The growing trend of body positivity and the awareness shred on issues of body image disorders has also become a prominent part of the social media landscape. With the growth of Web 2.0 and the new opportunities provided by social networking sites (SNS), communities find such platforms as an appropriate outlet to spread the movement. With such growth, these newer concepts also become a focus point of research. Scholarly work on topics such as eating disorders, body image and beauty ideals has extended to newer concepts such as body positivity, fitspiration, and fat acceptance. The present study aims to build on existing work and provide new insights from a new audience perspective. The study provides a content analysis of body positivity content shared by plus size models. More specifically, the study will research the question of ‘’How is the female body portrayed through captions and imagery shared by Instagram plus size models who create body positive content?’’. A set of 160 Instagram captions and 80 images were analyzed through the qualitative research methods. The method of thematic analysis and visual analysis has been used, on a corpus of captions and images collected though a purposive sampling based on a prior defined criterion. Results of the research come to show that the female body was generally portrayed through positive narratives relating to categories such as body acceptance and love, body appreciation and inner positivity. Through the course of research, some negative concepts have appeared, however these concepts mostly defined criticism towards widely accepted beauty ideals and diet culture. Additionally, the imagery depicted the female body in its most natural light, showcasing flaws and imperfections. These flaws, accompanied by captions were defined in a constructive manner and in fact with an aim to turn the narrative; proving that no female body is perfect. This research has employed existing theories and concept of other scholars on the concept of body positivity and applied these proven theories from a new demographic. While the research has reached a coherence with other research findings, some new concepts have also emerged, which can be further explored in future research.

, , , , , ,
Dr. Hester Hockin-Boyers
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Aylya Mihaylova. (2022, November 30). Female body representation by Instagram plus size models who share body positivity content.. Media & Business. Retrieved from