Building a body of followers
Neoliberalism and online discourse of fitness and masculinity
In 2014, a British journalist coined the term spornosexual to account for the emergence of a body-obsessed version of metrosexuality. While metrosexuals practice beautification rituals, spornosexuals are men obsessed with developing muscular bodies and self-objectifyingly flaunting them online. In an age of neoliberalism and globalization, this form of masculinity has now spread worldwide, including to Singapore, as a hegemonic ideal male figure. Using a multimodal analysis, we investigate four racially Chinese, Singapore-based Instagram users who represent prototypical spornosexual ideals through their bodies and fitness practices. We examine the way these Instagram users embody the personhood of a spornosexual through their construction of mediatized identities online. The meanings and values associated with the muscular body are also explored and subsequently compared with traditional notions of masculinity in Singapore.
Keywords: spornosexuality, masculinity, neoliberalism, globalization, mediatization, multimodal analysis, Instagram, Singapore
Published online: 16 October 2017
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