How social media democratized beauty : South African influencers experiences of the transformation of cosmetics and work in the beauty industry

Roux, Jacquilene (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Over the last decade the beauty industry has undergone a ‘digital makeover’. Not only have companies selling beauty products adopted a digital language, but the way in which beauty products are being produced and consumed has also been transformed due to this mediatization. Additionally, social media platforms allow beauty related information such as how to use products and which products to purchase; as well as images of beauty to circulate more rapidly and more widely. Thus, this digital transformation has democratized beauty by way of making more information about cosmetics available to more consumers and by allowing them to actively take part in the conceptualisation of beauty through user-generated platforms. This has also created the opportunity for passionate individuals to navigate this overload of information on behalf of consumers as well as mediate the conversation between those selling and those purchasing beauty products, namely beauty influencers. Globalized interactive communication networks allow beauty influencers from around the world to establish careers around this activity and in South Africa’s beauty industry, dominated by global mega-brands, local beauty influencers have become a valuable tool for them to reach local consumers. South Africa’s beauty influencer market has been a space for many entrepreneurs to take control over their careers although they face many obstacles, both local and global. While social media enables connectivity with a global audience, the beauty industry in South Africa operates at a local level and therefore restricts local beauty influencers’ opportunities to go ‘viral’. This thesis investigates this digital transformation of the beauty industry as well as its limitations from the perspective of South Africa by interviewing different role players in the local beauty industry about their experiences and interpretation of this transformation and by conducting a virtual ethnography of media images in which beauty is performed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Oor die laaste decade het die skoonheidsindustrie ‘n digital transformasie ondergaan. Maatskappye wat skoonheidsprodukte verkoop het nie net ‘n digital taal aangeneem nie, maar die manier waarop hierdie produkte vervaardig en gebruik word, het ook verander weens hierdie “mediatization”. Sosiale media platforms laat toe dat inligting oor skoonheid soos hoe om produkte te gebruik en watter produkte om aan te koop, sowel as beelde van skoonheid te sirkuleer teen ‘n spoediger pas en aan meer verbruikers. Hierdie digitale transformasie het dus skoonheid demokratiseer deur inligting oor skoonheid beskikbaar te stela an meer verbruikers en deur hul in staat te stel om aktief deel te neem aan die konseptualisering van skoonheid. Dit bied ook die geleentheid vir passievolle individue om hierdie oorvloed van inligting namens verbruikers te navigeer so well as die gesprek tussen die wat skoonheidsprodukte koop en verkoop te bemiddel, naamlik ‘beauty influencers’. Globale interaktiewe kommunikasie netwerke stel ‘beauty influencers’ instaat om van regoor die wêreld loopbane te vestig rondom hierdie aktiwiteit. In Suid-Afrika, wat se skoonheidsindustrie domineer word deur globale ‘mega-brands’, het plaaslike ‘beauty influencers’ ‘n waardevolle manier geword vir hierdie besighede om plaaslike verbruikers te bereik. Suid-Afrika se ‘beauty influencer’ mark het baie entrepreneurs instaat gestel om beheer te neem oor hul loopbaan alhoewel hul baie uitdagings in die gesig staar, beide plaaslik en globaal. Alhoewel sosiale media konnekiwiteit met ‘n globale gehoor instaatstel, werk die skoonheidsindustrie in Suid-Afrika op ‘n plaaslike vlak en daarom word plaaslike ‘beauty influencers’ verhinder om ‘viral’ te gaan. Hierdie tesis ondersoek hierdie digitale transformasie van die skoonheidsindustrie sowel as die beperkings wat dit inhou vanuit die perspektief van Suid-Afrika deur met verskillende rolspelers in die plaaslike skoonheidsbedryf onderhoude te voer en ‘n virtuele etnografie uit te voer van media-beelde waarin skoonheid vertoon word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/107842
This item appears in the following collections: