Performative Crash Sites: Spectacle, Intersectionality and Digital Visibility On Tumblr
The micro-blogging platform of Tumblr is becoming a digital landscape that takes intersectional bodies seriously. Not because of a mainstream or academic feminist intervention, but through the work and involvement of young, Queer of Color individuals who move their bodies to the forefront of digital visibility. Tumblr dashboards, and the bodies that fill them, all function as performative crash sites: the theoretical location where race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religion, and other embodiments collide. In a performative crash site, these constructs become violently entangled. Just like a “real” crash, one can identify separate constructs, but to do so, they must look among the pieces of the others.
Central to this theoretical approach are the ideas of spectacle, audience, and intent. To continue with the metaphor of a car crash, there is very often an audience for these sites of collision. Spectators are always eager to see how “bad” the crash is, and what the outcome if the wreckage will be. Both the Tumblr users’ bodies and their dashboards are sites of
constant spectacle, scrutiny, and high visibility. The public nature of the Tumblr, combined with the purposeful conspicuousness of the bloggers make it a site where narratives of embodiment, spectacle, and digital visibility within intersectional bodies easily accessible. As it is a digital space that is controlled by the bloggers who place their bodies at the visible forefront, Tumblr is a location that seriously acknowledges intersectionality, grants visibility and voice to intersectional bodies, and functions as a performative crash site.