School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Robert Mott


Instagram, Social Media Influencer, Censorship, Sexualization, Black Women


Arts and Humanities


This study examines how a Black plus-size woman social media influencer, @CurvyNyome, encounters censorship, dehumanization, sexualization, and body-shaming on Instagram. Social media, such as Instagram, have formed communication channels and opened avenues for people to be expressive, positive, hostile, or indifferent. The long history of the sexualization and dehumanization of Black women is rooted in centuries of oppression, which led the recipients of oppression to inadvertently adopt dehumanizing beliefs and behaviors (Burnette et al., 2017). The study’s significance is that Black plus-size women are often made to believe and feel that their body is not beautiful. Black women have struggled to be seen and experience many different emotions, feelings, highs, lows, and joys. Black women and their influence have been dismissed (Anderson et al., 2021). The central research questions of this study are: How do sociocultural factors impact a Black plus-size woman, model, and social media influencer on Instagram? How do dehumanization, sexualization, censorship, and body-shaming of Black plus- size SMI women evoke change on Instagram? How do social media emojis and hashtags impact messaging of a Black plus-size woman and social media influencer on Instagram? Content analysis, the means of researching the presence of particular words, themes, or concepts within some given qualitative data, will be utilized in this study. Specifically, the study focuses on Instagram as its leading research site due to the increasing prominence of Instagram use and its particular focus on visual content.