Intense Curation: How Religious, Ethnic Minority Women Navigate Instagram’s Beauty Standards (73998)

Session Information: Media Studies
Session Chair: Rachel Marie Abreu

Saturday, 23 September 2023 10:20
Session: Session 1
Room: Room B (Live Stream)
Presentation Type:Live-Stream Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 2 (Europe/Madrid)

Social media play a key role in women’s negotiations of beauty and femininity. However, platforms like Instagram continue to disseminate normative, Eurocentric portrayals of beauty that can alienate those who fall outside these criteria. Functioning as a subset of a larger research project, this paper examines religious, ethnic minority women’s perceived criteria for ideal beauty on Instagram and interrogates how their interactions with dominant beauty discourse subsequently shape performances of identity on the platform.

Although there exists burgeoning research on Instagram’s effects on body image, much of this research is concerned with solely White women’s experiences; treats ethnic minority women as a homogenous group; and limits definitions of beauty to body size and shape. Through in-depth focus groups and individual interviews with Muslim, Jewish and Christian women located globally, the present research emphasises an intersectional approach to explore more nuanced understandings of beauty and their implications for oft-marginalised groups.

The discussions reveal the women’s conflicted relationship to Instagram and the tensions of navigating prescriptive beauty ideals while upholding religious and cultural values. The findings also demonstrate the influence of capitalist interests on self-presentations of beauty, which are shaped by an immense pressure to curate one’s appearance and lifestyle in line with highly gendered and racist ‘aesthetic’ categories. The research ultimately concludes that religious, ethnic minority women are implicated in the increasing commodification of diversity within beauty discourse and highlights the significance of media literacy and religion as avenues for avoiding the most detrimental effects of Instagram’s beauty standards.

Rachel Marie Abreu, University of Stirling, United Kingdom

About the Presenter(s)
Rachel Abreu is a PhD Researcher and Tutor in the Department of Communications, Media, and Culture at the University of Stirling.

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00