Gender, Race, and Authenticity: Celebrity Women Tweeting for the Gaze

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Book Chapter

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racialization, gender, Twitter, Twitpic, Miley Cyrus, Kim Kardashian, postfeminism

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Examining the construction of celebrities Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian as willfully self-objectifying on Twitter, we ask: What are the implications when women are presented as complicit in the creation of the images that put them on display, where the recipient of the gaze is a participant in creating the image? And how does racialization figure in this setup? The chapter recuperates feminist scholarship on practices of looking; while some surveillance technologies may be new, the forms of oppression reproduced by them are not. In the popular press, Cyrus, constructed as white, is situated as agentic in actively fashioning her body for public display (through exercise and diet), while Kardashian, often presented as a woman of color, is articulated as always-already gaze-worthy, reducing her agency. Newer media practices operationalize and reproduce a masculine gaze that inscribes troubling racialized conceptions of women’s sexuality, articulating women as responsible for their own objectification, as well as dangerously eliding the process of objectification.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Gender, Race, and Authenticity: Celebrity Women Tweeting for the Gaze, in R. E. Dubrofsky & S. A. Magnet (Eds.), Feminist Surveillance Studies, Duke University Press