Are All Bodies Good Bodies?: Redefining Femininity Through Discourses of Health, Beauty, and Gender in Body Positivity

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Virginia Tech


Previous research has explored the ways in which health, beauty, and gender discourses are used to promote and regulate an ideal of thinness. Further, research has explored how the fat acceptance movement and fitspiration has fought to resist such narratives. However, in the age of hashtag feminism a new group on social media, body positivity, has become the buzzword among celebrities, news conglomerates, and fashion companies. This study draws on interviews with body positive influencers and Instagram posts tagged #bodypositive and #fitspiration to examine the extent to which body positive influencers and users modify understandings of normative feminine body ideals and to what extent they resist and accommodate traditional discourses of gender, health, and beauty. In doing so, I explore which bodies are newly included and who is left out.



Body Positivity, Gender, Beauty, Health, Social Media, Instagram, Fat Studies