Date of Award
Master of Arts
Michael Z Newman, Jeremiah Favara
beauty vloggers, digital media, feminist media studies, intersectionality, labor, YouTube
My thesis centers Black women in conversations of digital feminized and aspirational labor online, reframing prior scholarship that has generally identified digital content creators as young, white, female, cisgender, and upper class. I use an intersectional, Black cyberfeminist approach to better understand how race and gender impact digital feminized and aspirational labor. In a 2015 study of fashion bloggers, Brooke Duffy and Emily Hund identified three elements of entrepreneurial femininity: discourses of “the destiny of passionate work,” staging “the Glam Life,” and sharing “carefully curated” intimate details of one’s personal life on social media. My thesis applies these three elements of entrepreneurial femininity as a framework to explore how they shape content created by Nigerian-American vlogger Jackie Aina. I analyze beauty and lifestyle videos and vlogs posted to Aina’s channel from 2018-2021, as well as popular press interviews and posts from Aina’s personal websites and social media to better understand how she frames the labor she engages in. Focusing on labor and the discourse of “passionate work,” I argue that Aina performs multiple levels of paid and unpaid labor by developing a distinct persona and branded identity, building affective communities with her audience, and navigating racism online.
Monier, Melissa, "“Being Myself Paid Off:” Blackness, Feminized Labor, and Authenticity in Black Beauty and Lifestyle Content on Youtube" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 3193.