How Do the Women of Crossfit Use Social Media? An Exploratory Study to Examine Influences and Impacts

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Presented at the International Sociology of Sport Association

The sport of CrossFit embodies the philosophy that participants both develop and strengthen their mental and physical capacities. Specifically, women of CrossFit are empowered through the sport as females are treated equally to their male counterparts. Interestingly, these women seem to operate in isolation within CrossFit gyms from the larger society where messages in the gym counter traditional messages about women’s strength, acceptance and social expectations. Social media plays a large part in connecting CrossFitters to information and to one another (Heyward, 2015). Faroduly and Vartanian (2015) highlighted that women are often negatively influenced by using social media and have reported higher rates of decreased body image and increased cases of eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, the dual purposes of the current research is to examine (1) how women of CrossFit at various levels are influenced by social media and (2) how these same women use social media. We conducted 11 semistructured focus group interviews with 47 females that actively participate in CrossFit at various levels. The major themes that arose from the study were: participants use social media as an empowering tool; social media provides a platform to share personal successes; social media provides a platform to enhance personal views and perceptions of body image; and participants filter the people, information, and advertisements they follow. We concluded that our participants, women of CrossFit, have shown resilience against documented negative impacts related to social media.


International Sociology of Sport Association Annual Conference


Lausanne, Switzerland