Pole fitness and positive body image: An interpretative phenomenological analysis


In recent years there has been increased interest in studying positive body image; however, there is still a dearth of knowledge related to this construct. This study addressed some existing gaps in positive body image literature by exploring context-specific experiences of positive body image. The purpose of this interpretative phenomenological analysis was to describe and interpret the positive body image experiences of women actively involved in pole fitness. Seven women between the ages of 20-36 years participated in one-on-one interviews to discuss their experiences surrounding their bodies and pole fitness. Additionally, participant observation was utilized to provide context for data analysis, and follow-up interviews were utilized to engage in member checking with all participants. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to identify five superordinate themes representing the words and experiences of the participants: (1) accepting your body as it is, (2) inner confidence, (3) comfort with sexual expression, (4) supportive environment, and (5) appreciating your body's abilities. Findings are consistent with emerging conceptualizations of positive body image and provide insight into a specific context that may be useful in the promotion of positive body image. In addition, findings suggest that pole fitness provides a unique environment in which women can safely engage in sexual exploration. This research suggests that pole fitness may be an avenue by which women can develop and maintain positive body image.