• Dr Ferraro

Sharing fit bodies on social media

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

Today I was walking in a game’s shop, looking for some presents, when suddenly I noticed a mug.

It wasn’t the type of mug that you would expect to see in a game’s shop, it was a mug for “bodybuilders”. Figure 1.


Figure 1. Mugs for “bodybuilders”.

As a sports lover and a sports scientist, I am quite skilled about sports gadgets, but nowadays it is incredible the number of images and commercial brands that shout aloud how we all must have a “fit/perfect body”. Is this just a coincidence?



Luckily I am not the only one who notices it, in a recent article, Dr J. Hakim (lecturer in Media Studies at University of East Anglia) shows how: “since 2008 there has been an empirically observable rise in young British men sharing images of their worked-out bodies on social media platforms (…). Increasing numbers of them are turning to share images of their worked-out bodies as a way of feeling valuable”.

The article suggests that this phenomenon can be understood as an “embodied and mediated response to the precarious structures of feeling produced by neoliberal austerity.”[1]

But this is not the end of the story. In July 2014, M. Simpson (who came up with the term ‘metrosexual’ about 20 years ago) coined the term ‘spornosexual’ in an article in the Daily Telegraph[2].

In layman’s word spornosexual is a sort of portmanteau of sports-star and porn-star, it underlines the new men and women’s trend of sharing their athletic bodies in social media. Shall we be worried about this events? I don’t think so, even if there are some points that we, as sport-lovers, should take into account.

Going to the gym primarily for reasons of appearance instead of fitness or health, then sharing images of semi-naked bodies on social media platforms, is definitely not a good behaviour. An excellent example of what could happen has been in the story of the Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers, who is probably going to face jail for a body-shaming Snapchat post [3].

Another point to take into account is the incredible increase of supplements market that is growing more than 40% [1, 4], which means that more and more people probably are taking supplements without knowing enough about them.

In conclusion, we are facing the spornosexual reality now, let’s hope it doesn’t destroy all the good reasons for which we do practice sports: health first and then, maybe, for looking good.

PS. At the end, I didn’t buy the mug, but you can find it easily on Amazon for your spornosexual friend.



References:

[1] ‘The Spornosexual’: the affective contradictions of male body-work in neoliberal digital culture ( http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09589236.2016.1217771 )

[2] The metrosexual is dead. Long live the ‘spornosexual’ (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/fashion-and-style/10881682/The-metrosexual-is-dead.-Long-live-the-spornosexual.html )

[3] Playboy Playmate Dani Mathers could face jail time for body-shaming Snapchat post (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/playboy-playmate-dani-mathers-jail-body-shaming-snapchat-a7227451.html )

[4] E-cigarettes and sports nutrition products lead grocery sales boost ( https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/dec/30/e-cigarettes-sports-nutrition-supermarkets-sales-rise-uk )


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