The construction of beauty by mobile applications
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As a highly complex, intriguing and contested matter incorporating a variety of meanings at different dimensions, beauty has long been of interest to scholars. Prior research that approached beauty as a socially constructed phenomenon has often pointed to the conceptualization of beauty around the normative ideals of whiteness, thinness and youth for the female subject, and mostly focused on and underlined the role of traditional media in reinforcing and disseminating these ideals. As new media constituting a crucial part among the recent developments in digital technologies and characterized by interactivity, mobile applications contemporarily play a role in the construction of beauty with their promise of a novel way to experience beauty. Yet, little interest has been shown in their sociocultural analysis, and both the construction of beauty by mobile applications and the role of interactivity in this construction are yet to be explored. In its aim to redress this gap, this thesis (1) engages in the critical sociocultural analysis of mobile applications by evaluating them as “sociocultural artefacts” and (2) adopts the theoretical framework of The Social Construction of Reality as proposed by Berger and Luckmann (1991) and further follows McLuhan’s (1994) dictum that “the medium is the message” as it focuses on mobile applications in comparison and contrast to the traditional beauty media of magazines and discusses the role and impact of the interactivity of new media as implicated in the construction of beauty by mobile applications.