Kai Prins

Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture






6164 Vilas Hall


Kai Prins, MA, is a PhD candidate studying Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture in the Department of Communication Arts at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Using feminist and queer theory as an orientation to criticism, Kai studies the rhetorical influence of economics and/on embodied gender performance in neoliberal consumer culture. Their research interests include the marketing and advertising of social issues, the convergence of wellness and new media, and drag performance.

With a background in corporate marketing, wellness coaching, podcasting/voice over, and theatre, their interests and methodologies vary — but always with the end goal of understanding how we persuade and are persuaded by embodied rhetoric.


Gender studies, Feminist Theory, Queer Theory; Performance Studies; Masculinity; Marketing and Advertising; Neoliberalism


B.A. English, University of Florida, 2007

M.A. Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2021



CA 371: Communication and Conflict Resolution (Summer 2022)

Teaching Assistant

CA 200 – Introduction to Digital Communication (Fall 2022)

CA 260 – Communication and Human Behavior (Fall 2019/Spring 2020)

CA 262 – Theory & Practice of Argumentation and Debate (Fall 2021/Spring 2022)


CA 316 – Gender and Communication (Summer 2021)


DesignLab – Consultant (Fall 2020/Spring 2021)


Marketing, Advertising, and Consumer Culture

Research Articles

Prins, K. and M. Wellman (2021). Dodging Negativity Like It’s My Freaking Job: Marketing Postfeminist Positivity through Beachbody Fitness on Instagram. Feminist Media Studies.

Book Chapters

Prins, K. (2022). “The Best a Man Can Be?: Finding a Place for the ‘Real’ Man in Grooming Advertisements.” In Cultures of Authenticity. Emerald Publishing.

Book Reviews

Prins, K. (2022). “Review of Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture.” Journal of Consumer Culture.


Research Articles

Prins, K. (2021). Monsters Outside of the Closet: Reading the Queer Art of Winning in The Boulet Brothers’ DragulaQED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 8(2), 43-67.


“Dodging Negativity Like It’s My Freaking Job”
COMM 491: Communicating Wellness on Social Media. University of Illinois – Chicago, Communication Department, September 2022.

“The Gay-te Keepers at the Fourth Wall: Queering the Borders of the Drag Stage”
Mapping the Margins, Revisited: Intersectionality and American Studies. University of Passau, Germany, American Studies Department, June 2021.

“Drag Kings Can Reign as Fierce as Queens: Theory and Performance of Masculinity in Drag”
Drag Performance in the U.S. University of Passau, Germany, American Studies Department, January 2021.


Marketing, Advertising, and Consumer Culture

“Money Talks – But Can It Care? Target-ing a Postfeminist Rhetoric of Care in Corporate Social Responsibility Advertising.”
National Communication Association, Economics, Communication, and Society Division. New Orleans, LA. November 2022.

“From Male Tears to Women’s Shopping Carts: Grooming Neoliberal Female Consumers through Depictions of Masculinity in Crisis in Men’s Grooming Ads.”
Emergent Femininities and Masculinities in 21st Century Media and Popular Culture. Athens, Greece. September 2022.

“Si(gh)tation: Targeting Race in Advertisements after the George Floyd Protests.”
Console-ing Passions. Orlando, Florida. June 2022.

“Real Men Wear Heels?: Finding Queer and Trans Masculinities in Axe’s ‘Find Your Magic’ Campaign.”
Rhetoric Society of America. Baltimore, Maryland. May 2022.

“Neoliberal Hege-MANy: Producing the Multiply Masculine Consumer in Dollar Shave Club Ads”
Popular Culture Association Conference. Virtual. June 2021.

“The Best a Man Can Be?: Finding a Place for ‘Real’ Men in Feminist Critiques of Authenticity in Self-Care Advertising”
Cultures of Authenticity Webinar Series. Virtual. November 2020.

Health and Wellness

“Uncertain and Anxiously Searching for Answers: The Roles of Negative Healthcare Experiences and Medical Mistrust in Intentions to Seek Information from Online Spaces.”
CO-AUTHOR with Dr. Lillie Williamson; National Communication Association, Health Communication Division. New Orleans, LA. November 2022.

“You are the CEO of your own body”: Leaning in by leaning out in neoliberal fitness rhetoric.” in “A Media Theory of Gaslight, Gatekeep, Girlboss: On the Platformization of (Post-)Feminism(s) & Cultural Industry Research” Panel.
International Communication Association. Paris, France. May 2022.

“‘I’ve Always Posted about Politics’: The Visceral Convergence of Wellness Influencers and QAnon Conspiracy Theories in the Public Sphere.”
Rhetoric Society of America. Baltimore, Maryland. May 2022.

“Illness in the Wellness Model: Is Orthorexia a Communic(ate)able Disease?”
National Communication Association. Seattle, Washington. November 2021.

“#FaithandFitnessCollide: Spreading the Word of Multilevel Marketing in Christian Women’s Fitness Instagram Posts.”
CO-AUTHOR with Dr. Mariah Wellman. Association of Internet Researchers Conference. Virtual. October 2021.


“‘Post/human Drag: Drag Beyond Gender.”
Posthuman Bodies and Embodied Posthumanisms Conference. Virtual/University of Warwick and Nottingham Trent University. October 2022.

“‘Posthuman Realness’: Living for the Dead in Zombie Drag Performance”
CO-AUTHOR with Florian Zitzelsberger. Theorizing Zombiism II Conference. Virtual/University of Gothenburg. July 2021.

“Mask-ulinity: A Socially-Distanced Drag King Revue”
The UW System’s Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium & UW-Madison’s 4W Initiative. Resistance and Reimagination: Gender, Change, and The Arts. Virtual. April 2021.

“Drag Kings Can Reign as Fierce as Queens: The Feminine Art of Masculine Drag”
National Communication Association, Performance Studies Division. Virtual. November 2020.

“The Queer Art of Winning: A Close Reading of The Boulet Brothers’ Dragula
Supermodels of the World: A Drag Race Symposium. Virtual. September 2020.


Helen K. Herman Award, 2022
In recognition of excellence in research, teaching and extra-curricular activities. Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Campus-Wide TA Awards: Excellent Service, 2022
Recognizes TAs who, in addition to their regular duties, perform exceptional service related to the educational mission of their department and our university (volunteerism, committee work, mentoring, etc.). Graduate School, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Lloyd Bitzer Essay Award, 2021
For excellence in rhetorical analysis and/or theory development by a graduate student in Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture. Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Risser Award, 2021
For female scholars of high achievement and promise. Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Top Student Paper in Performance Studies, 2020
Performance Studies Division, National Communication Association Conference


2021-2023, Secretary, Rhetoric Society of America (RSA) Graduate Student Chapter

2019-2020, Area Rep, Graduate Student Organization (GSO)


Personal Website