Probably everyone has at least one friend in their social network who keeps posting pictures of healthy food, work-out videos or even bikini pictures on social media websites to update all their how healthy they are being. The pictures or videos are probably also accompanied by inspiring quotes, recipes with superfoods or their opinion on how easy and fun it is to get in shape! Yes, I am talking about self-proclaimed ‘fitgirls’ and how they are starting to take over our social media homepages.
When googling the term ‘fitgirl online platform’ dozens of suggestions of healthy lifestyle platforms pop up (fitgirls.com, followfitgirls.com, fitgirlacademy.nl, etc.). Each platform seems to share the same functionality: a place where people with a healthy lifestyle get together and share ideas on food, exercising and clothing. Visitors include professional trainers, people for whom a healthy lifestyle is a key factor in their lives and people who are just looking around for ideas to become more healthy. The platforms grow in value when the amount of visitors grows and more ideas are shared with the authors of the platform and between visitors through the discussion section. Big banners with advertising flank the platforms trying to sell fitness gear and health product. In addition, nearly every platform sells their own cookbook and lines of sportswear. The visitor gains value by accessing all the information present on the platform, and in turn the authors earn money through advertising and sales of their products. All in all, a perfect example of a well-functioning online platform like so many others.
However, the discussion forums on the platforms itself do not seem to meet the needs of the fitgirls anymore. The fitgirl aficionados seem to transcend the boundaries of these platforms and start to use social media more and more to showcase one’s healthy lifestyle. Especially Instagram and Facebook are great places for firgirls to share pictures, recipes and work-out videos with all their followers or friends. One can even argue that the fitgirls have created a community; one where many people would like to belong to. The strong and clever fitgirl is the new natural skinny girl; the new beauty ideal for women.
It even goes up to a point that more and more people are starting to express their dissatisfaction with the way these fitgirls enforce their stories to others. It is nearly unavoidable to scroll down your facebook wall without passing a picture of a girl showing off her muscular stomach or superhealthy breakfast. Columns and articles show up of which the authors seriously question the effects of the fitgirl hype. Even the Angels of Victoria’s Secret are starting to reassure young girls that such a lifestyle is not per se healthy or even normal.
Then what has been the power of the fitgirl community to be able to change beauty ideals for women and create such a strong ‘brand’? I mean, we do not see overly pushy posts of Airbnb-members or Helpling-cleaners on social media. It is probably the combination of well-functioning platforms for enthusiasts to get together and the big presence on social media of the platform fascianados. A great example of a nail of the initiators of fitgirl platforms and the healthy lifestyle industry it seems. Other online platforms could learn a great lesson from the fitgirls platforms and try to build up an army of enthusiasts that do not only show off their beliefs on the respective platform, but take it outside to social media to create a hype around what the platforms are selling!