Skip to Content

Visual and Lingual Worlds as Seen Online: (Re)Structuring Gender through Lifestyle Vlogs and Videos

«Back To Seminars

Organizer: Iqra Shagufta Cheema

Contact the Seminar Organizers

This seminar aims to delve into the intricate intersections between gender, language, digital media, and postcolonialism around gender in postcolonial communities and countries.

With lifestyle Vlogs, TikTok videos, and Instagram reels penetrating every lived moment of people’s online presence, people now have access to the lives and homes of those living in different corners of the world or living in a different socioeconomic world around them. Manual laborers and daily wage workers witness the lives – the days and nights – of the filthy rich in their home countries or other countries. These interactions and events are often in a different language which could be described, employing Rebecca L. Walkowitz’s term a little differently, as born translated as these experiences have “multiple beginnings” and they “participate in and cuts across various collectivities” (83). These visual texts often come with close captioning and subtitles in English. How do these unfamiliar and defamiliarized worlds shape the worldly experiences of the women in postcolonial communities?

Arguably, social media and its linguistic translations mediate, embed, co-produce, and reproduce the normative racial, ethnic, sexual, and gendered structures both locally and globally (Baer 2016; Gieseking 2017; Noble 2018; Akbari 2019; Benjamin 2019; Mullaney et al. 2021; Nelson et al. 2022). However, they also offer “new possibilities of politics of difference” and “understanding locations” (Lothian & Phillips 2013; Tuzcu 2016; Lewis et al. 2018; Philips 2021). Due to their wider accessibility, automated translation features and the subtitles, women and marginalized groups have employed these digital tools to grow transnational feminist movements like #YesAllWomen, #MeToo, and #IdleNoMore as a means of resistance, to raise feminist consciousness, and create solidarity. However, the same lingually and visually accessible media has also widened the socioeconomic gap and the realization of that gap.

With this seminar, we hope to enrich the conversations around cultural studies of language and gender in postcolonial contexts. Proposals might examine, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Politics of language and social media
Translation, untranslatability, or manufactured languages in social media
Lifestyle Vlogs and videos and negotiations of gendered performance
Gender, language, and representation of local and global marginalization
Language, subalternity, and decoloniality
Algorithms, linguistics hierarchies, and gendered language communities
 Gendered domestic technologies and gendered roles
Digital colonialisms and decolonization
Generative AI and algorithmic bias
Capitalism, lifestyle expectations, and gender
Love, intimacy, heterosexual family, and the lifestyle vlogs
Gender identity, performativity, and social media
Promissory technologies, gender roles, and digital divide(s)
Cultural authenticity and performance

«Back To Seminars