What a drag? Popular culture and the commodification of "Feminine" -other bodies
Embargo Lift Date: 2018-01-27
Baştürk, Tonguçnaz Seleme
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This thesis explores the issue of the appropriation of emancipatory potential in an advanced capitalist society, particularly through neoliberal discourse that maintains patriarchal ideology, through an analysis of “feminine” other bodies. It focuses on the boom in representations of drag queens and transgender women in U.S. media over the last half decade in the context of the longtime repression of nonheteronormativity. This study aims to address the societal restrictions on “feminine” bodies and whether the seeming liberalization of them in popular culture is not merely a reason for celebrating “progress” in recognizing the disempowered, but may also signal the promotion of other changes and values within a capitalist system based on consumerism, as with post-feminism. It inquires about various questions pertaining to sexuality and its performances, the role of artistic pursuits in communal and individual life, the influence of the media and attempts of meaningmaking in a culture oversaturated with carefully constructed media texts and commodification. The thesis concludes by highlighting how mainstreamed depictions of such subjects are susceptible to absorption into the system, particularly one that thrives by channeling the desire for subversion and liberation. It underlines the threat of such representations becoming superficial tokens that gain legitimacy by appearing like emancipatory values despite their presentation being a depoliticized one, which assume the semblance of an anti-ideological challenge that hides their very own incorporation into the system and the subsequent strengthening of dominant discourses.