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.
“So Many and All the Same” (but Not Quite): Outfit Photos and the Codes of Asian Eliteness
2015. "“So Many and All the Same” (but Not Quite): Outfit Photos and the Codes of Asian Eliteness", Asians Wear Clothes on the Internet: Race, Gender, and the Work of Personal Style Blogging, Minh-Ha T. Pham
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This chapter focuses on the outfit photo, the defining feature of personal style blogs. Outfit photography has rapidly evolved from an amateur cultural form and practice into an institutional facet of fashion media writ large. Outfit photos now appear in media spaces beyond the blogosphere: in style sections of internationally circulating newspapers and world-renowned fashion magazines. Chapter 3 examines the highly stylized and standardized conventions of outfit photos, from the customary camera angles to the spatial and temporal aesthetic arrangements of the shot and the blogger’s body. While critics dismiss outfit photos as a redundant and monotonous cultural form and practice, chapter 3 insists that their formal and generic repetition is a value-making process. How Asian superbloggers’ outfit photos, archetypes that other outfit photos as well as professional fashion photos have adopted, construct and enact their elite status is discussed. Chapter 3 shows that Asian superbloggers’ elite status in the blogosphere is produced not only by the display of exceptional physical and sartorial characteristics but also by a host of underexamined user and computational operations of copying, sharing, and linking. Asian superbloggers’ widely shared and highly imitated outfit photos provide a critical model for understanding the kind of Asianness that sells in the top tiers of the new fashion media complex when it is attached to eliteness.