Spectra Undergraduate Research Journal


Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences > Urban Affairs > Communication Studies


October 30, 2020


January 18, 2021


February 26, 2021


Ayla S. Gelsinger (ASG)¹*

Author Affiliations

¹Department of Psychology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV, USA.

Corresponding Author

*Ayla S. Gelsinger, gelsia1@unlv.nevada.edu

Corresponding Author ORCID iD


Author Contributions

ASG: Contributed conceptualization, methodology, fieldwork investigation, thematic analysis, coding, writing of the original draft, reviewing and editing of the manuscript

Data Availability Statement

The author of this article confirms that all data underlying the findings are fully available without restrictions.

Conflicts of Interest

The author declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Considerations

Given that this project did not involve human or animal subjects, no IRB or IACUC approval was needed. No data are presented in this paper derived from the participants and all program elements are publicly shared.


This research was not funded.


Instagram, a photo based social networking site, is one of the most popular forms of social media. The Body Positive Movement campaign surfaced on Instagram in 2012 and aimed to confront the unrealistic expectations and unrepresentative portrayals of women in popular media and advertising. The present study aimed to analyze whether posts that were tagged #bodypositive or #bodypositivity upheld the initial goals of the movement by taking note of the characteristics (including race, sex, gender, and body type) of people that were featured in the top posts of the #bodypositive or #bodypositivity tags. Resultant fieldnotes were coded into the following themes: 1) Hegemonic views of beauty, 2) Homogenous properties of popular posters and posts, 3) Body image centered posting, 4) Crossposting, and 5) Achieving fame and gaining publicity and exposure. It was found that top #bodypositive or #bodypositivity posts often upheld hegemonic beauty standards that are common in popular media. These findings suggest that the Body Positive Movement strayed from its initial goals, thereby failing to provide an outlet for bodies that diverge from the ideals set by popular media. The present study suggests two alternative hashtags-- #effyourbeautystandards and #bodycompassion--that both represent diverse body types and identities while empowering women to be accepting and loving of their bodies. These tags have created a space where the hegemonic views of beauty are questioned and opposed, therefore succeeding in the ways that the Body Positive Movement is failing.


Body Positive Movement, Popular media, Hegemonic views of beauty

Submission Type

Primary research article

Included in

Social Media Commons