An earlier study led by Willoughby found that the majority of posts from top fitness influencers contained these types of sexually objectified images.
The “non-subject” images in the current study may still have included the influencer posing in tight sportswear, but the frame included the entire person and had a focus other than just looking at the body, such as the influencer performing an exercise.
After viewing the posts, participants expressed their agreement with a series of statements related to self-esteem, self-compassion, and current thoughts toward their own body and a more stable, long-term perception of their body, described as “characteristics.” Known as. Body appreciation.”
The results showed that body appreciation messages, even when paired with objective images, had a positive effect on participants’ self-compassion and their views of their own bodies in the moment. No link was found to better self-esteem or long-term perception of their body.
The researchers didn’t expect that just looking at a few positive statements would have a long-term effect, but Willoughby still found the results encouraging, especially because self-compassion may be more protective than self-esteem.