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“Life sucks, coffee helps”: Articulating the authentic entrepreneur on YouTube's girlboss channels

   | 29 sty 2023


Common depictions of authentic self-presentation on social media are often interpreted through the lens of ambivalence, performance, or some kind of bind. Through the example of millennial women who call themselves girlbosses, this article explores how authenticity is articulated through three levels: productivity, ordinariness, and belonging. The study is part of a larger netnographic project in which 23 YouTube channels and related social media platforms have been observed for two years. Content analyses of observational and interview data suggest the authentic self is often represented and expressed through specific cultural repertoires (e.g., coffee) that articulate girlbosses as productive and ordinary entrepreneurs seeking belonging and meaning. Further, while digital media allows new kinds of entrepreneurship, at the same time, self-employed digital workers, influencers, and entrepreneurs are left alone to advance their careers in the midst of rising popular misogyny and lacking job security. I argue that participating in communicative practices of entrepreneurial femininity offers girlbosses a promise of happiness if they stay “authentic”; and yet, in a cruel way, this promise also prevents itself from actualising.

Częstotliwość wydawania:
2 razy w roku
Dziedziny czasopisma:
Social Sciences, Communication Science, Mass Communication, Public and Political Communication