Digital Safe Spaces and Self-Definition: Black British Women’s Confessional Vlogs

Research output: Working paper/PreprintPreprint


Confessional vlogs, where YouTubers reveal incredibly revealing personal details, embody the private-yet-public tension occurring on YouTube. Research has shown that confessional vlogs are dialogical media texts, where the YouTuber engages in self-disclosure and self-expression, building intimacy and community with their audience. This study aims to provide an empirical contribution to the study of YouTube genres, specifically vlogs, by outlining the constitutive elements of confessional vlogs and defining the phenomenon. Building on existing work on the confessional, it asks: how do Black British women articulate their personal and private experiences in confessional vlogs? This mixed-methods study employs critical technocultural discourse analysis to examine YouTube as a technological service, interface, and discourse, making use of a Black feminist theoretical framework. Autoethnography furthers the researcher’s positionality — drawing on her experience, background, and knowledge — weaving data and narrative. Findings indicate that Black British women’s confessional vlogs are monological self-reflexive texts, not dialogical community-building ones. Overall, the analysis found that confessional vlogs are digital ‘safe spaces’ where Black British women self-disclose their complex and dynamic feelings about personal and private experiences, becoming digitally remediated articulations of their self-definition.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Mar 2022


  • Black feminist theory
  • Confessional Vlogs
  • CTDA
  • Social Media
  • YouTube


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