Event Title

Understanding the Fit-Ideal: Exploring How Women Who Lift Conceptualize and Experience Images of Ultra-Fit Women in the Media

Location

CSU 201

Start Date

20-4-2015 3:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2015 4:15 PM

Student's Major

Sociology and Corrections

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Emily Boyd

Mentor's Email Address

emily.boyd@mnsu.edu

Mentor's Department

Sociology and Corrections

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

Sparked by the health and fitness movement, a new ideal body type, the fit-ideal, has been created and demands that women not only be thin, but also toned with large breasts, a shapely butt, and free from cosmetic imperfections. While images depicting the fit-ideal are marketed as and thought to be a positive force for women, previous research finds that these images communicate contradictory messages that lead to confusion and/or negative self-evaluations and emotions in numerous populations of women and girls This research utilizes a feminist perspective to determine the definition of the fitideal according to female recreational weight lifters- a population exempt from these studies that arguably have accepted and are pursuing the fit-ideal- and serves to highlight their personal experiences with these images. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a sample of 10 volunteer female recreational weight lifters, and investigated each woman’s workout history, body image, and reactions to 12 fitness images. Each interview was transcribed, coded, and analyzed using ground theory. Results show that the definition of the fit-ideal, understood through the respondents’ critiques and compliments of the images, mirrors the definition above. Additionally, this research finds that while female lifters do not admit feeling negative about their bodies in reaction to the images, they are able to imagine others negative experiences without prompting. Respondents thus create a hierarchy, placing themselves, as women who lift, superior to the negative messages in the images and the women who negatively experience them.

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Apr 20th, 3:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

Understanding the Fit-Ideal: Exploring How Women Who Lift Conceptualize and Experience Images of Ultra-Fit Women in the Media

CSU 201

Sparked by the health and fitness movement, a new ideal body type, the fit-ideal, has been created and demands that women not only be thin, but also toned with large breasts, a shapely butt, and free from cosmetic imperfections. While images depicting the fit-ideal are marketed as and thought to be a positive force for women, previous research finds that these images communicate contradictory messages that lead to confusion and/or negative self-evaluations and emotions in numerous populations of women and girls This research utilizes a feminist perspective to determine the definition of the fitideal according to female recreational weight lifters- a population exempt from these studies that arguably have accepted and are pursuing the fit-ideal- and serves to highlight their personal experiences with these images. Semi-structured interviews were conducted using a sample of 10 volunteer female recreational weight lifters, and investigated each woman’s workout history, body image, and reactions to 12 fitness images. Each interview was transcribed, coded, and analyzed using ground theory. Results show that the definition of the fit-ideal, understood through the respondents’ critiques and compliments of the images, mirrors the definition above. Additionally, this research finds that while female lifters do not admit feeling negative about their bodies in reaction to the images, they are able to imagine others negative experiences without prompting. Respondents thus create a hierarchy, placing themselves, as women who lift, superior to the negative messages in the images and the women who negatively experience them.

Recommended Citation

Mischke, Kelsey. "Understanding the Fit-Ideal: Exploring How Women Who Lift Conceptualize and Experience Images of Ultra-Fit Women in the Media." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 20, 2015.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2015/oral_session_13/3