Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management
Stefanie K. Benjamin, Michelle Childs, John E. Haley
When it comes to motherhood for women of color, the topic of women empowerment is scarce, and the media mostly portrays Latinas through traditional ethnic stereotypes. The advent of social media has presented women the opportunity to engage in identity formation as they exercise empowerment in choices and self-monitoring online. A good example of this transition in power involves fashion influencers who use their personal influence to change the meaning of motherhood, making it more accessible and realistic to women in general. However, a lack of diversity remains within the influencer industry as white women are the majority. Drawing upon Intersectionality theory, Performance studies, and Self-in-Relation theory, an interpretive inquiry of in-depth interviews and digital ethnography was used to explore and understand Latinas’ multiple identities of themselves as women, mothers, and ethnic minorities, as they navigate through social media representations of womanhood. Five main themes were uncovered in the data: (a) Becoming a Mom, (b) Forming Motherhood Ideals, (c) Encountering Reality Checks, (d) Adapting To My Work in Progress, and (e) Referencing Fashionable Mother Influencers. The findings revealed that Latina millennial mothers’ use FMIs’ narratives to construct a more adaptive mothering style and to engage in effortless online shopping experiences. Importantly, as Latinas use technology to create and amplify their voices on and off social media, the misrepresentation of Latinas and lack of relevant stories can be diminished. Implications for academia and industry practices are also presented.
Cuevas, Leslie M., "Becoming a Mom: Intersectionality and Fashion Consumption for Millennial Latinas and the Role of Social Media Influencers. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2020.