA asked us if we thought that media like Youtube resisted hegemonic messages or reinforced them, and most of the people in my class said that they reinforced them, and the examples they used were makeup tutorial videos (oh yeah, that's another one, tutorials are good too) and how they perpetuated the idea that women need to wear makeup and need to wear it a certain way, etc. Okay...true...but you are ignoring EVERYTHING ELSE ON YOUTUBE* - you have a choice to watch those videos or not, plus there is a lot more options. Youtube allows you to hear the voices of people you would probably never hear on TV (and if you did, it would probably be some sensationalized TLC special). Yes, you can watch the same shows on Youtube as you can on TV, but on Youtube you can also skip through them, rewind them, COMMENT on them (although Youtube comments usually make me cry with rage at the stupidity of humanity, but in theory they are good), rate them, discuss them - which I know is not fully interactive, because the producers of the show have nothing to do with the person who posted the clips, but you can still communicate directly with other viewers, and control when, where, and how you watch it.

I like that I can watch the things that interest me and ignore the ones that don't, and I think that if it had been around (and this big) when I was younger I would have gotten over hating myself for things I didn't understand, like bisexuality and gender non-conformity. This isn't to say than anyone who does not have access to Youtube is going to hate themselves, and I know part of it is just that I have low self-esteem that Youtube cannot fix (and apparently nothing ever can because self-esteem is pretty much stable throughout life...Thanks, Psych Prof!), so I'm only speaking of my own experience. But hopefully I can extrapolate from it that YOUTUBE IS TEH GOOD SOMETIMEZ.

I'm sorry for rambling on about personal stuff, especially when I'm this tired and not making any sense. But I also kind of consider this "fandom"-related because I am a FAN of Youtube. :P

On a semi-related note: I hella want a beard. But not always...

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Yayyy this post makes me happy. I pretty much agree 100% with everything you said. Especially youtube/the internet as a tool of empowerment. I don't have the same identity issues (well, only in the "what the hell I go to Smith & am not attracted to girls wtf am I supposed to do for the next 2 years and will I ever get laid?" version, lol) but I definitely have had others and the internet has definitely helped with that. And as much as there is hate and prejudice on the internet, overall it has only helped reaffirm my beliefs and made me more self-confident.

Exactly. I just used one of my examples that was related to what I had been watching, but clearly there are a lot of other facets to my self and identity that the internet has helped me embrace. :D

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