Handbook of Research on Gender and Marketing
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Handbook of Research on Gender and Marketing

Edited by Susan Dobscha

Susan Dobscha and the authors in this Handbook provide a primer and resource for scholars and practitioners keen to develop or enhance their understanding of how gender permeates marketing decisions, consumer experiences, public policy initiatives, and market practices.
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Chapter 5: The hashtaggable body: negotiating gender performance in social media

Lauren Gurrieri and Jenna Drenten

Abstract

This chapter explores how hashtagging has been employed by consumers of social media as a digital practice that maps particular understandings of bodies and gender. Body-related hashtags communicate standards of beauty and body ideals, offering insights into the ways in which cultural ideologies of the body are constructed in social media. We present a meta-analysis of extant research studies that examine practices of hashtagging as related to gender and the body. This uncovers three key themes in the literature; namely, that body-related hashtags function as indicators of group identity, reinforcers of desirable body types and initiators of digital protest. The hashtaggable body presents rich opportunities for scholars to deepen our understanding of gender and social media as it relates to self-presentation and performance. We offer a roadmap for future directions for scholarship to examine both the gendered underpinnings of the hashtaggable body and the ways in which body-related hashtags challenge, produce or reproduce offline gender norms.

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