• #effyourbeautystandards: message construction in the body positivity movement on Instagram

      Bahr, Nike; May, Amy; DeCaro, Peter; Hum, Richard (2018-05)
      Beauty is a socially constructed concept that delineates specific characteristics of physical appearance which are to be perceived as aesthetically pleasing. In Western cultures, the ideal of this constructed beauty can be found to center on thinness. Reinforced through media images, the thin ideal can lead to internalization and increased body dissatisfaction in female viewers. To counteract body dissatisfaction resulting from internalization of these ideals, advocators on the social media platform Instagram can be seen to popularize the concept of body positivity. The resulting social movement aims at enabling individuals who do not fit the normed thin ideal to develop a benevolent approach to their physique. In the analysis of a sample of 280 Instagram posts concerned with the body positivity movement, a clear trend towards an adjusted construction of self-presentation was observed that clearly differs from socially enforced norms of beauty and ideal body size. When constructing posts that are concerned with body positivity, users of Instagram adjust the creation of their digital personality to fit the norms of imperfection and honesty inherent in the movement. Interviews conducted by the researcher further confirmed that the public recognizes that the messages communicated within this movement reveal personal stories and insecurities to both function as inspiration and motivation to the audience while also constituting a means of receiving validation.