First Advisor

Lee Shaker

Date of Award

Spring 6-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication and University Honors






Women athletes -- Public relations, Social media in sports, Objectification (Social psychology), Power (Social sciences), Instagram (Electronic resource)




Athletes increasingly leverage social media so they can share experiences first-hand, sell products, and promote their personal ideas and skills. Female athletes can become empowered through Instagram's ability to give a 'voice' to the object through captions, as well as its' ability to generate revenue through endorsements. Female athletes who find the most success on Instagram often post content that highlights their sexuality and personal life over their sport. Their success is found through a form of 'self-objectification', which can be seen as empowering and/or regressive to women’s sports. To explore this tension, my research project focused on the intentions and experiences of female athletes in their use of Instagram for professional purposes. I interviewed six professional female skiers between the ages of 21 and 34 years old who are active on Instagram. My semi-structured interviews took place in person and over Zoom between February and April in 2023. The findings suggest that while Instagram can increase media exposure, generate income, and build communities for female athletes, it also reinforces objectification. This project suggests that an athlete's choice to objectify herself is a form of empowerment.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier