Afgelopen jaar hebben Miranda Klaver en ik Eva Tsoukala begeleid bij het schrijven van haar scriptie. Dit is een bijzonder boeiende scriptie geworden, die niet alleen het fenoneem ‘beauty guru’ in kaart brengt, maar dit ook op een intrigerende wijze verbindt met de notie van sacraliteit. Hier een samenvatting, plus een link naar de scriptie:
Celebrity is often researched as a site of religious meanings. Today’s celebrity is highly generated by new media. One of the most famous categories of new media celebrities is that of beauty gurus. Beauty gurus are YouTube content creators that offer instructional content on beauty, by mainly uploading makeup tutorials, makeup transformations, and beauty product reviews.
Intrigued by the “guru” title of beauty YouTubers, which is a term usually used to indicate a sacred, spiritual figure in the asian religious traditions, the researcher decided to trace the characteristics that this newly emergent branch of Internet celebrities has, and then review the ways in which the sacred can be defined, in order to see whether the activity of these new gurus has any sacred meanings to offer.
Of course, in order to see if there are any sacred meanings in the performance of beauty gurus, one would firstly need to define what the sacred is. This thesis, therefore, takes a cultural sociological approach towards the sacred, approaching the term as a meaning-making notion, constructed culturally and socially.
This thesis finally looks at the case of Jeffree Star, the second most subscribed to beauty guru of the English speaking world, who has around fifteen million subscribers to his channel. The question that it aims to answer is whether there are any elements relating to the sacred in his performance, and in the performance of beauty gurus more generally. The answer of such a question is important for the research in religious studies, because it will shed light on what the contemporary, post-secular Western world values in terms of spirituality and religion, and it will also highlight the importance of popular culture as a space that can reveal a lot on the most prominent (religious) attitudes of today’s society.