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Qual Health Res. 2012 Jul;22(7):971-85. doi: 10.1177/1049732312443425.

Body perceptions and health behaviors in an online bodybuilding community.

Author information

1
RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. aaron.smith@rmit.edu.au

Abstract

In this article we explore the social constructions, body perceptions, and health experiences of a serious recreational and competitive bodybuilder and powerlifter community. Data were obtained from a discussion forum appearing within an online community dedicated to muscular development. Forum postings for a period of 36 months were transposed to QSR NVivo, in which a narrative-based analytical method employing Gee's coding approach was employed. We used a priori codes based on Bourdieu's multipronged conceptual categories of social field, habitus, and capital accumulation as a theoretical frame. Our results expose an extreme social reality held by a devoted muscle-building community with a fanatical obsession with muscular hypertrophy and any accouterment helpful in its acquisition, from nutrition and supplements to training regimes and anabolic androgenic substances. Few health costs were considered too severe in this muscular meritocracy, where the strong commanded deference and the massive dominated the social field.

PMID:
22645223
DOI:
10.1177/1049732312443425
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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