Virtual in vogue: A critical discourse analysis of

Virtual in Vogue: A Critical Discourse Analysis on Instagram Influencer Miquela Sousa

Miquela Sousa is a teen Instagram influencer with over a million followers. With her slim figure, freckled face, edgy style, her own merchandise, and self-produced music, the nineteen year old has drawn a substantial amount of loyal followers into her growing empire. The twist is she is not human. Guided by Adorno and Horkheimer’s Culture Industry, Debord’s Society of Spectacle, and Dyer’s Star Theory, the purpose of this study is to look deeper into how the non-human Miquela Sousa constitutes a threat to human consumers while buttressing the ventures of capitalist producers of the fashion industry. The results of this study have shown a nuanced approach of achieving stardom in relation to Richard Dyer’s postulations. The case at hand presents a reversed process in which she has to be “humanized” in order to garner people’s attention. Moreover, it has also been deduced that aside from promoting commodities, Miquela Sousa is purely commodity herself. If a manufactured character has been able to attain such success on a predominantly human-populated platform, this begs to question if there could be a future in which humans will no longer be able to decipher the difference between mere representations and reality, and if audiences might actually seek to no longer perceive such differences.

Keywords: fashion, Instagram, star, Computer Generated Influencer (CGI), consumption


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