Making the Perfect Man: An Autoethnography of Fitness Culture on Mobile Applications

Abstract

Cortes, C. C. (2018). Making the Perfect Man: An Autoethnography of Fitness Culture on Mobile Applications. (Unpublished undergraduate thesis). University of the Philippines Diliman, College of Mass Communication.

This study is about fitness culture on mobile applications and how it creates an image of an ideal physical masculinity. Specifically, this research investigates how consumption and strict adherence to JEFIT Workout’s regimen correlates to my own perception of ideal physical masculinity. This was done using a two-phased study which used a case study and autoethnography.

A convenience sampling was conducted for this study. This study took its sample from the mobile application JEFIT Workout. After observing (1) application features, (2) workout program content, and (3) photos on the mobile application, I then analyzed myself as a participant of fitness culture by following JEFIT Workout’s featured regimen. I observed (1) how my perception of the image of ideal physical masculinity has changed after participating in the application’s fitness program and (2) my physical development while following the application’s featured regimen.

This study discusses how fitness culture is a social and cultural phenomenon, identifies the image of ideal physical masculinity that is expressed by the mobile application, and relates the said image to my own perception of the image of ideal physical masculinity after participating in the mobile application’s featured regimen.

Raewyn Connell’s masculinity, Roland Barthes’s semiotics, and an essay by Ochs and Capps titled Narrating the Self served as the theoretical framework of this study.

It has been observed that JEFIT Workout acts as a tool that further involves each participant into fitness culture via its various features. It reinforces the idea that fitness culture is a social and cultural phenomenon through a participant’s engagements within the application. The identified the image of ideal physical masculinity that JEFIT Workout articulates was juxtaposed with my own perception of the ideal image of physical masculinity after partaking in fitness culture as promoted by JEFIT Workout and was determined to be very similar to the image that the application constructs and promotes


Keywords: Fitness culture, JEFIT Workout, autoethnography, masculinity, semiotics

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