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Agencing femininity: digital Mrs. Consumer in intra-action

Journal article
Authors Magdalena Petersson McIntyre
Published in Journal of Cultural Economy
Volume 13
Issue 1
Pages 54-72
ISSN 1753-0350
Publication year 2020
Published at Gothenburg Research Institute (GRI)
Centre for Consumer Science
Pages 54-72
Language en
Keywords Femininity, blogs, intra-activity, influencers, digital devices
Subject categories Civil Engineering, Cultural Studies, Ethnology, Economics and Business


Social media is abound with women writing about consumption goods and practices associated with femininity and heterosexual nuclear family life, such as being married, dressing, cooking and home decoration. This article examines how the housewife ideal can be an attractive identity in the 2010s and, drawing on the post-humanist performativity by Karen Barad (2007), it maps the material-discursive agencies that enable the re-emergence of this figure. Building on in-depth interviews with women who refer to themselves as influencers and bloggers, and visual and textual analyses of their Instagram-accounts, including links to sponsors and comments from followers, the article analyzes how the tensions between these women's real lives and their cyber lives, become meaningful in this technological culture. The breaking of boundaries between human and non-human resulting from digital technology has re-configured the housewife role by transforming boundaries between intimate and commercial practices. By focusing on the three areas: Transforming the feminine body, Transforming Intimacy, and Entrepreneurial femininity the article shows how agency emerges from within transforming practices of body, intimacy and entrepreneurship, intra-acting within this new housewife phenomenon. In doing so it discusses the negotiations and space for agency these women thought that digital technologies provided for them.

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