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The ordinary celebrity: Italian young vloggers and the definition of girlhood

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This article examines the phenomenon of the ‘ordinary celebrity’ on YouTube and social media in relation to female adolescent fandom of Italian teen vloggers. The aim is to contribute to the debate on celebrity culture, by investigating the role of Web 2.0 in building and defining online performances that are recognized by young audiences as expressions of celebrity status. The young female vloggers studied for this work actively and regularly produce videos and media content to share on social media; their results are very impressive in terms of followers and fan comments, which are comparable to (or even greater than) those of mass media stars. However, vloggers’ daily narratives about their experience in everyday life (at school, with friends, opinions on fashion brands and make-up, etc.) are perceived by teenagers as natural and authentic and as something they can easily relate to, unlike the life of a traditional celebrity; as a consequence, vloggers’ discourses and behaviours are easily appropriated and used as symbolic materials in building girlhood identity. The article discusses the results of a netnographic research conducted on three teen vloggers, who are very famous among Italian teenagers, and on twenty teen fans. Vlogging productions and interviews were all analysed to understand what being a celebrity means in the convergence culture of the Web 2.0 and the role of these ordinary celebrities in defining contemporary girlhood.
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Keywords: YouTube; celebrity; fan; girlhood; identity; teenagers; vlogging

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Sapienza University of Rome

Publication date: August 1, 2016

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  • Film, Fashion & Consumption is a peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an arena for the discussion of research, methods and practice within and between the fields of film, fashion, design, history, art history and heritage. The journal seeks to stimulate ongoing research on these topics and to attract contributions not only from scholars researching in these areas but also from practitioners, who are traditionally excluded from academic debate. The journal thus aims to unite and enlarge a community of researchers and practitioners in film, fashion, consumption and related fields, whilst also introducing a wider audience to new work, particularly to interdisciplinary research which looks at the intersections between film, fashion and consumption.
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