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The fallacy of an ideal body image : How #fitspiration on Instagram influences the perception of the body image from young men, a qualitative study

Gollan, J.M. (2022) The fallacy of an ideal body image : How #fitspiration on Instagram influences the perception of the body image from young men, a qualitative study.

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Abstract:Introduction: Instagram is one of the most used social media platforms worldwide. Under the hashtag #fitspiration people showcase their fitness journey and bodies. People tend to compare themselves with the showcased ideal body image that can be found under this hashtag. Nevertheless, there is still a lack of research regarding the effect of this published content, especially on young men. Objective: Therefore, this study focuses on the effect of #fitspiration on Instagram concerning the perception of the body image from young men. Method: Data collection was performed through qualitative semi-structured interviews. To get a deeper understanding of the researched topic participants' experiences and perceptions were gathered through 15 in-depth interviews. The sample consisted of 15 young men between the age of 20 and 24 who are all at university. Participants were selected through a stratified- and snowball sampling process. After collecting the data from the participants, a codebook was created which was based on the interviews and the theoretical framework. Then the interviews were coded using a mixture of an inductive and deductive coaching approach. Results: Results were explained based on the findings of the interview. Findings of body images, social identity, social comparison, and behavioral adjustments were described. Those chosen topics are based on the codes that were created before the analysis of the interview. The results showed that an ideal body image is characterized by a low body fat percentage and a muscular upper body. Through comparison with other bodies on Instagram, people feel less satisfied with themselves even if they are aware of a false reality that is showcased on social media. Conclusion: This study found out that even if the body characteristics of a young man are similar to what he himself has described as ideal, he is not satisfied with his body because of the ideal represented on Instagram. Recommendations: It is advised that further research concentrates on examining this topic with a focus on other social media platforms like YouTube, TikTok, or Twitter in addition to conducting more qualitative studies to gain more information.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Programme:Communication Studies BSc (56615)
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