Documenting Femininity: Body-Positivity and Female Empowerment on Instagram
Cwynar-Horta, Jessica Cristina
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Drawing on participatory research, this study examines the body positive community on Instagram in order to understand how social media platforms enable women to self-present outside of traditional gender norms and challenge dominant ideals of feminine beauty, including the demands to produce smooth skin, to adhere to body size norms, and contain bodily fluids. Although women are experiencing embodiment and agency online, analysis revealed that body positive members are simultaneously repeating dominant codes and reinforcing views of non-normative bodies. This was noticeable when analyzing the responses of the female viewers interviewed for the study who reported visceral feelings of disgust towards the non-normative bodies on display.