Toronto Metropolitan University
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The Commodification of Body Positivity: Constructing a Neoliberal Fat Citizenship

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posted on 2021-05-23, 13:15 authored by Rhiannon Sian Downey
From inspirational messages to celebrated pictures of cellulite and belly rolls, body positive content has become increasingly popular on social media platforms, particularly on image-based networking sites. With the rapid growth of communication technology, it is not surprising that social networking sites, such as Instagram, have become one of the most dominant and influential mediates to cultivating awareness, foster community, and advocate for social change. Instagram’s transition to an advertising platform, however, has introduced a consumerist structure to user activity for corporations to better direct advertisements at target audiences. A once social movement advocating for the rejection of thin beauty ideals in favour of a more inclusive and positive conception of body image has felt the impact of commoditization on its message and advocates. Through Foucauldian Discourse Analysis, this research study seeks to analyze the impact of Instagram’s transition to a commercialization platform on the self-representation of body positive advocates to better understand the influence of neoliberal and capitalist structures on social resistance movements and strategies.





  • Master of Social Work


  • Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP