Shipping The Margin To The Centre: Excavating Tumblr; Filling In The Self
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Queer fandoms on tumblr aid in the formation of identity and the self. As a micro-blogging website, tumblr works to create a constantly expanding archive of each user’s posts, and thus can potentially document the development of the self. Some of its users may be undergoing a shift in queer identity and thus be seeking others, fictional or real, who are undergoing the same thing. Other users have already undergone this shift and are using fandom in order negotiate and manage this change in self identity. The queer self is one frequently contested both by society and the individual. Tumblr aids in the fight against heteronormativity, and archives the acts of identity formation. Queer fandom provides a doorway directly to a fictional queer character, or characters, who can help to assemble a user’s self and provide an anchor, drawing other like users together. In this thesis I use my position as an indigenous member of the tumblr community to navigate female-orientated queer fandoms. I investigate user’s interactions with fandom characters, fandom relationships and each other, in order to show how tumblr can be a way to assemble and display the self. By examining posts from a range of fandoms I am able to examine the way users assemble aspects of the self. I discuss the difficulties of representation on television faced by queer women, and how fandoms can provide users a lens through which they can see an aspect of their self that is often closeted by society, or even closeted by the user themselves. I have found that users take to tumblr to assemble aspects of their self. Through their interactions with shows, characters, and each other, users are able to discover fragments of the self, new and old, and use tumblr to display these fragments. I can therefore conclude that for members of tumblr that reside within female-orientated queer fandoms tumblr has provided them with a space where they can negotiate their identity, and collect and assemble aspects of the self.
Simpson, Alexandra Louise Elizabeth (2015). Shipping The Margin To The Centre: Excavating Tumblr; Filling In The Self. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from