YouTubing Difference: Performing Identity in Video Communities

Samara M Anarbaeva


This study examines women’s performance of gender, ethnicity, and race in a “How-to & DIY” YouTube networks. Through textual and visual analysis, I examine a specific community of ordinary women who participate in the “How-to & DIY” category on YouTube. I look at four women’s YouTube channels, profiles, videos, and comments from their subscribers in order to reveal a deeper sense of what meaning users derive through creating videos on YouTube. I ask the following question: How do women in the YouTube Beauty community perform their identity and difference in their videos? After analyzing the videos and the dialogues, two themes have emerged: a sense of belonging and connectedness, and identity performance at the interface. Underrepresented women go to YouTube to relate to others who are like them, which gives them a sense of belonging and connects them to millions of others who are craving the same connection. Through video blogs, these women perform their gender, race, and identity.


YouTube, DIY, difference, women, gender, race, ethnicity, vlogs, identity

Full Text:



The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at