Piyali Sur


In the consumer culture of late modernity, young women are obsessed with their physical appearance and attempt to conform to socially constructed beauty standards. Adolescent girls are surrounded by images of beauty through advertising, television, films, magazines and the recent beauty blogs that have burst forth on the worldwide web. This paper is on the use of beauty blogs by adolescent girls of the age group 15 to 19 years living in Kolkata, whereby depicting that there is no escape from feminine embodiment even in the digital world. The researcher has compiled the beauty/fashion blogs that adolescent girls regularly visit and hence has attempted to understand the girls’ use of the blogs and what the blogs contain. This paper looks at the beauty culture associated with these blogs and traces the popularity of these online beauty resources to the renewed focus on the female body and visual appearance in consumer culture that is transnational. The beauty blogs are virtual feminized spaces created only for women and contain categories of homemade corrective treatments, personal grooming and images of array of beauty products that teach women how to “do femininity”. The blogs promote the idea that beauty is an essential component of femininity and encourage women to take beauty as a serious thing to be achieved to satisfy themselves and not to be done for the male gaze. Termed as “postfeminist sensibility” the blogs depict women as heterosexual desiring subjects with independence and choice. Young women in turn constructed feminine beautification as an empowering as well as a pleasurable experience for them.

Author Biography

Piyali Sur, M.A., Ph.D. (University of Calcutta), is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Jadavpur University, India. She has conducted this research in Kolkata, India. Her research interests are Sociology of Childhood Studies, Gender Studies and Sociology of Crime and Deviance. She has published in various peer-reviewed journals and books. Currently she is working on fashion practices of children.