Reframing Bodies: New Coordinates of the Body Image


The article analyzes the results of a sociological survey of urban residents’ perceptions of the beauty standards and their most desired body models. The survey was conducted in three cities of a large industrial Russian region (= 1,077). The body as a bio-social construct is now undergoing significant transformations in public consciousness. As our survey shows, however, beauty standards in Russia are fairly stereotypical: the ideal female body is expected to be sexual, well-groomed, and slender (we refer to this body type as an aesthetic body model or body as an object) and the male body to be physically strong, resilient, and fit (the functional body model or body as a process). Describing their desired body model, male and female respondents of different age groups often choose the functional body model, that is, they prioritize what the body can do over what it looks like. The survey shows mixed results regarding the effects of the pandemic on people’s attitudes to their bodies and body care practices. Only a third of the respondents directly associate their individual bodily experience of disease with the change in their body care practices. Two-thirds of the respondents reported that during the lockdown they started taking better care of their bodies, paying more attention to personal hygiene, physical exercise, and sleep.

Author Biographies

Natalya L. Antonova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Natalya L. Antonova, Dr. Sci. (Sociology), Professor, Department of Applied Sociology, Ural Federal University. Her research interests focus on the theory and methodology of sociological research, sociology of social changes, urban studies, study of the human body, modern educational technologies, and modern global processes. Natalya is the author of over 260 articles in the field of social studies. Her most recent research focus is body culture studies and practices of its modification. Recent publications: Antonova, N. (co-authored). Healthy Body as a Normative Model in the Perceptions of Student Youth (2023); Antonova, N. (coauthored). Digital Fears Experienced by Young People in the Age of Technoscience (2022).

Sofya B. Abramova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Sofya B. Abramova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Associate Professor, Department of Applied Sociology, Ural Federal University. Her scientific interests are focused on the methodology of sociological research, youth activism, social fears, the human body, and modern digitalization processes. Sofya is the author of over 110 articles on theoretical and applied social research. Her current research interest is associated with the study of digital practices of young people and relevant methods of their sociological analysis. Among her most recent publications are Abramova, S. (coauthored). Healthy Body as a Normative Model in the Perceptions of Student Youth (2023); Abramova, S. (coauthored). Youth Involvement in Digital Civic Activism: From Online Encounter to Participation (2023); Abramova, S. (coauthored). Classification of Non-Political Participation Practices of Urban Youth: Forms, Motivation, Barriers (2022).

Viktoria V. Polyakova, Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Viktoria V. Polyakova, Cand. Sci. (Sociology), Assistant Professor, Department of Applied Sociology, Ural Federal University. Her research interests focus on the methodology of sociological research, sociology of social changes, modern family problems, statistical research of higher education, and new forms of marriage and family relations. Viktoria is the author of over 40 articles in the field of social studies. Her most recent research focus is empirical analysis of the vital social problems of young people. Among her recent publications are Polyakova, V. (coauthored). The Right to the City: Daily Practices of Youth and Participation in the Production of Urban Space (2020); Polyakova, V. (coauthored). "Cities Are Good for Us": Assessment of Urban Attractiveness by Students (2020).


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How to Cite
Antonova, N., Abramova, S., & Polyakova, V. (2023). Reframing Bodies: New Coordinates of the Body Image. Changing Societies & Personalities, 7(2), 129–149. doi:10.15826/csp.2023.7.2.234