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#bodypositivity: A content analysis of body positive accounts on Instagram

Cohen, Rachel; Irwin, Lauren; Newton-John, Toby; Slater, Amy


Rachel Cohen

Lauren Irwin

Toby Newton-John

Amy Slater
Associate Professor in Centre for Appearance Research


© 2019 Elsevier Ltd In the last decade, the body image literature has begun to extend beyond a primary focus on body image disturbances and examine the construct of positive body image. Similarly, “Body positivity” is a growing social media trend that seeks to challenge dominant societal appearance ideals and promote acceptance and appreciation of all bodies and appearances. The present study provides a content analysis of body positive posts on Instagram. A set of 640 Instagram posts sampled from popular body positive accounts were coded for physical appearance-related attributes and central themes featured. Results showed that body positive imagery typically depicted a broad range of body sizes and appearances. Additionally, while a proportion of posts were appearance-focused, the majority of posts conveyed messages aligned with theoretical definitions of positive body image. This study clarifies body positive content on Instagram, as well as highlights points of overlap and distinction from academic principles of positive body image and other appearance-focused social media content. Accordingly, the results offer theoretical and practical implications for future research and prevention efforts.


Cohen, R., Irwin, L., Newton-John, T., & Slater, A. (2019). #bodypositivity: A content analysis of body positive accounts on Instagram. Body Image, 29, 47-57.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 13, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2019
Publication Date Jun 1, 2019
Deposit Date Feb 21, 2019
Publicly Available Date Sep 2, 2020
Journal Body Image
Print ISSN 1740-1445
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Pages 47-57
Keywords Positive body image; Body image; Social media; Social networking sites; Instagram; Body positivity
Public URL
Publisher URL


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