The Growing Up Asian American Tag: An Asian American Networked Counterpublic on YouTube

Dasol Kim


The “Growing Up Asian American” (GUAA) tag on YouTube conveys the marginalized experiences of Asian American women and offers narratives not shown in the mainstream media as a networked counterpublic. By exploring YouTube videos using this tag, I analyzed counterpublic discourses formed by nonstar Asian American YouTubers and how these discourses were shaped by the culture and medium of YouTube. Using mixed methods, including semantic network analysis and discursive textual analysis, I explored the unique traits of the GUAA Asian American networked counterpublic on YouTube. Although the discourses formed around the tag are considered relatively soft, an issue compounded by the nature of microcelebrity culture, the GUAA tag has also allowed Asian Americans to narrate their own personal and affective stories. The audiovisual nature of YouTube allows Asian Americans to talk with their bodies and voices to express their rich, heterogeneous, and intersectional identity, which cannot be reduced to one monolithic media portrayal.


Asian American, YouTube, networked counterpublics, semantic network analysis, mixed methods

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