"We Belong to Something Beautiful": Julie Vu's and Madeline Stuart's Use of Minority Identity as a Popular Feminist Self-branding Strategy on Instagram

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Abstract

This article analyses the use of minority identity as a popular feminist self-branding strategy on Instagram. Zooming in on the internet celebrities, Julie Vu, a Canadian transgender model, beauty queen and makeup artist, and Madeline Stuart, an Australian photo/runway model with Down syndrome, we explore the ways in which they both engage in building and strengthening their self-branding practices by actively drawing on their own self-representational identity work as minorities. We situate Vu and Stuart within a framework of contemporary branding culture and popular feminism, and map their journeys as users of different social media platforms, as well as their locations within online celebrity categories, leading to an analysis of their current engagements with Instagram as their main self-branding platform. The article argues that minority identity, as it is expressed in the cases of Vu and Stuart, has become a significant, if not essential, element in the broader landscape of self-branding practices and strategies on social media.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInformation, Communication & Society
ISSN1369-118X
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

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