TIKTOK’S ‘FOX EYE’ TREND AND EVERYDAY ACTIVISM: GEN Z AGENCY IN AN AUDIOVISUAL NARRATIVE CASE STUDY
Keywords:Activism, Audiovisual narratives, Fox eye trend, Gen Z, TikTok
AbstractThis paper examines TikTok as an emerging activist space for Gen Z. It uses the ‘fox eye’ trend as a case study to illustrate how TikTok allows young people – Asian diasporic communities in particular – to create audiovisual narratives of personal experiences and stories to speak up against anti-Asian racism. Through a qualitative content analysis of 30 relevant TikTok posts, the paper argues for the platform’s distinct audiovisual features in enhancing users’ capacity for civic engagement. This paper generates three related findings. First, young Asian users have created TikTok videos featuring a variety of themes in relation to the fox eye trend. Some notable examples include historical popular representation of Asians, personal experiences of racism, impossible beauty standards, jokingly advocating for countertrends, among others. Collectively, these videos aim to emphasize the ‘problems’ associated with the trend – that is, it is racially insensitive and builds on cultural appropriation. The second finding suggests three main types of narratives constructed through the videos – historical, educational and affective. Each type is characterized by distinct narrative structures and strategies. Finally, the audiovisual functions of the platform in creating and amplifying the narratives. That is, the narratives on TikTok are powerful not only because of the rhetorical devices used, but also due to their audiovisual elements such as visual filters, audio memes, image and video compilations and non-verbal performance. Through these discussions of findings, we propose and explain the concept of ‘audiovisual narrative agency’ as an emerging lens to understand contemporary digital activism.
How to Cite
Zhao, X. A., & Abidin, C. (2021). TIKTOK’S ‘FOX EYE’ TREND AND EVERYDAY ACTIVISM: GEN Z AGENCY IN AN AUDIOVISUAL NARRATIVE CASE STUDY. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12267