Shamelessly cute: Understanding gender ambiguous identity performances via “The Desi Bombshell” Snapchat video selfies

  • Fatima Aziz École des Hautes en Sciences Sociales

Abstract

Indigenous Pakistani transgenders — khwaja sira — employ gender ambiguous identity performances as a resistance tactic against politics of shame. This article explores how a tactical performance of a gender ambiguous identity portrayed via Snapchat’s cute animal lenses can subvert the culture of gendered shaming. Drawing on two feminist resistance tactics: performative shamelessness and weaponized/agentic cuteness, I investigate how Snapchat’s animal lenses can be used to achieve a subversive effect as identified in the case of “The Desi Bombshell” — a fictive online persona. Through close reading and content analysis of “Desi Bombshell” video selfies, I propose the concept of shamelessly cute. I argue that a shamelessly cute, gender ambiguous performance is a novel resistance tactic on social media as it explicitly displays a clumsy, Snapchat enabled identity, while implicitly it challenges the Pakistani politics of shame from within its culture by reworking indigenous practices and gestures.

Author Biography

Fatima Aziz, École des Hautes en Sciences Sociales

Ph.D. candidate at École des Hautes en Sciences Sociales

Published
2021-03-27
How to Cite
Aziz, F. (2021). Shamelessly cute: Understanding gender ambiguous identity performances via “The Desi Bombshell” Snapchat video selfies. First Monday, 26(4). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i4.11677