ESPN’S #BODYISSUE ON INSTAGRAM: THE SELF-PREPRESENTATION OF WOMEN ATHLETES AND FEEDBACK FROM THEIR AUDIENCE OF WOMEN
Keywords:self-presentation, gender differences, Instagram, Body Issue 2016, Goffman, Social Comparison Theory
This study used Instagram to explore the 2016 ESPN: The Magazine’s Body Issue, with a particular focus on the women athletes featured. A two-prong content analysis was utilized for this study. Photo analysis of “ESPN’s Body Issue photos” (i.e., released on ESPN’s website; N = 141) and “ESPN’s Body Issue photos posted on athlete’s Instagram” (i.e., ESPN photos posted on the athletes’ Instagram account; N = 16) was conducted. Most of “ESPN’s Body Issue photos” were “getting pretty” shots, whereas, the majority of “ESPN’s Body Issue photos posted on athlete’s Instagram” were “athletic action” or “active in sport.” Audience reactions from women to Body Issue photos posted on the women athletes’ Instagram accounts were explored through examining ~3,000 comments, and results suggest that women athletes can and do play a role in how other women socially construct themselves. Overall, findings contribute to understanding women athletes in the media.
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