This Independent Study is an anthropological analysis of online resistance to Western “diet culture,” which I define as the dominant social norms of food and the body. I investigate the methods that anti-diet culture activists on Instagram use to resist dominant diet culture norms by analyzing the content posted by 10 different activists. I employ Greenhalgh’s (2015) theories of biocitizenship, Collins’ (2000) frameworks of self-identity and intentional community, and Crenshaw’s (1989) intersectional lens in my analysis. My primary method is content analysis of Instagram posts made by online activists. I want to understand the methods anti-diet culture activists use to challenge diet culture, such as types of posts, tone, and methods for unlearning diet culture. I also want to understand if the activists forming community with their audience around their platform and, if so, how? I hypothesize that the primary means of anti-diet culture activism will be through the use of text-based images that offer alternative practices or beliefs to the reader and reflect upon diet culture. Furthermore, I hypothesize that non-professional activists, rather than professional, will be more intentional in building a community around their platform and utilize anecdotal narratives to connect with their audience. This study aims to propose a different anthropological approach to examining the way that social media can influence body image, diet culture, and activism for body liberation.


Navarro-Farr, Olivia


Sociology and Anthropology


Social and Cultural Anthropology


Social media, Instagram, Diet Culture, Food Norms, Body Norms, Weight, Diets, Activism, Activists, Digital Activism

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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