[This article is written for GWS365: Sex and Gender in Popular Media in University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign]
Individuals all the time say that Web is without doubt one of the most vital innovation on the earth as a result of it permits prompt info change and hyperlinks folks in several space to speak. Nevertheless, Web has another vital operate that it provides freedom and platform for minority teams to voice out their opinion and kind digital group to help one another. On Webtoon, there are quite a lot of comics about LGBTQ folks’s each day life that gained nice help from basic customers. It has turn out to be a counterpublic platform for LGBTQ teams for example the fact they confronted to public.
Webtoon are webcomics platforms created in South Korea that turn out to be increasingly more widespread today on the earth. One of the vital widespread web site is Line Webtoon which was created in 2004 by NAVER, one of many largest Web firm in South Korea. If we analyse it through the use of the round mannequin of media manufacturing proposed by Katherine Sender, Webtoon must be thought of as on the margins of media manufacturing due to its traits. Initially, Line Webtoon is a platform for folks to share their very own comics that even when they don’t seem to be skilled artists. Customers can solely join and instantly publish their comics that there’s a nice flexibility on this counterpublic. Nevertheless, it’s nonetheless semi-professional as a result of quite a lot of skilled artists nonetheless take part within the web site. Line Webtoon additionally gives straightforward publishing instruments and structure so artists can simply create their comics in an expert manner. Though Line Webtoon is funded by NAVER, it’s not the principle product by NAVER in comparison with its looking out engine and NAVER TV. Due to this fact, this digital comedian platform remains to be underfunded. Additionally, Line Webtoon doesn’t pay for the artists who publish within the web site but it surely permits readers to pay the artists in the event that they help their creation. Thus, artists on the web site are literally additionally underfunded. Due to this fact, we are able to categorized Webtoon as versatile, semi-professional and underfunded media manufacturing.
As it’s handy to publish, comics concerning minority group subject begin to seem. On its web site, quite a lot of comics are literally produced by folks of LGBTQ group. Considered one of a well-known comics that’s a few homosexual couple in Finland. It’s identify is Life Exterior the Circle which began from December of 2017.
By observing the remark part on the finish of every chapter, many of the responses are from customers who’re younger technology and like to learn comics. For this group of viewers, they’re comparatively open minded than most of the people as they perceive that Line Webtoon is a platform for creativity and innovation. Due to this fact, there are seldom quantity of criticism in the direction of LGBTQ group however quite a lot of feedback that praising the love between the homosexual characters. It could be additionally a motive that appeal to the LGBTQ authors to publish on Line Webtoon due to the open setting and younger viewers inhabitants. Due to this fact, they’ll efficiently create a counterpublic even when they’re the marginal group outdoors of the general public sphere, which Bryce J Renninger identified in her article of “The place I will be myself… the place I can communicate my thoughts”: Networked counterpublics in a polymedia setting.
Then, how LGBTQ group use counterpublics to withstand the social norms that all the time problem them? The artist of Life Exterior the Circle generally is a good instance on this case.
H-P Lehkonen is the artist of Life Exterior the Circle. He doesn’t additionally publish his comedian on Webtoon, but additionally publish a few of his brief comics on his private Tumblr web site, H-P’s Stuff. He initially creates his comedian on his Tumblr and one among his brief comedian received the 2017 Prism Award. This finally attracts quite a lot of readers to learn his comedian on the web site and Line Webtoon. As he’s a transgendered, he determined to let public to ask query concerning LGBTQ teams on his Tumblr web site.
H-P Lehkonen’s comics and web site have redefined the ideologies of gender and sexuality as a result of he confirmed the wrestle and actual emotions of being part of LGBTQ teams. It permits different customers to share their very own expertise of being a minority within the society and their questions concerning the discrimination confronted of their each day life. For instance, quite a lot of customers requested him about the way to take care of “transphobia” in life as a result of that cease folks to come back out of the “closet”. H-P Lehkonen identified that the society usually avoids mentioning the gender or sexuality of LGBTQ teams within the identify of respect. Nevertheless, this perspective truly hurt the LGBTQ teams as a result of ignorance is a sort of hurt to them additionally. This perspective exists as a result of the general public by no means settle for the gender or sexuality that’s outdoors of the social norms. He inspired folks going through the identical problem to separate themselves from people who find themselves hateful to LGBTQ teams completely with a purpose to have a greater life. His reply earned a large amount of “likes” from customers.
Life Exterior the Circle additionally elevated the media visibility of LGBTQ teams that there are greater than 200000 readers on Line Webtoon subscribed the comedian. If we additionally depend different comics associated to LGBTQ group points on Line Webtoon, there are greater than three hundreds of thousands readers subscribed them. These comics truly confirmed how LGBTQ group resist the stress from media invisibility on mainstream media platform. Increasingly more folks learnt their story on Line Webtoon and turn out to be extra open in the direction of LGBTQ teams. A number of customers consider that there’s nothing particular for folks having numerous gender or sexuality of their each day life whereas everybody faces comparable relationship downside additionally.
With out Web, LGBTQ teams would have been restricted their skill to voice out their opinion as they don’t seem to be accepted within the public sphere. Fortunately, Web permits them to voice out in digital counterpublics resembling Webtoon and Tumblr. These counterpublics give LGBTQ teams to share their life with basic public and rising the acceptance of them in society. Even when LGBTQ teams aren’t but within the “circle”, they’ll nonetheless discover their very own house outdoors of the “circle”.