Article in print feels like a materialisation of sweat, tears and great collaboration

Blogs, Digital culture, Gender, identity, Media, Research

There’s nothing quite like paper when it comes to the reading experience!

Yesterday, I received my hard copy of the Journal of Marketing Management Special Issue on gender in marketing and consumer research, guest edited by Zeynep Arsel, Kirsi Eräranta and Johanna Moisander.

Journal of Marketing Management, Special Issue on gender in marketing theory

Journal of Marketing Management, Special Issue on gender in marketing theory

Our article 'Fashionably voluptuous: normative femininity and resistant performative tactics in fatshion blogs' in one of the Special Issue articles

Our article ‘Fashionably voluptuous: normative femininity and resistant performative tactics in fatshion blogs’ in one of the Special Issue articles

Our paper ‘Fashionably voluptuous: normative femininity and resistant performative tactice in fatshion blogs‘,written by my colleague Annamari Huovinen and myself, was published in this issue. This was a great and rewarding project, and our first collaboration in terms of academic research. It feels satisfying to see the words and sentiments in print that we worked so hard for. To feel the paper, to turn the pages, is such a different experience from staring at pixels which much of academic work amounts to nowadays.

In this article, we examine fatshion blogs (that is, ‘fat fashion’, or plus-size fashion blogs) as a site of subversive identity work, but also as an instance of consumer resistance. Fatshion blogging, with its image sharing, constitutes a performative act that draws on the normative notions of beauty, gender identity and femininity to contruct identities that seek to subvert the prevailing ideals while working to create a space for alternative female subjectivities. However, largely mediated by the media as much as the market, cultural ideals of what the female body ought to look like, the norms governing what is acceptable, sit tight and pervade even the most active resistance.

The fatshionista project is a complex and multi-layered endeavour that highlights the complicated and intertwined nature of identity at the intersection of social and cultural norms, consumer culture and the market. By actively promoting fat acceptance and rejecting social demands as these pertain to the ideal female body, the fatshionista project seeks to widen the subject positions available for women; however, the collective undertaking nevertheless (re)constructs and maintains some other forms of gender oppression by way of upholding certain norms governing the female body while resisting others. This highlights not only the difficulty of consumer resistance, but also the conflicted nature of identity performance under the influence of the market, the media and social and cultural expectations.

The article outlines two performative tactics employed by fatshionista bloggers as they construct and negotiate their identities online, one of which higlights diversity and difference relative to the mainstream representations, while the other underlines similarity by way of subverting the normalised mainstream fashion discourses.

My publications

Digital culture, Media, Research

Harju, A. A. (forthcoming) Imagined Community and Affective Alignment in Steve jobs Memorial Tributes on YouTube. In Gardner, S. & Alsop, S. (2016) Systemic Functional Linguistics in the Digital Age. London: Equinox.

Harju, A. A. & Huovinen, A. (2015) Fashionably Voluptuous: Normative femininity and resistant performative tactics in fatshion blogs. Journal of Marketing ManagementDOI 10.1080/0267257X.2015.1066837 Published online 24 Jul 2015

Döveling, K., Harju, A.A., & V. Shavit (2015) Researching Digital Memorial Culture and Death Online: Current Analysis and Future Perspectives. Medien & Altern 6/2015

Harju, A. (2015) Socially Shared Mourning: Construction and Consumption of Collective Memory. New Review of Hypermedia and Multimedia. Vol 21, Issue 1-2, 123-145. DOI:10.1080/13614568.2014.983562 Published online 6 Dec 2014.

Harju, A.  & Moisander, J. (2014) Fans on the Threshold: Steve Jobs, the sacred in memorialisation and the hero within. In Campbell, N., Desmond, J., Fitchett, J., Kavanagh, D., McDonagh, P. O’Driscoll, A. & Prothero, A. (Eds.) (2014) Myth and the Market (pp. 51 – 64) University of Dublin. ISBN: 9781905254859