20 research outputs found

    Fiercely Real?:Tyra Banks and the making of new media celebrity

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    This paper will examine former supermodel Tyra Banks as a contemporary “celebrity entrepreneur,” focusing on Banks’ recent shift from television persona to multimedia icon within a neoliberal popular culture. I argue that our contemporary new media environment, marked by convergent media texts, self-branding, and interactivity, provides an ideal space for Banks to produce and globally circulate her postfeminist star text. Through her websites, Facebook, and Twitter confessionals, Banks is able to successfully navigate the contradictory discourses that insist female celebrities be both “authentic” selves while maintaining a disciplined, hegemonic femininity that becomes legitimized and naturalized. I conclude that while Banks’ mobilization of a hypervisibility and sense of individual agency generates an authenticity that may resonate with her fans, she remains contained by the neoliberal and postfeminist discourses that allow her to have such a prominent Internet presence. Consequently, this paper serves to raise unexplored questions about the relationship between celebrity culture, postfeminist and neoliberal subjectivities, and new media

    Girl Power's Last Chance?:Tavi Gevinson, Feminism, and Popular Media Culture

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    This paper focuses on Tavi Gevinson, the teenage fashion blogger-turned-editor in chief of the online magazine Rookie, as a case study with which to interrogate the production and circulation of feminist politics within a ‘post-girl power’ era. Drawing on theories of performativity, I employ a discursive and ideological textual analysis of Gevinson’s self-produced media and media coverage to map how she uses the opportunities afforded by digital media to rearticulate narratives of ‘girl power’ and perform a feminist girlhood subjectivity that makes feminism accessible to her many readers. While I argue that Gevinson’s ability to do so is positive and demonstrates the porous nature of postfeminist media culture, I also suggest that we must be critical of the ways in which her feminism functions as part of her self brand that reproduces feminism as white, middle-class, and ‘hip’. Thus, I conclude by questioning a larger cultural trend towards the branding of feminism and advocating the need for an intersectional approach to understanding the resurgence of feminism within contemporary popular media culture

    Beyond Becky: Early Feminist Blogging as Intersectional Praxis

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    At the turn of the twenty-first century, the feminist blogosphere emerged as a crucial site for community building and activist organization. Yet academic analysis of this early period of feminist Internet history remains limited, and popular attention has focused on the commercial success of white women bloggers like Jessica Valenti (Feministing), Jill Filipovic (Feministe), and Amanda Marcotte (Pandagon), who have since established careers in mainstream media industries, and have become figureheads for the popularization of feminism within media and celebrity culture throughout the 2010s (Banet-Weiser 2018; Keller and Ryan 2018). The history of feminist blogging then, has become tethered to strategies of neoliberal identity management (Novoselova and Jenson 2019) and a style of “white feminism” that neglects racial oppression in favor of an entrepreneurial approach to feminist activism (Daniels 2016). This paper presents an alternative history. Drawing on a larger book project, I chart the contributions of two women of color bloggers active in the early 2000s: brownfemipower and blackamazon. I employ the conference theme, “reinvention,” as a lens to consider how we might reinvent narratives of the early 2000s feminist Internet by theorizing early feminist Internet blogging as intersectional praxis. Through textual analysis of their blogs, I trace how the discursive practices of these bloggers are indicative of a history of explicit anti-racist feminism online, actively problematizing what has become known as “white feminism.” As such, this paper makes two interventions: First, it seeks to historicize the recent popular critiques of “white feminism” by scholars (Schuller 2021; Daniels 2021) and journalists (Zakaria 2012; Beck 2021) through showing how these ideas have a lengthy history within feminist digital cultures. Second, it challenges the framing of feminist blogging as a practice dominated by young white women, revealing how the presence of women of color bloggers were central to the development of feminist digital practices and contemporary feminist politics. Works Cited Banet-Weiser, Sarah. 2018. Empowered. Durham: Duke University Press. Beck, Koa. 2021. White Feminism: From the Suffragettes to Influencers and Who They Leave Behind. New York: Simon and Schuster. Daniels, Jessie. 2016. “The Trouble With White Feminism: Whiteness, Digital Feminism, and the Intersectional Internet.” In The Intersectional Internet: Race, Sex, Class, and Culture Online, edited by Safiya Umoja Noble and Brendesha M. Tynes, pp. 41 – 60. Daniels, Jessie. 2021. Nice White Ladies: The Truth About White Supremacy, Our Role In It, and How We Can Help Dismantle It. New York: Seal Press. Keller, Jessalynn and Maureen Ryan. 2018. Emergent Feminisms. New York: Routledge. Novoselova, Veronika and Jennifer Jenson. 2019. “Authorship and Professional Digital Presence in Feminist Blogs.” Feminist Media Studies 19 (2): 257-272. Shuller, Kyla. 2021. The Trouble With White Women: A Counterhistory of Feminism. New York: Bold Type Books. Zakaria, Rafia. 2021. Against White Feminism: Noes on Disruption. New York: W.W. Norton