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