Social media influencers and body fascination. (2019)
Type of ContentElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsCrosswell, Ellashow all
This research explores the experience of young female users of image based social media platforms, such as Instagram, and the way they can be influenced by prominent ‘celebrity’ influencers. Data was captured through in-depth interviews with ten participants, then thematically analysed. Drawing on theories of social connection and gaze, the study examines the notion of body fascination directed towards social media influencers, and its underlying factors that capture the attention and extended attention of followers. From the data analysis process, the potentially negative impact that this gaze practice has on female Instagram users emerged, especially in the context of those vulnerable to body fascination and self-comparison. Furthermore, the study suggests that users try to negotiate the tension between being drawn into an extended gaze practice and wanting to divest themselves from the platform. These findings contribute to a framework representative of the key results. Primary contributions offered by this research are to the extant literature on consumer cultures by exploring the notion of digitally mediated connections, and how these loose ties to a prominent poster can influence followers’ sense of self and worth in comparison to the influencer.