The Discursive Construction and Performance of Gendered Identity on Social Media

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 501
Oral Presentation
Reza HASMATH , University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Julia COOK , University of Melbourne, Australia
This article looks at the construction and performance of gendered identity through the medium of social media. Data was collected from a sub-section of Facebook webpages belonging to the Slut Walk movement. Our analysis suggests that gender is constructed through the subjects’ participation in the ‘post-feminist masquerade’ – through which their gendered identity is defined in relation to a hegemonic masculine ideal. This situates the network of sites within a post-feminist context, characterised by the ambivalent and appropriative treatment of feminism. Acts of resistance are framed as individual, momentary ruptures of Judith Butler’s heterosexual matrix of ‘cultural intelligibility’. The online context of these ruptures is found to vest a creative potential, by removing the constraints of time and location, indicating that the impact of these ruptures may extend beyond its immediate environment.