ABSTRACT

Sociocultural and demographic shifts have resulted in a changing perception of older age. Older women, historically subjected to age-ordering rules of dress, have increasingly refused to be marginalized fashion consumers and have been striving to construct a more positive age identity. Although studies have examined consumers’ negotiation of marginalized identities, age identity has not received much attention as a type of marginalized identity. This study argues that Pinterest acts as a platform for identity work by allowing older women to creatively reconstruct their sense of self by saving images and organizing them into thematic boards. Drawing on symbolic interactionism theory and notions of digital self-presentation, this paper seeks to explore the discursive practices that older women employ on Pinterest to resist ageist fashion discourses. The sample consisted of 15 fashion-oriented Pinterest profiles of older women. Netnographic inquiry was employed first to examine what images were saved and what thematic boards were created. Three analytical frameworks for visual data analysis were integrated to further scrutinize the visual texts within the thematic boards. The analyses revealed three main themes-rejecting age, accepting age, and consuming age. The themes that emerged formed the basis for an age identity reconstruction process whereby women attempted to bridge the existing gap between older age and mainstream fashion discourse.

KEYWORD

age identity, Pinterest, digital possessions, digital self-presentation, appearance management

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