Earlier this month, I was interviewed by reporter Emma Grey Ellis for an article in Wired titled “Why women are called ‘influencers’ and men ‘creators'”.
If you have read the article, here are three important snippets from our interview that got cut that I’d like to share:
1) Some influencers who are gender minorities in genres (i.e. male beauty, female gamer) intentionally self-brand with their genders as a niche. This may not help to deflect stereotypes or progress gender equity and representation in the industry, but some choose to exploit this “exotica” or “edge” for their personal gain.
2) Conceptually, the history of “influencers” is rooted in female-dominated lifestyle blogs, and “creators” in male-dominated YouTube. The former relied more on using their bodies as fleshy billboards to narrate their lifestyles as vehicles of persuasion, but are often unfairly excluded as “creators” because their content primarily focused on themselves.
3) Cite women/non-male scholars, cite scholars of colour. Sometimes many of these generalisations we offer and debunk are based on White, middle-class readings/experiences of phenomena. There is so much diversity out there, but we need to know where to look when human and algorithmic recommendations obstruct.
If you’d like to read more about influencers and gender, here is a piece from my collaborator and I on how women lifestyle bloggers are taking ownership over and self-branding their feminine corporeality as an entrepreneurial strategy:
Abidin, Crystal, and Joel Gwynne. 2017. “Entrepreneurial Selves, Feminine Corporeality, and Lifestyle Blogging in Singapore.” Asian Journal of Social Science 45(4-5): 385-408. DOI: 10.1163/15685314-04504002 <Paywalled | pdf>