305MC – Essay Plan

Question – How does the media and popular culture represent/portray violence and discrimination against transgender people through the use of Power, Memory & Spectacle?

I have chosen to write my essay on how the media represents/portrays violence and discrimination against transgender people in different forms of the media, particularly focusing on news articles, social media and documentary. The event that I will be looking into is the murder of transgender woman Hande Kader, who was raped and burnt in Turkey. I shall concentrate on how news articles presented the information about her death and the lack of information about transgender women in the media as a whole. My argument will be how the media publishes articles about transgender people in comparison to how they publish articles about heterosexual people. I will analyse how the information is presented differently through different news articles using the key themes. I will also look at the documentary ‘Laverne Cox: Presents the T word’ and explore this show through power, memory and spectacle.

Foucault’s theories will be embedded throughout this essay, specifically his theory on discourse. I will be discussing what the dominant discourse is in terms of sexuality and the news articles. I will also explore why this is the dominate discourse and touch on the term normalisation. In terms of dominant discourse, I shall look into the article ‘Why men kill transwomen’ by Judith Butler and analyse this. The need for confession will be explored here and will be linked to the documentary Laverne Cox: Presents the T word. Furthermore I will discuss how the world has become a singularly confessing society, focusing on specific examples from the documentary. Foucault’s theory on power being performed by an institution rather than an individual will be explored in relation to the news organisations and how tell us what they want to tell us.

Memory will be explored in terms of social media. For example, people hash tagging to raise awareness and pay tribute to those who have faced violence and discrimination just because of their sexuality. In addition I will also be exploring prosthetic memory in terms of social media. Twitter will be referenced by looking at posts with the hashtag #HandeKadereSesVer and I will also discuss if this became a trend which will link to spectacle. In addition, I will talk about how this was turned into a spectacle as it made its way around different forms of media. I will also be looking at the transgender day of remembrance and will link it to Bauldrillard theory of trying to correct the past through practices of commemoration and remembrance. This will also be linked to power, through the use of institutions deciding what memories live and what memories don’t.

In terms of spectacle I will focus on how the media has made a spectacle out of these stories, I will also look at how the media anticipates the spectacle. For example, the BBC did not publish a story of Hande Kader’s death until there was a protest in Turkey. I will question whether they were going to publish this story if there was no protest.