This study explored the perspectives and experiences of eight women active within a particular location of the collective social media landscape. One aspect of the research centered around critiquing mainstream media diets for encouraging fat stigma and deepening the negative effects of stereotyping larger bodies. The research questions centered around transgressive media diets, specifically those that were body positive, and focused on if they could help to eradicate fat stigma and educate the masses on false stereotypes. To examine this, eight plus-size fashion bloggers and/or plus-size models were interviewed following a semi-structured format. These women, as bloggers and Instagrammers with a strong presence in the plus-size fashion industry, were both content producers as well as consumers, and their personal narratives enabled the study to better understand the complex interconnections between production and consumption, self-expression and the politics of self-representation, the cooptation of these self-representations by profit-oriented media interest, and how commodification shapes the transgressive potential of these representations. The research also found that many content creators came to transgressive media diets because they saw a lack of representation and decided that they must make that representation for themselves. The study also examined what community building meant within the porous landscape of social media platforms and the relationship between identity building and community building as social processes. Many of the participants brought up examples of fat discrimination yet many defined themselves as "confident" or "badass", thus finding ways to empower themselves despite the pressure of societal norms. Some of this empowerment came from finding a community online. Finally, these plus-size models and fashion bloggers moved through a thin ideal industry by demanding and being examples of diversity.
- Weighted identities: deviant fat bodies and the power of self-representation