Equal Opportunities and Gender in Online Video: Young People’s Self-Presentation, Identity Construction and Social Participation Opportunities Through Online Video Consumption and Production
Young people today are growing up in a society which is highly influenced by the media. In particular, mobile phones and the internet have become a self-evident part of their everyday lives. Moreover, with the emergence of online video platforms such as YouTube in 2005, the distribution of audiovisual user content has become more and more popular, and online video plays an important role in the daily lives of young people, irrespective of gender, age or formal education level. For young people in particular, the media provide manifold resources for identity construction and are seen as a new opportunity for self-expression, informal learning and social participation. This process involves gender roles, as gender is one of the most important categories in the self-construction of the users’ identities. Upcoming new media and technologies have always been accompanied by hopes of more democratic and emancipated access to knowledge and education. Moreover, the new media are often seen as a chance to open up and overcome static perceptions of gender constructions. With the ongoing digitisation of society, new questions arise regarding the representation and the construction of gender identities within new forms of digitised communication. My thesis seeks to address the question of how gender identity is constructed by consuming and producing online video. The focus of the examination will be to analyse the effects of online video on gender relations and how gender influences the use and the creation of online video. This encompasses viewing preferences and how gender presentations are being perceived, topics negotiated within self-produced videos as well as modes of self-presentation and performing within the videos. The interdisciplinary theoretical framework will consider theories of gender representations and identity construction in the media, cultural participation opportunities in the media, digital stratification, media literacy and the theoretical model of intersectionality.