Sarah Power

Research Project

Girlblogging: Tumblr subcultures and female identity in participatory media


I am a fourth year Professional Communication student also completing a double minor in English and Public Relations. Throughout my undergraduate journey I have continuously found myself interested in understanding the intersection of communication theory underlining participatory media and countercultural practices, and feminist ideologies. My capstone focus lies in understanding how these elements shape female identity, particularly in the context of digital spaces, to explore my own generational internet upbringing as it relates to female community on a larger scale.

Research Summary

My research delves into the perceptions of modern young women towards early internet platforms, specifically Tumblr. There is a positive and nostalgic tone even among the recognition of its widely researched early 2010s cons as a loosely regulated and accessible platform to these women as young girls. Positive conversations of a modern longing for the possibilities of the space begs to question the power of hidden nostalgia different from other past and present social media platforms.

Through multimodal content analysis this research aims to explore the elements of identity, belonging, and control associated with the positive side of early internet spaces, in order to learn more about their importance for supporting female voices and building safe spaces, continued into adulthood among new digital spaces. Considering female identity, social media as bonding for users and hosting of new activist opportunities, and defined aesthetics of the content on the apps itself as the root of community, Tumblr in an archival state as well as TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram as a bridge between the past and present are analyzed.

Research Poster

Lightning Talk

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