Policing “Fake” femininity: Authenticity, accountability, and influencer antifandom

Brooke Erin Duffy*, Kate M. Miltner, Amanda Wahlstedt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although social media influencers enjoy a coveted status position in the popular imagination, their requisite career visibility opens them up to intensified public scrutiny and—more pointedly—networked hate and harassment. Key repositories of such critique are influencer “hateblogs”—forums for anti-fandom often dismissed as frivolous gossip or, alternatively, denigrated as conduits for cyberbullying and misogyny. This article draws upon an analysis of a women-dominated community of anti-fans, Get Off My Internets (GOMIBLOG), to show instead how influencer hateblogs are discursive sites of gendered authenticity policing. Findings reveal that GOMI participants wage patterned accusations of duplicity across three domains where women influencers seemingly “have it all”: career, relationships, and appearance. But while antifans’ policing of “fake” femininity may purport to dismantle the artifice of social media self-enterprise, such expressions fail to advance progressive gender politics, as they target individual-level—rather than structural—inequities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1657-1676
Number of pages20
JournalNew Media and Society
Volume24
Issue number7
Early online date9 Jul 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • anti-fandom
  • authenticity
  • cancel culture
  • gender
  • influencers
  • online hate
  • social media

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