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Tumblr and Neoliberalism

As I have addressed numerous times throughout this process, internet users, Tumblr users in particular, are flooded with rhetoric and photos that tell them being fit is imperative and that it is an individual’s personal responsibility to achieve ideal fitness.

Of course anyone who has at all studied sociology or demography knows that what we eat, and even how much we eat, in America is often determined by geography. Individuals living in lower income communities, where fruits and vegetables are harder to come by and fast food chains are prominent are more likely to be overweight than those in affluent areas; affluent individuals have the resources to seek out nutritional foods, gym memberships, etc.  

We also know that social welfare programs regarding health and fitness are few and far between. Food stamps do not always allow for making healthy choices and working one or more minimum wage jobs is highly conducive to fast food consumption, because of its convenience and cost effective nature. 

In the Tumblr fitness world, the reality that socioeconomic status and “ideal” bodies are linked is not implicit. Alternatively, Tumblr reflects the US government’s state of neoliberalism. In a neoliberal political economic state, individuals are told to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and rely only one themselves for success. Fitblrs echo this message by telling followers that if they work hard and “make the right choices,” they too can have ideal bodies. 

Instead of blaming systemic issues for our overweight country, we blame individuals. Many of these aforementioned individuals are unable to attain the bodies Tumblr and other websites tell them they must have to be successful and accepted. What does this tell us about how the online world mimics the tactile world? It tells us that what goes on online is reflective of more than individual preference. It is reflective of tactile systemic issues that perpetuate negativity and a lack of access to resources for so many Americans.  

 

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