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Social Science General

Personal but Not Private

Queer Women, Sexuality, and Identity Modulation on Digital Platforms

by (author) Stefanie Duguay

Oxford University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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Privacy has become a pressing concern for many users of digital platforms who fear legal or social liability for sharing personal details online. Yet for queer women and others, an emphasis on privacy fails to reflect the creativity and struggles of everyday people seeking to represent themselves and form meaningful connections through social media.

Personal but Not Private explores how queer women share and maintain their identities through digital technologies despite overlapping technological, social, economic, and political concerns. Focusing on representations of sexual identity through Tinder, Instagram, and Vine, this volume uncovers how queer women are continuously engaging in identity modulation, or the process through which people and platforms adjust or modify personal information, to form relationships, increase their social and economic participation, and counter intersecting forms of oppression. While queer women's representations of sexual identity give rise to publics and counterpublics through intimate and collective self-representation, platform-specific elements like design and governance place limitations on queer women's agency and often make them targets of censorship, harassment, and discrimination. This book also considers how identity modulation can be applied to a range of people negotiating digital contexts and promotes tangible changes to digital platforms and their broader social, economic, and political structures to empower individuals and their personal sharing on social media.

Bringing together personal interviews and empirical research, Personal but Not Private offers a new lens for examining digitally mediated identities and highlights how platforms act as complicated sites of transformation.

About the author

Contributor Notes

Stefanie Duguay is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her research focuses on the influence of digital media technologies in everyday life, with attention to sexual identity, gender, and social media. This has included studies of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) people's social media use, dating apps, and digital self-representation. She teaches in the areas of digital communication, youth, identity, gender, sexuality, and digital research methods. Stefanie earned her PhD in Media and Communication from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia where she received an Outstanding Doctoral Thesis Award. During this time, she spent a summer as a PhD Intern at Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective. Prior to her PhD, Stefanie graduated with distinction from the Oxford Internet Institute's MSc program. In addition to her scholarly pursuits, Stefanie has worked for the Canadian federal government, specializing in the areas of client services and digital strategy. Her roots are in Southern Alberta with its inspirational prairie skies.