Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change
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Leadership, Popular Culture and Social Change

Edited by Kristin M.S. Bezio and Kimberly Yost

The newest generation of leaders was raised on a steady diet of popular culture artifacts mediated through technology, such as film, television and online gaming. As technology expands access to cultural production, popular culture continues to play an important role as an egalitarian vehicle for promoting ideological dissent and social change. The chapters in this book examine works and creators of popular culture – from literature to film and music to digital culture – in order to address the ways in which popular culture shapes and is shaped by leaders around the globe as they strive to change their social systems for the better.
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Chapter 12: Between artifice and emotion: the “sad girls” of Instagram

Eileen Mary Holowka


This chapter examines the work of feminist Instagram artists in order to address how online feminist communities interact with technology in regard to authenticity and affect. Drawing on Audrey Wollen’s “Sad Girl Theory” and Magdalena Olszanowski’s description of “sensorship,” Holowka discusses the ways in which Instagram serves as a platform for uniting disparate communities of new feminists who have reclaimed the selfie as a subversive act that considers emotion, particularly sadness, as a form of resistance. Holowka argues that self-images and other manifestations of feminism on social media can improve understanding of not only the importance of online feminism but also how platforms coded as “inauthentic” can be used to express significant and even “authentic” emotions and thereby create the possibility for social change through the empowerment and leadership of marginalized bodies.

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