The past decade has seen an increasing visibility of Thai transgender women (kathoey) in the social media realm. Many kathoey, a Thai colloquial term for transgender woman, ventured out into the platform economy by sharing self-produced content and hoping for monetary gains. Some achieved the status of social media influencers while content creators have become a lucrative career option globally. The emerging opportunity to acquire more capital is of significance especially when studies show that kathoey remain ostracized culturally and economically in Thai society. This paper will examine the growing, yet underexplored, kathoey social media influencers whose daily usage of media became a new form of work. Drawing on Marxist-inspired creative labour theories conceptualized from gender studies perspectives, this study examines the lived experience of kathoey influencers whose content production activities are intertwined with the global platform economy and the local socio-economic structure. In-depth interviews of 12 notable and well-established kathoey social media influencers were conducted. Research questions that this research project poses include: 1) In what way do the Thai gender discourse and emerging form of platform works help define what it means to be kathoey creative labours? 2) To what extent can the kathoey creative labors negotiate with the stigmatized gender tropes through their daily works which involve community, creativity and commerciality?
Treepon Kirdnark, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand
About the Presenter(s)
Dr Treepon Kirdnark is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand
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