My PhD Research
Taking up the stance that every body in swimwear is a beach body, my PhD project dealt with women’s diverse beach body experiences as they engage with the world around them from a sociocultural body image perspective.
It not only provides insights into how swimwear-clad female bodies have been constructed and negotiated by society, culture and the mass media; also, it discusses and empirically explores, how this links to women’s experiences of embodiment at the beach and on social networking sites (SNS).
To contribute original insights to that matter, I conducted a sequential mixed methods cross-cultural study consisting of three qualitative focus groups (N=19) and a quantitative survey (N=659).
The qualitative data suggest that young women across cultures have internalised relatively homogeneous ideas about how female bodies in swimwear should look and that these affect how they think, feel and behave with regard to their bodies prior to and during summer, and beyond.
The survey presents evidence that viewing normative (i.e. ideal) beach body images on SNS links to heightened appearance concerns during summer, whereas viewing non-normative (i.e. naturally flawed) bodies, engaging in physical activity and relaxing at the beach correlated with positive body image outcomes such as heightened appearance evaluation and decreased self-objectification and thin-ideal internalisation.
Based on these findings, I provide numerous implications that may serve to inform and assist individuals inside and outside of academia to attend better to the needs of women at a time, in which many feel more vulnerable than usual about their bodies. Further, my doctoral research discusses how spending time at the beach during summer might be beneficial for women’s mental health and wellbeing. This might pave the way for future investigations of the beach from a body-positive perspective.
Apart from the beach body, I have a very broad interest in appearance research, especially when it comes to interdisciplinary approaches , in which multiple disciplines are combined to think „out-of-the-box“.
In my doctoral research, I combined appearance psychology, media studies and „blue mind research“, which deals with our human mind in connection with water-based environments. The findings were so enriching and constitute a good example for the benefits of interdisciplinary works.
- Kleim, Anke J. (2022). You already have a #beachbody and your kids need to see you enjoy it. https://theembracehub.com/blogs/
- Kleim, Anke J., Eckler, P., Tonner, A. (2019). “Too good to be true”: Semi-naked bodies on social media. In I. Chiluwa and S. Samoilenko (Eds.). Handbook of Research on Deception, Fake News, and Misinformation Online. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
- Kleim, Anke J. (2018). (Not) every body is beach body ready. Discussions of the female beach body in online and offline contexts. Poster presented at Appearance Matters 8 Conference, Bath, UK, 12.06 – 14.06.2018.
- Kleim, Anke J., Eckler, P., Tonner, A. (2016). Mediatizing the naked truth – A re-conceptualisation of the ideal beach body in contemporary media. Paper presented at the 6th European Communication Conference (ECREA), Prague, CZ.
- Jobsky, Anke J. (2014). Attracted by real men? – The impact of non-idealized male models on advertising effectiveness and emerging implications for scholars, politicians, and marketers. Poster presented at Appearance Matters 6 Conference, Bristol, UK, 01.07 – 02.07.2014.
- Jobsky, Anke J. (2013). The Body-Image-Meaning-Transfer Model: An Investigation Of The Sociocultural Impact On Individuals‘ Body-Image.Hamburg, Anchor Academic Publishing.