Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Hijabers on Instagram: Using Visual Social Media to Construct the Ideal Muslim Woman

Baulch, Emma and Pramiyanti, Alila (2018): Hijabers on Instagram: Using Visual Social Media to Construct the Ideal Muslim Woman. Published in: Social Media and Society (October 2018): pp. 1-15.

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Abstract

This article studies uses of Instagram by members of Indonesia’s Hijabers’ Community. It shows how hijabers employ Instagram as a stage for performing middle-classness, but also for dakwah (“the call, invitation or challenge to Islam”), which they consider one of their primary tasks as Muslims. By enfolding the taking and sharing of images of Muslimah bodies on Instagram into this Quranic imperative, the hijabers shape an Islamic-themed bodily esthetic for middle class women, and at the same time present this bodily esthetic as a form of Islamic knowledge. The article extends work on influencer culture on Instagram, which has considered how and whether women exert control over their bodies in post-feminist performances of female entrepreneurship and consumer choice on social media. In it, we argue that examining the “enframement” of hijaberness on Instagram show it to be both a Muslim variant of post-feminist performances on social media, and a female variant of electronically-mediated Muslim preaching. That is, hijabers’ performances of veiled femininity structure and are structured by two distinct fields - a dynamic global digital culture and a changing field of Islamic communication – and point to a “composite habitus,” similar to that identified by Waltorp.

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