Lupton furthers these arguments by looking at fitness tracking applications and how they may intensify body-shame. Fitness apps – such as MyFitnessPal or Strava – have become a popular way for users to track their calorie intake and improve their exercise levels. Lupton suggests that discourses of control within the apps places “responsibility” on individuals to discipline their bodies. This is an important point, but one that seems to ignore the ways in which messages about individual responsibility are ever-present against a backdrop of post-feminism and neoliberalism. Through Lupton’s argument, women’s bodies are reduced down to the calories they consume, the types of food they eat – “good” or “bad” foods – and even their sodium levels. For women, the media already quantify and grade different parts of our bodies (e.g: the Kardashians are predominantly presented as “bums”) and so a readily-available quantification of the body is potentially damaging for women’s body image (Lupton, 2016).
Frankie Rogan is approaching the end of her PhD in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Birmingham, UK. Her research looks at the ways in which young British women use social media in the production of cultural and political identities against backdrops of neoliberalism and postfeminism. She has a particular interest in gendered analyses of both subculture and political activism. Other research projects include examining gendered narratives surrounding alcohol, “risk” and the night time economy, part of a larger project which was funded by the European Foundation for Alcohol Research. When not writing, she enjoys doing literally anything else.
- Bamford, B. (2015). Social media and body image – What impact is it really having? Date accessed: 25thMay 2017. Retrieved from: www.thelondoncentre.co.uk: ttp://www.thelondoncentre.co.uk/author/bryony/
- BBC News. (2017). Instagram ‘worst for young mental health.’ Retrieved from: www.bbc.co.uk: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-39955295. Date accessed: 26th June 2017.
- Campbell, D. (2015). Stark rise in eating disorders blamed on overexposure to celebrities’ bodies. Date accessed: 25th May 2017. Retrieved from: www.theguardian.com: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/25/eating-disorders-rise-children-blamed-celebrity-bodies-advertising
- Frost, L. (2001). Young women and the body. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
- Fuck Yeah, Fat PhD’s! (2017). Fuck Yeah, Fat PhD’s! Retrieved from: www.tumblr.com: http://fuckyeahfatphds.tumblr.com/. Date accessed: 25th May 2017.
- Lupton, D. (2016). The quantified self. London. John Wiley & Sons.
- Miller, D., Costa, E., Haynes, N., McDonald, T., Nicolescu, R., Sinanan, J., Spyer, J., Venkatraman, S. and Wang, X. (2016). How the world changed social media. London. UCL Press.
- #transisbeautiful. (2017). #transisbeautiful. Retrieved from: www.instagram.com: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/transisbeautiful/?hl=en. Date accessed: 25th May 2017.
- Twenge, J.M. and Campbell, W.K. (2009). The narcissism epidemic: Living in the age of entitlement. London. Simon and Schuster.
- Zimmer, C. (2011). Surveillance cinema: Narrative between technology and politics. Surveillance & Society, 8(4), p.427.