Sociomaterial influence on social media: exploring sexualised practices of influencers on Instagram


Purpose: Relying on social influence and sociomateriality
theories, this research provides new insights about the social and material drivers relating to the sexualisation of online behaviour of social media influencers.
Methodology: Using a netnographic approach, observation data was gathered from the Instagram accounts of twenty influencers dedicated to beauty and fashion. In addition, fifteen in-depth interviews were conducted with women adopting sexualisation practices online. The data were analysed using an abductive strategy; all material was coded according to thematic analysis principles.
Findings: We observe that sexualisation is a result of a complex system of social interactions encouraged and reinforced by multiple factors and actors. In particular, we outline the major influence of technology that has become a non-human authority defining implicit norms and shaping the beliefs and behaviours of women influencers.
Originality: In contrast to existing literature which mainly focuses on the negative consequences of sexualisation, our work sheds some light on social constructs in social media. We contribute to the growing literature on social media influencers. Although many works focus on their persuasiveness, our work helps to better understand the social setting, motivations and pressures that are contained in social and technological contexts.

Publication type: 
Scientific Article
Date de parution: 
Information Technology & People