This is working towards objective 1, 3, 4 and 5.
I came across this short documentary on the BBC, and discovered that a friend, Brittany Rhodes was one of the main participants, being interviewed by Adele Roberts regarding her career as a female body builder. I was really surprised to see Britt on the TV and, since this has aired has nearly reached 10k followers on her Instagram.
I found this documentary interesting as it gave a different perspective in relation to the media an body image/self-perception issues regarding my research topic. Different perspectives of this is also something which I was made aware of during feedback for my 2nd professional context presentation, and it was suggested to look at male perceptions. This is something I am going to look into in semester 2, however took this also, as a different perspective being still related to my research topic, but entering the world of fitness and gym culture, which is popular with both males and females across the UK. It appears that women such as Britt are not going to gym now to lose weight and maintain a super-skinny physique, rather now going to build strength and definition through weight training.
Britt noted in the documentary that, “I was a size zero. I wanted to actually have that curvy figure and that’s why I got into training” and feels as though this new culture has given women empowerment: “I think for girls, lifting weights feel good. Now they’ve got empowerment – they don’t need a man for money”. I found this interesting as the social media I have focused on has mainly given women empowerment through consumerism, opposed to fitness, and as I do not go to the gym myself, was unaware of how popular this culture has become. Britt also noted that she feels the trend started in the US via social media platform, Instagram, whereby she first saw women within the movement online, and saw this as motivation to better herself, feel confident and happy with her body.
The main difference between Britt’s perspective and that of the bloggers for example analysed throughout my research to date such as Sarah Gonzalez, is that Britt has done this for herself to feel happy, confident and change her life for the better, using Instagram now as a motivation platform for her followers, launching a new career as a PT whilst competing, whilst others, as noted, have used this platform and their bodies to make money becoming marketing commodities and objects through self-objectification, social identity issues and self-perception issues. I found this to be inspirational in Britt’s case, and feel more women should use Instagram as a platform to promote positive and healthy body image be it competitive body building or simply average women promoting healthy and active lifestyles, opposed to showcasing and encouraging unattainable ideals.
Screenshots from the documentary and interview excerpts from BBC Newsbeat are shown below for additional context:
“I was a size zero. I wanted to actually have that curvy figure and that’s why I got into training.”
“I think for girls, lifting weights feel good. Now they’ve got empowerment – they don’t need a man for money.”
“I work a 50 hour week as a recruitment consultant. I get up at 4am to go to the gym and then go again after work. I think there’s enough hours in the day for anyone to achieve whatever they want – and not just in fitness.”
“If you set a goal, start with 30 days then move onto 60 days – your body can change a lot. It can be done if you stick to the right diet and right training.”
“If you train smartly then you’re not going to get a big chest. Lifting weights is not going to make you look like a man.”
Since the documentary aired, I have met up with Britt as I will be working on her personal branding for her PT business, blog and website. Furthermore, this led to discussion of my MA and the relevance of her sport and my practice. Britt has agreed to take part in an interview for research in semester 2, whilst also discussing the option of teaming up to promote positive body image utilising her ever growing following and our joint contacts. We have discussed the idea of setting up community based positive body image workshops, for both males and females to encourage body confidence and positive self-perceptions, educating participants on the media, social media, magazines and fitness in relation to this. We both want to use our professional practices to help others, share a message and engage with a community, and feel together this could be possible. This will be looked into much more heavily in semester 2.
In addition, Britt has since shared some one my social media wellbeing campaign posters via Facebook to let her following that we are planning exciting and positive projects for 2017. I really appreciated this, as allowed for feedback from a different audience as shown on the screenshot above, with a follower commenting claiming that sometimes she feels this way too, and perhaps is unaware of why. I really feel positive about the joint projects going forward, and can really feel that by working together this could be really successful and beneficial to the community. I also really appreciated the feedback, as allowed me to see that the concept of this project works and is engaging when posted in the right environment – hence the Facebook and social media development of this project in the future, working towards objective 4.B.
BBC & Roberts, A. (2016). Get Muscly In A Month. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04gr9vy/get-muscly-in-a-month. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Rhodes, B (2016) BBC Newsbeat: Why More Women are Body Building. Available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/38184412/why-more-young-women-are-body-building. Last accessed 3rd December 2016.
Facebook (2016) Available at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157772910090043&set=a.10151337429050043.816310.760035042&type=3&theater. Last Accessed: 5th December 2016