Can big business foster positive body image? Qualitative insights from industry leaders walking the talk

Nadia Craddock*, Meaghan Ramsey, Fiona Spotswood, Emma Halliwell, Phillippa C. Diedrichs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
282 Downloads (Pure)


The fashion, beauty, and advertising industries have been positioned as key contributors to body dissatisfaction through the promotion of unrealistic and homogenous appearance ideals. Recently, some businesses within these industries have started to disrupt the status quo by taking actions that can be seen to be fostering positive body image (e.g., through representative and diverse imagery, body acceptance messages, and inclusive product ranges). The aim of this study was to explore the opportunities and challenges to foster positive body image from a business perspective. Participants were purposively selected based on their experience of leading business actions to foster positive body image in fashion, beauty, and/or advertising. In total, 45 individuals (82% women) took part in semi-structured interviews, which were transcribed and then analysed using thematic analysis. Four themes were identified: (1) Personal motivations for championing change, (2) Industry ingrained appearance standards, (3) Business barriers to fostering positive body image, and (4) Fostering positive body image as an effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy. This study provides future directions for research aimed at creating healthier body image environments in addition to considerations for businesses seeking to foster positive body image.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalBody Image
Early online date20 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019

Structured keywords

  • MGMT Marketing and Consumption


  • business
  • body image
  • Intervention
  • corporate social responsibility
  • qualitative research
  • Social Change


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