Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Elizabeth Wissinger

Subject Categories

Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Women's Studies


Influencer marketing, self-sexualization, authenticity, self-branding, hyper-consumption, beauty, exclusion


In today’s social media-centered popular culture, fashion, and lifestyle influencers maintain rigid and sexist forms of femininity which are spread to a large consumer base through influencer marketing. Research on postmodern feminism has revealed that the standardized modern woman is supplied with freedom, fun, and sexiness, allowing women to live their lives as they best see fit. Yet not all women are able to experience similar feelings of liberation and gender inequality is still a regular feature of society. This study observes Instagram images, captions, and comment sections of 61 distinct female influencers from the Instagram explore page. The evidence shows that female independence is promoted to Instagram users by influencers through superficial themes of female empowerment which are structured by a limiting neoliberal system in which only the most privileged women of society are able to succeed. Contrary to the uninhibited v essence of femininity, which is spread through influencer marketing, femininity today still functions as an oppressive tool that is instrumental in furthering gendered differences and injustice.

This work is embargoed and will be available for download on Saturday, December 02, 2023

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