Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging
Minh-Ha T. Pham is Assistant Professor in the Graduate Media Studies Program at the Pratt Institute. Her research has been featured in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Atlantic, the San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, NPR, Jezebel, and the Huffington Post.
Style Stories, Written Tastes, and the Work of Self-Composure
Outfit photos, the photographs documenting bloggers’ daily outfits, are the defining feature of personal style blogs, but there are other features, too. Most blogs include style stories that accompany the outfit photos. While generally ignored in the popular and critical literature on personal style blogs, style stories are key taste work practices. They tell readers how to understand bloggers’ personal styles. Chapter 2 examines the important role that style stories play in discursively constructing bloggers’ tastes and taste positions. Detailed textual analyses of several Asian superbloggers’ style stories reveal how they employ this specific personal style blogging practice and form to negotiate fraught associations between their racialized gender and queer differences and their aesthetic and economic value as commercially viable personal style bloggers. Asian superbloggers’ style stories engage in the politics of self-composure. As this chapter demonstrates, they are discursive strategies that individualize racialized difference as fashionable personal style. Asian superbloggers’ style stories articulate Asianness as a legitimate difference—a fashionably distinct difference, but one not opposed to mainstream tastes for fashion or racial discourse.