"Hello my lovelies!": conflicted feminisms and the neoliberalisation of portuguese activist influencer practices

Sofia P. Caldeira*, Ana Flora Machado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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Abstract

Since 2019, Portuguese psychologist, sexologist, and self-identified feminist Tânia Graça has been gaining popularity on her Instagram account by advocating for women’s sexual empowerment, pleasure, and women’s rights more broadly. In the context of a still largely conservative Portuguese society, these issues have, until recently, failed to gain significant expression both in mainstream popular culture and in popular online feminist content. Grounded on a direct unstructured observation of @taniiagraca’s account, this chapter addresses the growing popularity of feminist discourses on Portuguese social media, critically exploring Tânia Graça’s Instagram presence as an example of activist influencer practices – marred by tensions between its essentially feminist aims and Instagram’s dominant logics of popularity, visibility, and commercial success. This chapter explores how playful and accessible iterations of online feminism, such as Tânia’s, can quickly rise to popularity, fitting particularly well into Instagrammable conventions and aesthetics. Its embodiment of feminist politics – focused on issues of bodily experiences and pleasurable sexual experimentation, and visually expressed through practices of self-representation – also brings forward tensions with Instagram’s platform politics, which often deplatform ‘objectionable’ content and can constrain sexual self-expression. In addition, this chapter foregrounds how popular feminist expressions can rely on gendered conventions of communication, privileging a personal and intimate tone to build a sense of perceived interconnectedness with followers. This aligns with notions of popular and spectacular feminism that tend to privilege ‘cute’ expressions of feminism and centre individual issues, in line with expressions of neoliberal feminism. In this way, this chapter explores the complexities and tensions that mark Instagram as a site for contemporary feminist practices and discourses.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIdentities and intimacies on social media
Subtitle of host publicationtransnational perspectives
EditorsTonny Krijnen, Paul G. Nixon, Michelle D. Ravenscroft, Cosimo Marco Scarcelli
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor and Francis AS
Pages153-168
Number of pages16
Edition1
ISBN (Electronic)9781000799552, 9781003250982
ISBN (Print)9781032169125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2022

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