Vassar College Digital Library
Through an analysis of gender and image theory as well as data gathered through survey, coding and interviews, I sought to explore how twenty-first century women both perform femininity through social media and challenge gendered stereotypes while doing so. I argue social media contributes to a jackpot economy that drives free private-public image production, primarily that of young women hoping to gain fame through sites like Instagram. Overall, I submit the culture industry, sorority recruitment and gendered expectations place an incredible amount of pressure on women to perform for the online public. With that in mind however, female social media users are not selling out online, rather they are complicit in their own objectification to attain power in the jackpot economy, which often forces them to police themselves to reap reward from the male audience and consumer culture.
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