The best friend, the boyfriend, other girls, hot guys, and creeps: the relational production of self on Tumblr

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Abstract

This article interrogates how youthful feminine selves are relationally articulated by reference to post-feminist economies of value on the blogging platform Tumblr. I examine a public on Tumblr in which everyday experiences in young women’s lives are narrated through reaction-GIF blog posts. Combining GIFs and captions, the posts capture moments ranging from the rage “when I see some chick getting all flirty with my crush” to the self-satisfaction “when my bestie and I congratulate each other on being the most attractive betches in the room.” In this context, post-feminist individuality is relationally made in two principal ways: through implicit assumptions of the reader as “spectatorial girlfriend” who is able to understand and “get” the references in the posts; and through the key social figures of the best friend, Other girls, hot guys, creeps, and the boyfriend, who are reconfigured as resources through which to tell a normative post-feminist self. Such techniques of conversion and use demonstrate not only that young women are labouring to demonstrate selfhood within frameworks of post-feminist normativity, but that post-feminist cultures also construct social knowledges which young women use to connect with imagined others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-925
Number of pages15
JournalFeminist Media Studies
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • friendship
  • Post-feminism
  • relationality
  • self
  • sexuality

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