University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Face of Nonbinary Beauty Communication on Instagram: A Content Analysis

Wiid, Ria ORCID:, Müllern, T. and Berndt, A. (2022) The Face of Nonbinary Beauty Communication on Instagram: A Content Analysis. Journal of Current Issues and Research in Advertising. ISSN Print: 1064-1734 Online: 2164-7313

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Gender is a feature of beauty marketing, used in marketing segmentation and communication images, where binary images are predominant. Recently, the social identity of gender has become increasingly nuanced as a more complex set of identities, including genderqueer and nonbinary, influences marketing communications. As part of cultural expression, advertising reflects and impacts how consumers perceive themselves and others, with Generation Z consumers increasingly rejecting gender labels and stereotypes. Consequently, our study involves the visual meaning making of 222 Instagram images of beauty brands’ marketing communications with models other than “female” in traditional Western society’s conceptualization of gender. The findings reveal a group of models who are not female; while most of these images are genderqueer, a group that may be considered agender is evident. Both groups have distinctive although differing characteristics, suggesting the development of new stereotypes. This study contributes to understanding the changing representations of models: While beauty brands primarily use female models, the increased use of genderqueer and agender models can attract alternative target markets. It also highlights advertising’s place in cultural expressions that both reflect and impact how consumers perceive themselves and others.

Item Type: Article
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This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: Nonbinary Beauty Communication, Instagram, IRWRG
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
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Copyright Info: © 2022 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
Depositing User: Ria Wiid
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2022 13:10
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2023 14:43

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