The recent proliferation of transgender images in the media of the Global North has been widely regarded as supporting transgender political and social equality. But do these images do justice to the complexity of transgender lives? Who are images of transgender identity made for, and whose interests do they serve? Instead of discussing media that produce a transgender object for public consumption, this essay’s author is interested in theorizing a trans point of media reception for the popular image. This essay illustrates how transgender subjects might fashion their own archives of becoming through encounters with media that unintentionally support transgender embodiment as a possibility in the world. Revisiting his phenomenological encounters with the film Under the Skin and the “Milk: It Does a Body Good” ad campaign, the author analyzes how certain media objects have the unexpected power to “move” the transgender subject into becoming.
Revisitation: A Transgender Phenomenology of the Media Image
By Cael M. Keegan, 2016