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Young People’s Experiences of Engaging With Fitspiration on Instagram: A Gendered Perspective.

Mayoh, J. and Jones, I., 2021. Young People’s Experiences of Engaging With Fitspiration on Instagram: A Gendered Perspective. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23 (10), -.

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DOI: 10.2196/17811

Abstract

Background: Fitness inspiration or fitspiration is a term used to describe web-based images of fit people, people in the gym, health foods, or inspirational quotes relating to diet and fitness being shared and consumed via visual social media. The popularity of this content is most notable via the Instagram platform. Currently, the majority of fitspiration research has focused on women’s experiences; however, increasingly, studies have pointed to the need to explore the gendered ways by which people engage with this content. Objective: The aim of this study is to explore how young men and women engage in fitspiration content on Instagram and provide a gendered analysis of how and why they consume this content. Methods: This study used a cross-sectional web-based survey (N=1213) of UK-based fitspiration users aged 18-24 years consisting of closed-ended questions to capture quantitative data. Results: The majority actively using Instagram for fitspiration (therefore eligible participants) were women (826/1175, 70.30%). Men were more likely to view content posted by athletes (χ 2 1, N=1153=71.8; P=.001) and bodybuilders (χ 2 1, N=1153=32.8; P<.001), whereas women were more likely to view content related to weight loss (χ 2 1, N=1153=36.8; P<.001), diet plans (χ 2 1, N=1153=11.9; P<.001), and celebrities’ content (χ 2 1, N=1153=33.5; P<.001). Men were more likely to use fitspiration as a source of inspiration to exercise to gain muscle or get stronger (χ 2 1, N=1147=17.9; P<.001), whereas women were more likely to use fitspiration as inspiration for healthy eating (χ 2 1, N=1147=37.7; P<.001), or to exercise to diet or lose weight (χ 2 1, N=1147=13.5; P<.001). Women were more likely to engage in passive behaviors such as viewing content on their feed (χ 2 1, N=1139=7.9; P=.005) or scrolling through accounts (χ 2 1, N=1139=15.2; P<.001), whereas men were more likely to engage in active consumption by tagging fitspiration accounts in posts (χ 2 1, N=1139=7.2; P=.007), commenting on posts (χ 2 1, N=1139=8.1; P=.004), and posting fitspiration content (χ 2 1, N=1139=6.4; P=.01). Conclusions: Female fitspiration consumers engaged with content that reinforced the feminine thin but shapely ideal, whereas male users sought out content that reinforced the masculine muscular ideal. Male users were more likely to engage actively with content (eg, posting fitspiration content), while female users were more likely to engage passively (eg, scrolling through accounts, posts, or images). Future research should consider how fitspiration consumption reflects and reproduces oppressive gender ideology.

Item Type:Article
ISSN:1438-8871
Uncontrolled Keywords:social media; gender; physical fitness; women’s health; men’s health; body ideals
Group:Bournemouth University Business School
ID Code:36080
Deposited By: Unnamed user with email symplectic@symplectic
Deposited On:05 Oct 2021 14:22
Last Modified:05 Oct 2021 14:22

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