One-dimensional body: The homogenized body of Instagram's #BodyPositive

Author: 
Date created: 
2020-08-31
Identifier: 
etd21017
Keywords: 
Body positive
Instagram
False needs
Media system
Public perception
Abstract: 

This project examines the Body Positive movement on the social media platform Instagram. The approach is influenced by the work of Herbert Marcuse on consumer culture and media systems. and Susan Bordo and other feminist scholars on the representation and subsequent commodification of the female body. The project examines how Instagram and its algorithms affect the public representation of bodies and the Body Positive social movement. The method is a single-image analysis of Instagram posts in the #bodypositive space. In a sample of 150 posts, analysis of body types shows that bodies reflecting mainstream characteristics in terms of shape, ability and disability, and skin tone and markings comprise 60% of all posts, with marginalized bodies occupying the other 40%. It is concluded that Instagram prioritizes a certain type of body over others therefore restricting the ability of a movement such as the Body Positive movement to alter mainstream body images via this platform.

Document type: 
Graduating extended essay / Research project
Rights: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
File(s): 
Supervisor(s): 
Alison Beale
Department: 
Communication, Art & Technology: School of Communication
Thesis type: 
(Extended Essay) M.A.
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