Feminist Media Studies | VOL. 13
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Fixing Gwen

Publication Date Sep 1, 2013

Abstract

In this project I present a case study of (trans)gender mediation—a discourse analysis of news around the murder of Gwen Araujo, a “transgender teen,” in Newark, California, 2002–2006—and I read that discourse in the context of larger contemporary cultural dynamics and movements around trans and genderqueer politics. News narratives around the Araujo case had some progressive implications, as residual marginalization tropes for gender nonconforming identities were sidelined and a hate crime frame was constructed in news for the murder. However, the discourse also manifested a persistent tendency to contain and restrict gender meanings and to recuperate critical gender challenges back into conventional binary categories. I identify and discuss some of the gender “fixing” strategies mobilized in this discourse, including the mobilization of “wrong body discourse” as an overarching (and problematic) explanation for gender nonconformity. Like Matt Shepard's murder a few years before, the Araujo case represents a critical discourse moment in genderqueer media politics, illuminating, in microcosm, some critical dynamics in the mediation of (trans)gender politics more generally.

Concepts

Discourse Analysis Of News Transgender Teen Critical Dynamics Gender Politics Mediation Of Politics Moment In Politics Critical Moment Gender Nonconforming Identities Crime Frame Nonconforming Identities

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