#FAITHANDFITNESSCOLLIDE: SPREADING THE WORD OF MULTILEVEL MARKETING IN CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S FITNESS INSTAGRAM POSTS
Keywords:Multi-Level Marketing, Christianity, Postfeminism, Instagram, Wellness
AbstractWith the emergence of the coronavirus in 2020 led to the closing of gyms and churches, along with the “she-cession” in which women disproportionately left the workforce (Hammer, 2021), Christian women with an interest in fitness increasingly turned to home-fitness-based multilevel marketing (MLM). MLM companies like Beachbody, for example, saw a 300% increase in subscribers in 2020 (Haithman, 2020). Although MLMs encourage their distributors to think of themselves as “independent entrepreneurs,” these companies demand fealty -- putting Christian women who participate in a double bind: bound to company, family, and God, they must still position themselves as free agents and strong women in order to build their “fitness ministry” (Coach 8, 2020) and close the sale. We extend Sullivan & Delany’s (2017) framework of “evangelical entrepreneurial femininity” by asking how fitness complicates or shepherds the relationship between the independent entrepreneur, the MLM, and the patriarchal foundation of her religious practices. Our initial research suggests that Christian women navigate the potential shame of occupying a masculine economic role and a muscular body by reframing Beachbody as an opportunity to fulfill God’s plan, (re)inhabit the home, and encounter the Divine through their uplines. References: Haithman, D. (2020, May 18). Beachbody sees gains. Retrieved from https://labusinessjournal.com/news/2020/may/18/beachbody-sees-gains/. Hammer, B. (2021, January 25). How to fix women's jobs during the covid-19 pandemic. Sullivan, K. R., & Delaney, H. (2017). A femininity that ‘giveth and taketh away’: The prosperity gospel and postfeminism in the neoliberal economy. Human Relations, 70(7), 836-859.
How to Cite
Prins, K., & Wellman, M. (2021). #FAITHANDFITNESSCOLLIDE: SPREADING THE WORD OF MULTILEVEL MARKETING IN CHRISTIAN WOMEN’S FITNESS INSTAGRAM POSTS. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research, 2021. https://doi.org/10.5210/spir.v2021i0.12228