Public femininities: Beauty work and sexuality projects in women’s lifestyle blogging

Lifestyle bloggers in Singapore frame ‘femininity’ as a public performance that can be achieved through the goods and services they market on their blogs. When commodified into quantifiable emblems and traded on the Internet, I term these performances ‘cyber-femininities’ in relation to Cornell’s work on hegemonic masculinities. To readers, bloggers are positioned as successful role models who divulge the behind-the-scenes ‘beauty’ work, and offer scripts to attain ideal femininities. This results in implicit homosocial policing in terms of conspicuous consumption, relational intimacy, class, and taste. However, what is sometimes obscured from viewers is the digital manipulation, camera work, and staging involved in producing these imageries. This presentation is based on one of my thesis chapters, in which I trace how the bodies of bloggers become ‘sexual projects’ by performing appropriate heterosexualities, successful ‘feminine’ body, or model roles as daughters, wives, and mothers. I argue that bloggers achieve ‘leadership’ in gender performance by ‘modeling’, ‘role-modeling’, and ‘role-playing’ their cyber-feminine personas.

Abidin, C. (2014) “Public femininities: Beauty work and sexuality projects in women’s lifestyle blogging” UWA Gender, Media, and Cultural Studies Seminar Series, University of Western Australia, Perth. May 21, 2014.

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