Disability in a World of Influence: How the presentation of disabled influencers affects body image amongst the disabled community
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- Master theses 
Within the past ten years, the notion of Influencer has taken over social media platforms and led to the phenomenon of influencer culture. As influencer culture has gained popularity and saturated the Instagram platform, the effects of body image have frequently been questioned. However, most studies have evaluated how social media affects body image amongst white, able-bodied women. Meanwhile, the disabled community is left out of the conversation. Therefore, this thesis aimed to understand how influencer culture affects body image amongst the disabled community. To achieve this, I analyzed how disabled influencers represent themselves online, utilizing a combined theoretical lens of self-comparison theory, intersectionality theory, and critical disability theory. The data of this project was collected through a case study on disabled activist and fitness influencer Sophie J. Butler. Through the case study guided by grounded theory and social media discourse analysis, the aim was to understand how Sophie Butler represents themselves online and how it affects the disabled community´s body image. The findings indicate how easy it is for disabled activist influencers to be drawn into the dictates of postfeminist sensibilities and neoliberalism. Postfeminist sensibilities place externally imposed ideals and subjugate disabled people to the dictates of capitalism and its concomitant cruel optimism. The link between disabled success and physical appearance undercuts disability activism and presents an idealized disabled body. In turn, disabled influencers end up following the very patterns they sought to disrupt.