The YouTube makeup tutorial Video. A preliminary linguistic analysis of the language of “makeup gurus”


Abstract


Abstract – Due to its video sharing policy which freely allows users to communicate all over the world, YouTube has become one of the preferred Web platforms used by the digital community of makeup lovers. As a matter of fact, YouTube seems particularly suited to host announcements of new makeup collections, products’ reviews as well as video tutorials. Both cosmetic brands and single users have opened channels on the platform, but makeup discourse on YouTube is arguably dominated by the latter. Differentiating between unaffiliated amateurs and YouTubers who more or less openly work for makeup companies as digital influencers is difficult. Recent studies on communicative practices on YouTube, however, stress that in order to understand the complex nature of the famous video sharing website, the professional/non-professional dichotomy is not particularly relevant, whereas other dynamics are more research worthy. One of them is the “guru” phenomenon. “Gurus” are content creators who are particularly authoritative in a specific field, have a considerable follower base thanks to their expertise and are often paid by brands in order to promote their products. The makeup domain too has witnessed the emergence of a group of popular and influential users who are typically referred to as “makeup gurus”. Their ability to stand out from the multiplicity of similar channels arguably depends not only on their knowledge of the field, but also on their communication skills and specifically on their successful use of the makeup video genre. Against this backdrop, this study sets out to codify the relatively new genre of the makeup tutorial providing it with adequate categories which at the moment appear to be lacking. Adopting the analytical framework provided by discourse analysis, it examines the generic, rhetorical and linguistic practices of makeup gurus and sheds light on the ways gurus discursively construct their identity as well as represent the idea of beauty and makeup.


Keywords: Web 2.0; makeup discourse; YouTube; makeup tutorials; webgenres

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