Study Addresses Body Positivity and Advertising

July 8, 2021

Study Addresses Body Positivity and Advertising

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In a new study conducted by doctoral student Kyla Brathwaite, Instagram users who detect self-promotion or corporate marketing in a post promoting the body positivity movement may be turned off by that dual messaging.

In the study, women observed experimental Instagram posts that borrowed body positive captions from actual users and contained body positive hashtags. Some of these posts asked viewers to either like and follow their profiles while others advertised products or services. 

Researchers found that posts containing advertisements or self-promotion appear more morally insincere to viewers.

“If companies are going to use body positive imagery, it’s a balancing act between trying to seem authentic – and hopefully be authentic – with what they’re trying to push,” said Brathwaite. 

“But seeing so much body positivity content coupled with advertising might make viewers wary about the movement – or see the movement as something that’s appearance-centered.”

Read more about Brathwaite’s findings in Ohio State News.