Date of Award

5-1-2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Kapur, Jyotsna

Abstract

This dissertation explores the blurring of labor and leisure through new technologies, specifically how women are transforming the home into a marketing site — both as sellers of lifestyles and as consumers of market produced goods and narratives. I take up three phenomena that emphasize the spontaneous allure and risk of participating in the aspirational leisure-labor that has resulted from the expansion of work. First, I examine the collective fascination with the hunt for the perfect bridal gown in Say Yes to the Dress — currently running its 17th season — and continued memorialization through the wedding photography featured on the blog Style Me Pretty. Second, I turn to several lifestyle blogs that offer designer-grade Do-It-Yourself projects on a budget and Instagram accounts that adhere to what I coin as a “minimalist, homestead aesthetic.” Third, I turn to Pinterest, the virtual “bookmarking tool” that has taken digital media by storm. Each of these sites offer unique representations of domestic spaces and tasks through public, image-based medias and depict another layer of a re-ritualization of domestic labor. I find that even as capital erodes the domestic sphere, there is a new preoccupation with recovering the home as sacred space through rituals.

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