In contemporary culture, there is no stronger imperative than to be authentic. But what does authenticity actually mean? Everywhere we turn, we are urged to “live our truth”: an element of Western culture that is almost never questioned. Authenticity in all its contexts is becoming more significant than ever as digital culture breeds fakery and capitalism offers the illusion of infinite choice. In this climate, finding and being yourself is a more complex idea than it sounds – one that should not necessarily be taken as doctrine. In this set of six sharp, lively essays, the writer and journalist Emily Bootle explores how authenticity has pervaded every facet of our culture, from modern celebrity and identity politics to instagram captions and wellness. Blending pop culture and philosophy, this book dismantles the ideology surrounding being ourselves at all costs, and questions what fuels our authenticity obsession.
"A very elegant and sharp-eyed series of essays. Emily Bootle asks all the right questions about the changes social media is forcing upon our sense of self, what the public now expects from its celebrities and artists, and the extent to which the modern world has turned us all into performers." - Jonathan Coe
"At a time when the personal has become deeply political, and vice versa, it's hard not to look at yourself in your front cam and think – in your best inner Nikki Grahame voice – "who is she"? Here, Emily Bootle has dared to poke an entire family of bears. From celebrity relatability through to personal branding, the wellness industry and the dominant narrative of "living your truth", this is a fascinating deep dive into the most lucrative and fractured phenomenon of the post-internet age: our selves." - Emma Garland
"Emily Bootle is one of our shrewdest and wittiest cultural critics. Keenly attentive to the many absurdities of celebrity coverage, corporate branding tropes, social media affectations and online discourse, THIS IS NOT WHO I AM dismantles the contradictions that underpin contemporary culture. Turning her gimlet eye on the influencer economy, Kim Kardashian, astrology, artisanal coffee, Jane Austen, and the kind of man who considers himself "a creative, which is to say he has a humanities degree", Bootle exposes the fundamental collective delusion that links all of the above - our insistence on cultivating and exhibiting a single "authentic" self." - Anna Leszkiewicz, New Statesman
“Her book, This Is Not Who I Am, offers a sharp commentary on the pervasiveness of “authenticity-culture” and probes its contradictions… Whatever your path, authenticity in capitalist culture remains a profitable mirage and Bootle’s book offers a timely and compelling critique on the messiness of this quest.” - Stephanie Bishop, The Monthly