While the business concept of female social media influencers and bloggers who generate income via “likes” and shares reinforces traditional notions of femininity by enabling women to engage in practices of care, beautification, and mothering, they are also changing the identity of the stereotypical “ideal” homemaker, says a new study.
Roles that replicate a kind of aestheticised homemaker ideal have re-emerged on social media, said the study published in the Journal of Cultural Economy. “This new ‘ideal’ exploits the image of a glamorous homemaker by showing it as an entrepreneurship,” said study author Magdalena Petersson McIntyre, researcher at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.
“It also challenges notions of consumption as something passive, rather than production and part of the social economy,” she said. As part of the study, Petersson McIntyre carried out in-depth interviews with influencers or bloggers across 2014 and 2016, and scrutinised 25 other similar accounts.What she uncovered was, through the need to generate financial income via ‘likes’ and shares, these women are being forced to develop a persona which is close to their real ego, but not their actual personality.
“This life shown on social media is not the real life of the influencers, but largely a created one. They are not really perfect housewives but ‘actors’, who show a picture of what it means to be a woman who fits the advertisers,” she said.To have a career as a successful blogger and influencer, you must also share personal experiences. Women who take this path have had to talk about things that they previously thought were private.
It is a movement which is seeing personal trauma demonstrated as triumphs when shared and spread exponentially in social media.”The women have had to talk about private things, often in front of a video camera. Because it is precisely these posts that, for example, they feel bad, which results in many likes and comments. Exactly the response that advertisers are demanding and, therefore, generates income for bloggers,” she said.