Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology & Research

Committee Chair

Denise Winsor

Committee Member

Rosie Davis

Committee Member

Christian Mueller

Committee Member

Susan Nordstrom


Hip Hop feminist research seeks to combat oppressive experiences of Black women by encouraging them to share their stories through its main tenets: fuck with the grays (Morgan, 2017), bring wreck (Pough, 2015), and pleasure politics (Morgan, 2015). Previous research on sexy selfies has mainly investigated the trends, motivations, and dangers of these practices, but only a few include the lived experiences and voices of Black women. Building on research surrounding identity and sexy selfie engagement within 21st century Hip Hop (HH) and social media cultures, this HH feminist narrative inquiry study investigated the following research questions: (1) How is young Black womens identity development influenced and shaped by sexy selfie practices? (2) In young Black women, what characteristics of identity are influenced by sexy selfie practices? (3) In young Black women, how are these characteristics of identity shaped by social media and sexy selfie practices? Nine young Black women, aged 18-24, from an urban city in the southern region of the United States participated in this study. Participants were asked to engage in one semi-structured interview and complete four reflective journal entries. The researcher kept field journals as well. The resulting data were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis with respect to two levels of theory: Hip Hop feminist theory at the macro level and identity development theories (e.g. gendered-racial identity, sexual scripting, and sexual attachment) at mid-level. The following themes emerged: (1) there is an other that impacts young Black womens display of sexiness; (2) sexy selfies empower Black women to fuck with the grays and bring wreck to oppressive sexuality constraints; (3) social media is a creative space and an outlet for Black women to represent themselves, and (4) everyone is doing it; so protect, not silence us. In addition, nine unique narratives highlighting participants sexy selfie experiences were co-created through creative analytic practice. This study demonstrates the importance of Hip Hop and social media as outlets for creative and expressional freedom and establishes the need for (1) laws to help protect Black youth who feel oppressed, demoralized, and silenced; and (2) critical media literacy and educational reform that would mandate a critical analysis of the images prevalent in lives of youth.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest