Documenting YouTubers and Female Empowerment
A study of Female Fitness Vloggers’ influence on female audiences
Vloggers became exponentially popular within the last decade, due to their trustworthiness and their status of “celebrities chosen” by the population. The fitness industry has seen a shift brought on by the new exposure to these same vloggers; between rising popularity of sportswear, of fit expositions, of fitness vlogs and athletes, a new audience became visible. As a matter of fact, these new communicators became leaders of positive and empowering movements for many, embracing female liberating movements. Few studies focus both on female empowering movements and the role of female fitness vloggers as communicators. Platforms such as Instagram and written blogs have been investigated thoroughly in relation to female empowerment and sports, in contrast to YouTube which has not been related to female liberating improvements. Therefore, it has been decided to research the influence of Female fitness vloggers on the empowerment and positive liberation of their female audience. To do so, twelve semi-structured interviews were conducted in a time frame of 40 days, allowing an in-depth qualitative research. Convenience sampling was used to acquire the respondents. Indeed, reaching out to women adequate for the research was interesting due to their very low visibility; making it difficult to locate and contact potential respondents. No age limit was determined, even though all respondents were aged between 18 and 26 years old and were women. Many theories such as empowerment, opinion leaders and influencers, uses of internet and online participation, uses and gratifications, online communities as well as ‘edutainment’ and ‘infotainment’ were used to guide the data analysis. Five main dimensions of fitness vloggers’ positive influence on their female audience have been uncovered by the research. Firstly, vloggers establish a community of support for their followers by being the front runner of a group. Secondly, vloggers increase awareness and recognition for fitness as a sport, by offering their viewers new knowledge about the topic and a more feminine perspective on it. This new awareness and knowledge induces a social change within the community of viewers which is significant for empowering movements. Finally, vloggers affect their viewers by prompting personal gratifications such as increased self-esteem and confidence for instance, of their audience. Each one of these findings demonstrate the positive power of influence female fitness vloggers hold on their female public, triggering female empowering growth.
|Keywords||media, culture, society, Female empowerment, Fitness vloggers, YouTube, Social change, Femininity, Influencers|
|Thesis Advisor||A.C. Uribe Sandoval, J.S. Lee|
|Series||Media, Culture & Society|
J.C. Heuillard. (2017, October 9). Documenting YouTubers and Female Empowerment. Media, Culture & Society. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/2105/39698