“#YouTuberAnxiety: Anxiety as Emotional Labour and Masquerade in Beauty Vlogs”

  • Sophie Bishop


Sophie Helen Bishop’s online ethnography of British beauty vloggers Zoella and Gabriella Rose explores anxiety videos in which vloggers reveal their struggles with anxiety. Anxiety videos, Bishop argues, provide insight into the affective labour undertaken by vloggers as they build their profiles in the digital visibility economy. The videos are designed to strip away professional artifice of beauty vlogs and to construct narratives of authenticity. The anxiety video by the high-level vloggers are affective strategic performances designed to reset the vlogger’s authenticity. Bishop’s chapter opens up the possibility of reading such affective and authentic performances as merely post-feminist masquerades.


  1. Abidin, Crystal. 2015. Communicative ❤ intimacies: Influencers and perceived interconnectedness. A Journal of Gender, New Media, & Technology 8.
  2. Abidin, Crystal. 2016. Visibility labour: Engaging with influencers’ fashion brands and #OOTD advertorial campaigns on Instagram. Media International Australia 161 (1): 86–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Adamic, Lada A., and Bernardo A. Huberman. 2001. The web’s hidden order. Communications of the ACM 44 (9): 55–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ahmed, Sara. 2004. Affective economies. Social Text 2 (2): 117–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alexander, Jonathan, and Elizabeth Losh. 2010. A YouTube of one’s own? Coming out videos as rhetorical action. In LGBT identity and online new media, 37–50. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Ash, James. 2015. Sensation, networks, and the GIF: Toward an allotropic account of affect. In Networked affect, 119–133. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Banet-Weiser, Sarah. 2016. “I”m beautiful the way I am’: Empowerment, beauty, and aesthetic labour. In Aesthetic labour, eds. Ana Sofia Elias, Rosalind Gill, and Christina Scharff, 265–282. New York, NY: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barns, Sarah. 2015. Primark launch homeware range with YouTube star Velvet Ghost. Mail Online, July 24.
  9. Blogosphere Magazine. 2017. Louise Pentland: Blogosphere Magazine Issue 13.
  10. Butler, Judith. 1996. Burning acts: Injurious speech. University of Chicago Law School Roundtable 3: 199.Google Scholar
  11. Duffy, Brooke Erin. 2017. (Not) getting paid to do what you love: Gender, social media, and aspirational work. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Estée Lalonde. 2016. Stuff you don’t know about me/Estée Lalonde.
  13. Gill, R. 2007. Postfeminist media culture: Elements of a sensibility. European Journal of Cultural Studies 10 (2): 147–166. Scholar
  14. Gill, Rosalind. 2002. Cool, creative and egalitarian? Exploring gender in project-based new media work in Europe. Information, Communication & Society 5 (1): 70–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gill, Rosalind. 2010. Life is a pitch: Managing the self in new media work. In Managing media work, ed. Mark Deuze, 249–262. London: Sage.
  16. Gill, Rosalind, and Ana Sofia Elias. 2014. “Awaken your incredible”: Love your body discourses and postfeminist contradictions. International Journal of Media & Cultural Politics 10 (2): 179–188. Scholar
  17. Guru Gossip. 2016. Guru gossip • View topic—Knickerella: 280390 Days of laziness part 40, March 17.
  18. Hesmondhalgh, David, and Sarah Baker. 2015. Sex, gender and work segregation in the cultural industries. In Gender and creative labour, ed. Bridget Conor, 1st ed., 23–37. Sociological Review Monographs. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hochschild, Arlie Russell. 2012. The managed heart: Commercialization of human feeling, updated ed. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  20. Jackson, S., and T. Vares. 2015. “Too many bad role models for us girls”: Girls, female pop celebrities and “sexualization”. Sexualities 18 (4): 480–498. Scholar
  21. Jenkins, Kelly. 2016. YouTube star Zoella poses in her knickers for bedtime Snapchat. The Sun (blog), March 22.
  22. Lumsden, Lottie. 2016. The secret life of Zoella. Cosmopolitan, November 2016.Google Scholar
  23. Marwick, Alice E. 2013. Status update: Celebrity, publicity, and branding in the social media age. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Marwick, Alice E. 2015. You may know me from YouTube. In A companion to celebrity, eds Sean Redmond and P. David Marshall, 333–349. Chichester: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar
  25. Marwick, Alice E., and danah boyd. 2011. I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience. New Media & Society 13 (1): 114–133. Scholar
  26. McRobbie, Angela. 2000. Feminism and youth culture, 2nd ed. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, and London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  27. McRobbie, Angela. 2009. The aftermath of feminism: Gender, culture and social change. Los Angeles and London: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. McRobbie, Angela. 2015. Be creative: Making a living in the new culture industries. Cambridge and Malden, MA: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  29. Neff, Gina. 2012. Venture labor: Work and the burden of risk in innovative industries. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Negra, Diane. 2009. What a girl wants? Fantasizing the reclamation of self in postfeminism. London and New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Postigo, Hector. 2014. The socio-technical architecture of digital labor: Converting play into YouTube money. New Media & Society. Scholar
  32. Ringrose, Jessica, and Valerie Walkerdine. 2008. Regulating the abject: The TV make-over as site of neo-liberal reinvention toward bourgeois femininity. Feminist Media Studies 8 (3): 227–246. Scholar
  33. Rose, Gabriella ♡. 2015. Honesty.
  34. Senft, Theresa M. 2008. Camgirls: Celebrity and community in the age of social networks (Digital Formations, vol. 4). New York: Lang.Google Scholar
  35. Skeggs, Beverley. 2003. Class, self, culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Sprinkleofglitter. 2010. The big chat | Sprinkle of glitter. Accessed 3 Jan 2017.
  37. Tanya Burr. 2015. Anxiety chat! | Vlogmas days 5 & 6.
  38. Tyler, Imogen, Rebecca Coleman, and Debra Ferreday. 2008. Commentary and criticism. Feminist Media Studies 8 (1): 85–99. Scholar
  39. Wald, Gayle. 2002. “I want it that way”: Teeny bopper music and the girling of boy bands. Genders 35.
  40. Wissinger, Elizabeth. 2012. Managing the semiotics of skin tone: Race and aesthetic labor in the fashion modeling industry. Economic and Industrial Democracy 33 (1): 125–143. Scholar
  41. Zoella. 2012. Dealing with panic attacks & anxiety | Zoella.
  42. Zoella. 2015. Anxiety Q&A | Zoella.
  43. Zoella. 2016a. Social anxiety & prank call | #AskZoella.
  44. Zoella. 2016b. The boyfriend tag | Zoella.
  45. Zoella. 2017. Who run the world? Zoella (blog), March 8.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sophie Bishop
    • 1
  1. 1.Arts Technology and InnovationUniversity of East LondonBristolUK

Personalised recommendations