Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Studies

Faculty/School

Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Dr. Nathan Rambukkana

Advisor Role

Supervisor

Abstract

Under the advertising banner of recognizing gender fluidity, the past year has seen global makeup brands announcing male spokesmodels for campaigns that seek to be more diverse in capturing the emerging Generation Z by promoting makeup for boys. The media has described the rise of the “boy in makeup” as propelled by male social media influencers known as beauty boys who are destabilizing the traditional boundaries of gender roles. I turn my attention to the necessary interrogation of the corporeality of these socially mediated bodies in manner of a Foucauldian genealogy approach to trace the power relations of subjectification and the various contingences that brought forth this moment. I examine beauty boys through the culture of transformation, where fame and visibility gained through a labouring body can engender forms of upward mobility in the pursuit of self-actualization. This desire for visibility within contemporary neoliberal culture, driven by aspirations for social and economic capital have coded, quantified, and systematized practices of looking, engaging, and interacting. Beauty boys are as much about masculinity as they are about the wider political economy marked by promotional capitalism and the attention economy. I introduce beauty boys as engendering several forms of physical, psychic, and digital transformation of our bodies, subject position, and identities: transformation from an ordinary persona to that of a celebrity through microcelebrity practices; transformation of the physical and digital body through glamour labour; aesthetic transformation of beauty boys through makeup practices; identity exploration and transformation through the practices of vlogging.

Convocation Year

2019

Convocation Season

Spring

Available for download on Saturday, November 06, 2021

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