Social media influencer rhetoric and the domestication of Health at Every Size on Instagram

Main Article Content

Mariah Lynn Wellman


Weight-inclusive approaches such as Health at Every SizeÒ (HAESÒ) that once were used primarily by scientists or other health experts are more frequently being taken up by lay audiences. Most notably, popular members of online communities known as social media influencers rely on principles of HAESÒ to spread weight-neutral rhetoric across platforms like Instagram. Analyzing how influencers domesticate, or make their own, the specific science-based principles of HAESÒ warrants exploration. In this study, I draw from an analysis of 20 Instagram accounts run by influencers to explicate how domestication occurs within the body positive and weight-inclusive community. The findings suggest three primary patterns through which domestication occurs: anecdotal narratives and personalization, science and education, and social justice. I argue these influential users domesticate HAESÒ by drawing on their own education, life experience, and personal identity while upholding the core norms of the influencer industry: authenticity and credibility.  


Article Details

Research Articles
Author Biography

Mariah Lynn Wellman, University of Utah

Mariah Wellman (M.A., University of Iowa) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. Her research interests include social media, microcelebrity, and health. 


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