The risks of adopting ‘body positivity’ to make a sale

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Instagram customers who detect self-promotion or company advertising and marketing in a publish embracing the physique positivity motion could also be turned off by that twin messaging, new analysis suggests.

In the examine, ladies considered experimental Instagram posts that borrowed physique constructive messages from precise customers and contained physique constructive hashtags, corresponding to #bopo. The posts all featured the identical preliminary physique constructive sentiment, however some posts additionally requested viewers to both like and observe their profiles and others marketed services or products.

Researchers discovered that contributors who noticed self-promotion or promoting thought-about the posts much less morally acceptable and never altogether honest of their help of the physique positivity movement compared to non-promotional posts.

Self-promotion was persistently perceived by examine contributors to be much less unfavourable than company promoting, however the viewers didn’t go as far as to think about any advertising and marketing messages offensive or inappropriate, the findings confirmed.

“If corporations are going to make use of physique constructive imagery, it is a balancing act between attempting to appear genuine—and hopefully be genuine—with what they’re attempting to push,” stated Kyla Brathwaite, lead writer of the examine and a doctoral pupil in communication at The Ohio State University.

“But seeing a lot physique positivity content material coupled with promoting may make viewers cautious in regards to the motion—or see the motion as one thing that is appearance-centered.”

Brathwaite carried out the examine with co-author David DeAndrea, affiliate professor of communication at Ohio State. The open-access article is revealed within the journal Communication Monographs.

Before the “physique constructive” phrase was coined and physique positivity-related hashtags emerged on Instagram, the fats acceptance motion advocated for the rights and dignity of fats individuals. Now, as then, the physique positivity motion decries society’s fixation on younger, skinny, white our bodies and requires acceptance and appreciation of our bodies of all shapes, sizes, colours, appearances and skills.

After encountering the “fitspiration” and “thinspiration” messages pushing train and weight-reduction plan on social media and extra just lately observing the expansion of the physique positivity motion, Brathwaite “began listening to a voice in my head saying persons are co-opting the motion and attempting to promote me issues.”

With tens of millions of hashtagged posts mixed with widespread sponsored content material on Instagram, the platform turned a beautiful candidate for examine.

“Our hope was to attempt to converse extra broadly to prosocial actions on-line usually,” DeAndrea stated. “They’re only once they appear genuinely grassroots. Then you may have corporations that acknowledge this and try to piggyback off the goodwill of the motion to assist themselves.”

The researchers recruited 851 ladies from TurkPrime (now CloudResearch) ranging in age from 18 to 89.

Each participant considered a complete of 10 experimental Instagram posts, all of which included two physique constructive messages that functioned as the premise of posts within the examine that represented movement-supporting consumer content material: “We will not be distracted by comparability if we’re captivated by function” and “Be achieved shrinking your thoughts, physique and soul. Take up house.” The messages additionally featured hashtags corresponding to #allbodiesaregoodbodies and #bopo.

Messages representing user-generated self-promotion added encouragement to love, remark or go to a YouTube channel. Corporate-sponsored messages both centered on appearance-centered objects by including language selling a health plan and “flaw-blurring” facial merchandise or, in a management situation, marketed a clothes line utilizing language that made no point out of look.

An evaluation of viewer reactions confirmed that the upper the contributors’ recognition of promotional cues within the experimental messages, the extra seemingly they had been to attribute posters’ motivation to one thing apart from an embrace of physique positivity.

The researchers additionally wished to gauge how pictures related to messages influenced viewers’ perceptions, and examined this by that includes pictures of both average- or plus-sized ladies within the messages. The extra that contributors perceived ladies’s our bodies on posts to be plus-sized, the extra they rated the messages as morally acceptable and believed the messages had been solely shared to advertise physique positivity.

“One may assume that customers viewing a marketing campaign that is speaking about physique positivity however not that includes ladies the motion is meant to help could also be questioning the motives of those corporations,” Brathwaite stated.

The researchers famous that the outcomes recommend meshing the motion with advertising and marketing has potential pitfalls for each body positivity itself and for corporations that give a nod to the motion of their advertisements.

“The query is whether or not you’ll be able to stroll that tightrope of selling the motion whereas promoting the product,” DeAndrea stated. “It does appear that folks did not discover these messages or pictures inappropriate, however it may possibly nonetheless be achieved in a manner that may reduce any diploma to which the motion is undermined, and from an organization perspective, reduce any possibilities for blowback primarily based on exploitation of the motion.”

Women can build positive body image by controlling what they view on social media

More data:
Kyla N. Brathwaite et al, BoPopriation: How self-promotion and company commodification can undermine the physique positivity (BoPo) motion on Instagram, Communication Monographs (2021). DOI: 10.1080/03637751.2021.1925939

The dangers of adopting ‘physique positivity’ to make a sale (2021, June 21)
retrieved 21 June 2021

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