U Ok Hun? The digital commodification of white woman style

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Sociolinguistic research has increasingly explored the ways in which semiotic features are variably recruited to stylistically perform enregistered social personae. In this paper, I add to this body of work by exploring the emergence of a stereotypically feminine style and persona that is widespread in British social media. Specifically, I examine the prevalence of non-standard spellings (e.g., <dallyn> darling, <gawjus> gorgeous), discourse features (e.g., hun, babe, u ok hun?), and characterological tropes (e.g., the life motto ‘live, love, laugh’) as indexical representations of a particular type of classed, gendered, and ethnic identity in a corpus of Instagram memes. I demonstrate that these features have become enregistered as a characterological figure of a British working-class White woman—the Hun—that is stylistically deployed as a digital commodity register. Concluding, I emphasise the need for research to engage more fully with stylisation and commodification in social and digital media interaction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-504
JournalJournal of Sociolinguistics
Issue number4
Early online date2 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • digital culture
  • identity
  • LGBTQ+
  • memes
  • social media
  • stylisation


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