"'Having it All' on Social Media: Entrepeneurial Femininity and Self-Branding among Fashion Bloggers." Social Media + Society, 2015.  

Emily Hund and Brooke Erin Duffy

Against the backdrop of the widespread individualization of the creative workforce, various genres of social media production have emerged from the traditionally feminine domains of fashion, beauty, domesticity, and craft. Fashion blogging, in particular, is considered one of the most commercially successful and publicly visible forms of digital cultural production. To explore how fashion bloggers represent their branded personae as enterprising feminine subjects, we conducted a qualitative analysis of the textual (n= 38 author narratives) and visual (n= 760 Instagram images) content published by leading fashion bloggers; we supplement this with in-depth interviews with eight full-time fashion/beauty bloggers. Through this data, we show how top-ranked bloggers depict the ideal of “having it all” through three interrelated tropes: the destiny of passionate work, staging the glam life, and carefully curated social sharing. Together, these tropes articulate a form of entrepreneurial femininity that draws upon post-feminist sensibilities and the contemporary logic of self-branding. We argue, however, that this socially mediated version of self-enterprise obscures the labor, discipline, and capital necessary to emulate these standards, while deploying the unshakable myth that women should work through and for consumption. We conclude by addressing how these findings are symptomatic of a digital media economy marked by the persistence of social inequalities of gender, race, class, and more.