Hands-On(ly) Vlogging: How Turkish Muslim Women Perform “Modesty” and “Piety” in Self-branding on their YouTube Cooking Channels

Seyda Bagdogan

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Studies examining the self-branding efforts of women producers of online content have proliferated in recent years. Typically focused on the production of content by young, white, and highly educated middle-class women in the West, such scholarship has predominantly conceptualized women’s online self-branding as a function of neo-liberal and postfeminist values centered around notions of “commodified femininity” and “mediated intimacy” along with consumerism and individualism. In contrast, this article examines the sociocultural values underlying the self-branding practices of Turkish Muslim “housewives” from relatively underprivileged backgrounds who have recorded, performed, and monetized their cooking skills and arguably their values on YouTube. Drawing on in-depth interviews with 12 leading Turkish women vloggers, combined with digital ethnographic research into their online profiles and content, my analysis reveals the importance for these vloggers of ensuring their online performances and personae comply with and embody the Islamic values of feminine piety and modesty. By highlighting the importance of social positionality in research on gendered self-branding, my findings problematize dominant conceptualizations of women’s online self-branding as a postfeminist undertaking. In reality, Islamic values are active online, embodied by Turkish Muslim women cooking on YouTube in a way that is empowering for them but also under negotiation through the participatory culture of the Internet
Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Media + Society
Issue number2 (April-June)
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Published online: 17 April 2023.


  • Self-branding
  • Modesty
  • Piety
  • Agency
  • Muslim women
  • Social positionality

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