Project Director

Gailey, Elizabeth

Department Examiner

Monds, Sheena; Welsh, Talia


Dept. of Women's Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This research sought to describe the size and analyze the content of communities on Tumblr that share posts regarding Lolita, Lana Del Rey, and sugar culture. Research questions included: Why might young women on Tumblr choose to share posts relating to these things? How are they interpreting the images and texts they share? Is this a means of expressing desire, or are these individuals subverting these images and ideas as a means of critiquing gender expectations? A qualitative textual analysis was conducted on data collected by social media analytics software. Tumblr communities sharing content regarding Lolita, Lana Del Rey, and sugar culture included hundreds of thousands of blogs. Individuals in these communities used Tumblr to express their emotions and desires. The images shared by individuals in these communities reveal the ways that young women use Tumblr as a mechanism with which to navigate postfeminist, neoliberal social conditions in which women are limited by social, economic, and political pressures, and are simultaneously led to believe that these pressures hold no influence over their individual lives or behaviors. The prevalence of posts expressing depressive, suicidal, and self-destructive ideas indicates that these individuals may experience the failures of neoliberalism and postfeminism as personal failures. By showing the connections between postfeminist media practices that center on Lolita, Lana Del Rey, sugar culture, and Tumblr, this research provides a link between many previously unconnected areas of research on literature, film, popular culture, sex work, and social networking sites.


I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Gailey, Dr. Talia Welsh, and Professor Sheena Monds for their expert guidance and encouragement throughout the research process. This research would not have been possible without the support of the UTC Brock Scholars program. Thanks to Justin Young, Karen Davis, and Jill Davis for their time and effort.


B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.




Technology -- Social aspects; Social media; Women -- Social conditions; Feminism -- Mass media


Postfeminism; Technologies of sexiness; Tumblr; Lolita; Lana Del Rey; Sugar arrangements


Women's Studies

Document Type



63 leaves




Under copyright.