This workshop was sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities and the Program In Gender & Sexuality Studies.
Rio Sofia first encountered sissification porn, where men are forced into womanhood as a form of punishment or humiliation, through fetish magazines. This rich underground visual language complicated her understanding of transgender representation and contradicted developing narratives in the mainstream that celebrated gender transition as an empowering form of self-determination. In her work, Sofia inserts her body into the forced feminization narrative by utilizing self-portraiture and conventions in print pornography which, in many ways, parallels Catholic religious iconography. By using formal techniques of composition, lighting, and the gaze, there is a divine and unquestionable social hierarchy. Sofia’s research hopes to explore and speak back to the complex relationship that exists between gender, transformation, and power.
Río Sofia is a visual artist and organizer. Her recent body of work explores forced feminization porn, a genre that fantasizes about experiencing gender transformation through coercion and loss of control. In 2019, this work was spotlighted in Out Magazine’s April and August print issues. She graduated from Cooper Union’s School of Art and is currently the Programs & Operations Coordinator at Queer|Art. As an organizer, Rio co-founded Body Hack, a monthly trans and nonbinary happy hour at Mood Ring that also serves as a platform for intracommunal fundraising. She is also developing an online database of trans femme artists, past and present.
Watch the video here.