Imagery Matters: The Role of Fitness Influencers in the Reproduction of Socio-Cultural Gender Norms

Mills, Claire ORCID: 0000-0003-4156-4593, Ware, Fiona and Woodruff, Lucy (2022) Imagery Matters: The Role of Fitness Influencers in the Reproduction of Socio-Cultural Gender Norms. Sports and Exercise Medicine – Open Journal, 8 (1). pp. 29-38. doi:10.17140/SEMOJ-8-188

11628 Mills et al (2022) Imagery-Matters-The-Role-of-Fitness-Influencers-in-the-Reproduction-of-Socio-Cultural-Gender-Norms-SEMOJ-8-188.pdf - Published Version
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Introduction: This research explores Instagram ‘Fitness Influencers’, to develop an understanding of the content they post online, the level of objectification and gender differences in the extent of this objectification. The media previously has presented gendered representations of women and men, with women subjected to greater objectification than males, with similar findings in social media research. Fitness Influencers are online micro-celebrities influential on young people, thus knowledge of the images being consumed is beneficial due to the associated detrimental effects of unconsciously internalising objectified media and that promoting unattainable beauty standards. Method: A content analysis of 90 influencer images was conducted to provide an understanding of the type of images shared, followed by a Chi2 to determine gender differences; the qualitative content analysis phase identified four main themes, lifestyle, brand endorsements, engaged in activity and objectification. Results: Gender differences were found, with males objectified to a greater extent (n = 21) than females (n = 15), contrasting previous literature, however, no significant difference was found (P>0.05). However, objectification sub-themes found significant differences in muscularity between males and females and in sultry poses (P<0.001), in line with gender stereotypes and norms in society. Conclusion: The identification of greater objectification of males highlights the need for greater consideration for male’s body image, and greater consideration for the content being shared online more generally, due to the associated detrimental effects of consuming certain types of imagery.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Q Science > QM Human anatomy
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Claire Mills
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2022 11:20
Last Modified: 02 Nov 2023 14:22

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