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Ridiculing suffering on YouTube: digital parodies of Emo style
Umeå University, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4240-6490
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2071-349X
2014 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Numerous YouTube videos represent and comment on self-injury, as evidenced by a search for this term which returns about 123 000 results (June 6, 2014). In previous studies, we have explored how suffering, embodiment and gender are performed in such personal videos through the use of digital technology and the YouTube platform in particular (Johansson 2013, Sternudd and Johansson forthcoming, Johansson & Sternudd in press). There is, however, one category of video clips that deserves further discussion: those that parody self-injury videos and ridicule people who self-injure through imitation and trivialization.

In this paper, we analyse a number of such video parodies in order to demonstrate how humour is used to convey norms and ideas regarding mental suffering and gender. The existence of parodies implies that there is in fact a recognizable genre of self-injury videos to parody. Mockery, then, is not only aimed at self-injury as an embodied performance of mental suffering, but also at its digital display which tend to be ridiculed as mere attention-seeking. Furthermore, jokes often allude to gender stereotypes, revealing how performances of mental suffering are denigrated when associated with young femininity. Hence, we aim to discuss what these parodies tell us about the wider social and cultural context of suffering and about the relation between conceptualizations of suffering and constructions of community. To conclude, we suggest that humour in this context may be seen as transgressive insofar as it jokes about a controversial topic – suffering – and insofar as it is reappropriated or articulated by the very individuals who self-harm, but that the videos largely reinforce hegemonic ideas and the stigmatization of individuals who already suffer.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Inter-Disciplinary.Net , 2014.
Keyword [en]
Emo, Gender, Humour, Masculinity, Mental suffering, Parody, Queer, Self-injury, Social media, Video.
National Category
Cultural Studies
Research subject
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-39738OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-39738DiVA: diva2:786266
Conference
Making Sense of: Suffering, Dying and Death, Prague, Czech Republic, November 1-3, 2014
Available from: 2015-02-05 Created: 2015-02-05 Last updated: 2017-01-23Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
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Output format
  • html
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