The identity and objectification of personal trainers
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] The fitness industry is on the rise, fueling the need for certified personal trainers, one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States. Yet, very little sociological literature addresses the experiences of individuals employed in the fitness industry. There are, however, studies that examine others engaged in so-called "body work" (e.g. professional dancers, aerobics instructors, body builders). Some of these studies have focused on the objectification thesis arguing that those engaged in body work are likely to experience the objectification of their body by others (e.g. clients, employers) and by selves. For some body-workers, this objectification leads to body image distortions, disordered eating, and drug use. But for other objectified body workers, the opposite appears to hold. In this study, I seek to explain this contradiction by first applying Brekhus' (2003) theory of identity types to personal trainers. My findings indicate that Brekhus' (2003) theory can both be applied to personal trainers and can be used to help explain how the individuals are affected.
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