Sharing handsome, clever, and rich: Social Mobility in Emma Approved

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The succes of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (LBD) popularised the social media transmedia adaptations, which coerced academics to study this newly emerged form. Most of the existing research centres around the new media forms and the effects they have on the narrative’s relationship with the audience. The LBD’s feminist themes have also been highlighted. However, also interesting are the effects of the choices made to suit the social media transmedia adaption, especially on the much less written about Emma Approved. Some already mention how Emma Approved has a complicated relationship with the vlog-style format and the question of existing in-world, or else the show’s focus on business and consumeristic behaviour. This paper will look at Jane Austen’s Emma and its themes of class and social mobility, and then compare it to the modern internet adaptation Emma Approved. It will also look at how the transmedia elements influence the theme. What is found is that the addition of the Emma Approved brand and business as both a substitution for Emma’s gentry background and as an explanation for the vlog-format has drastically changed the main relationships in the story to such an extent that none of the characters are able to confront Emma’s privilege. The transmedia format they chose, the vlog format, also helps validate Emma’s flaws, as does the in-world business. Because the story itself is a way to persuade people to change their lifestyle, Emma’s meddling is not condemned, rather her methods of doing so.
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