YouTube's Vlog Authenticity in the Performance of Femininity


YouTube’s Vlog Authenticity in the Performance of Femininity

By Raphael Rosalen
Faculty Sponsor: Tara McPherson
September 8, 2017

One of the winners of University of Southern California's ten Discovery Scholar Prizes for Academic Year 2017-2018. 

In March 2017 I produced a remix video (read personal statement) for a class through which I started observing the ideas of authenticity, influence and femininity on YouTube. This video led to such interesting in-class discussions that it inspired me to continue investigating new media's power. Granted USC's Provost's Undergraduate Research Summer 2017 Fellowship, I took this opportunity to expand on these new media concepts surrounding YouTube and gender performance. To analyze the authenticity factor of YouTube vlogs related to the beauty vlog genre, I began by looking up articles with the keyword combinations of “feminism” and “makeup”; “vlog” and “culture”; “makeup” and “videos”; and “femininity” and “vlog”. At first, I planned on conducting an extensive analysis of YouTube videos, but as I was reading and developing my theories, I saw that more specific theoretical knowledge needed to be developed in order to analyze the videos in depth. Thus, I created my own database of theories that facilitated an understanding of the role of authenticity in YouTube videos. For this, I divided the subject into sections: (1) the construction of authenticity; (2) the value of authenticity; (3) the effects of authenticity; and (4) the effect of YouTube’s authenticity over the performance of femininity. Afterwards, I contacted thirteen of the most popular beauty gurus on YouTube attempting to interview them, but only one responded and she was not available to be interviewed on the research’s topic.

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