Date of Award

Summer 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Religion, PhD


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Nicola Denzey Lewis

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Matthew Bowman

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Patrick Mason

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Karen Torjesen

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2023 Kathryn Davis


Blog, Evangelicalism, Influencer, Mormonism, Performativity, Women

Subject Categories

Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Religion | Women's Studies


The construction of a digital self is fully performative; online identities are simultaneously highly curated, edited, and uniquely personal. These spaces allow users to become producers of identity and religious narrative. In this dissertation I examine the online communities which are a dynamic and developing aspect of religious life in America. I will argue that religious women have created increasingly diverse virtual spaces for themselves, and that these online communities give women a safe space to talk about their faith and create common bonds with other female adherents. I have engaged with these creators directly through oral history interviews and indirectly through their content, with the goal of understanding how women in these two traditions self-conceptualize, creating a project that is specific to the lived experiences of religious women by talking to them rather than simply looking at them. The online stage has provided a democratic means for women to perform their gender while also shaping and constructing their cultural archetypes. The body of the religious woman is the canvas upon which the cultural and religious expectations are crafted into a solid gender identity. Through these platforms a significant number of Latter-day Saint and Evangelical Christian women co-create, sustain, and perpetuate systemic gendered norms through repetitious acts of performance. However, these platforms reflect the diversity of opinion which has always existed among women in each of these groups. I conducted twenty-nine oral histories with Mormon and Evangelical content creators over the course of two years. All interviews will be archived with the Honnold Library at the Claremont Colleges in a special collection. Of those twenty-nine I have selected eighteen to feature in the following chapters. Throughout this series of interviews I found that, while most would not use (or be comfortable with) the language of gender theory, they were each making conscious decisions about their gendered identity. As content producers they are engaged in a dual-awareness of themselves as both a private and public image, and many of them spoke about their choices in those terms. The “them” which is present on their public platform is a stylized series of choices which do not always line up with the “them” which is present in private. This conscious curation or “branding” was a common practice for women in all categories.