Jamie Raines and the Photobooth

I first found hope that I could transition from a petite twink to a passing man when I saw ‘Jammidodger’s YouTube video “FTM Transgender: Photo a day transition timelapse.” In the beginning circa 2012-ish, Jamie looks very similar to a lot of pre-transition men I know: gauges, dark clothes and  hair stuck up in all directions, face tilted down and eyebrows raised just a bit. (I am very familiar with this facial expression.) He has nearly the same smile and he is in nearly the same spot every picture. As the pictures go on, he smiles less and there are more pictures without his shirt on. The background shifts along with his hair, which moves around but is never parted on the left. About 1:30 into the video, he is showing stubble and his smile comes back. His shoulders grow broader and he looks so much fuller. Around 2:10, he has a full beard and he looks like the Jamie that his YouTube followers know today 2016 to 2018.

Jamie is among the most popular transgender YouTubers and, much like Rettberg writes about Brown, using serial selfies he ‘breaks down taboos’ about being on hormones, creating very realistic and honest videos. As of 10/22/18, 240,027 people have watched Jamie’s transition and over 208,000 are subscribed to him. Buzzfeed made an article summarizing his journey and pointing out the subtle changes to his structure, and Channel 4 condensed his images into a smooth stream of only 34 seconds. Rettburg says that ‘gender and race may have a lot to do with the different reception’ of time lapse videos. The eternal question is: how does a person outside society’s view of gender fit into all of this? Wikipedia defines gender presentation as a person’s behavior, mannerisms, interests, and appearance that are associated with gender in a particular cultural context. Arguably, gender dysphoria, the misalignment between one’s sex and gender, is caused by a culture’s view of what a person should be: IE, Jamie did not look ‘like a man should’, therefore people called him a female, which caused him discomfort and dysphoria. Taking testosterone was his way of presenting himself to the world as a man, and as he became more recognizably male those around him recognized him as a man as well, closing that metaphorical gap and causing Jamie to feel comfortable in his own skin. Taking this series of photos chronicled that journey from uncomfortable twink to confident man.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. B. Robinson says:

    I admire what you did here. You didn’t position your topic in Rettgberg’s text, but rather, introduced your topic, made the post about that topic, and integrated Rettberg where it was fitting to do so. This piece is well done. You synthesized a wide range of information and made it readable, accessible and also thought-provoking. I think your piece does two things that good writing should. It informs and simultaneously opens up the reader’s mind to new questions and curiosities. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

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