Date of Award
Croft Institute for International Studies
Guatemala has faced a long battle with colonialism, civil war, and an ensuing, rapid urbanization. Still today, the country exhibits high levels of malnourishment while also facing an ascending obesity epidemic. This project seeks to explore how the obesity epidemic has changed body image perceptions in the region. Through the use of social media accounts on Instagram, I aim to analyze how Guatemalan influencers use their platform to explore notions of varying body image perceptions in a country where food is culturally significant, malnutrition has plagued many communities, and obesity is growing in prevalence daily. This thesis aims to answer the question: How are body image perceptions reflected in social media in Guatemala and does the obesity epidemic play a role in those social perceptions? I use a qualitative approach, using Atlas.ti software, to answer this question in which several posts were collected from a group of Guatemalan influencers during the months of March-October 2021. I find that the obesity epidemic has not played a large role in the Instagram posts of these users; however, their content surrounding fashion, fitness, and lifestyle all pertain to the emerging ideas of body positivity and inclusivity within media.
Harris, Sarah, "Body Image Perceptions Reflected in Social Media: A Guatemalan Instagram Study" (2022). Honors Theses. 2507.
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