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Celebrity and Youth

Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation

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Edited By Spring-Serenity Duvall

Celebrity and Youth: Mediated Audiences, Fame Aspirations, and Identity Formation makes an examination of contemporary celebrity culture with an emphasis on how young celebrities are manufactured, how fan communities are cultivated, and how young audiences consume and aspire to fame. This book foregrounds considerations of diversity within celebrity and fan cultures, and takes an international perspective on the production of stardom. Chapters include interviews with professional athletes in the United States about their experiences with stardom after coming out as gay, and interviews with young people in Europe about their consumption of celebrity and aspirations of achieving fame via social media. Other chapters include interviews with young Canadian women that illuminate the potential influence of famous feminists on audience political engagement, and critical analysis of media narratives about race, happiness, cultural appropriation, and popular feminisms. The current anthology brings together scholarship from Canada, the United States, Spain, and Portugal to demonstrate the pervasive reach of global celebrity, as well as the commonality of youth experiences with celebrity in diverse cultural settings.

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Chapter 7: Under Western (Girls’) Eyes: Cultural Appropriation and Feminism in the Celebrity Fashion of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid (Jessica E. Johnston)

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CHAPTER SEVEN

Under Western (Girls’) Eyes

Cultural Appropriation and Feminism in the Celebrity Fashion of Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid

JESSICA E. JOHNSTON



Introduction

In September 2016, 20-year-old Kendall Jenner and 21-year-old Gigi Hadid strutted the New York Fashion Week runway for Marc Jacobs wearing multicolored synthetic dreadlocks. The cast of mostly white models, wearing a hairstyle often associated with black and indigenous cultures, launched a storm of tweets accusing Marc Jacobs, as well as Jenner and Hadid, of cultural appropriation. While much of the internet’s ire was directed at the fashion designer, Jenner and Hadid were also made culpable for participating in the show and failing to speak to the imperialist implications of the Western fashion industry capitalizing on lock hairstyles. The expectation placed on young models to be politically proactive in the celebrity fashion world arrives at a time when feminism and social justice have become “popular” (Banet-Weiser & Portwood-Stacer, 2017) matters to attend to and be admired for in mainstream media culture. However, while some models have been fired for political statements (take transgender model Munroe Bergdorf, for instance, who spoke against white supremacy and was subsequently dropped from L’Oréal’s diversity campaign in 2017), industry favorites like Jenner and Hadid have been protected for their tepid—and often misdirected—approaches to social and cultural issues. ← 151 | 152 →

The integration of feminist politics into Western celebrity culture is not an...

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