Men's weight loss stories: How personal confession, responsibility and transformation work as social control

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Abstract

Obesity is considered a public health concern. In Australia, there are a greater number of overweight or obese men compared with women. The media is an important source of information about body weight and weight management. We undertook a qualitative study to analyse men’s weight loss stories in a popular men’s magazine. Between January 2009 and December 2012, we collected 47 men’s weight loss stories from the Australian edition of Men’s Health magazine. We undertook thematic analysis to examine the stories. Confession, personal responsibility, appearance and transformation were key themes. The stories describe the men’s self-discipline and their monitoring and tracking of their behaviours as activities which supported their weight loss. In this way, the stories promote the importance of such panoptic self-surveillance and self-discipline to the readers. We consider how such stories contribute to the wider synoptic system of media messages about body weight.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-96
Number of pages21
JournalHealth
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

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