Exploring the social lives of image and performance enhancing drugs: an online ethnography of the Zyzz fandom of recreational bodybuilders

Underwood, Mair (2017) Exploring the social lives of image and performance enhancing drugs: an online ethnography of the Zyzz fandom of recreational bodybuilders. International Journal of Drug Policy, 39 78-85. doi:10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.08.012


Author Underwood, Mair
Title Exploring the social lives of image and performance enhancing drugs: an online ethnography of the Zyzz fandom of recreational bodybuilders
Journal name International Journal of Drug Policy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0955-3959
1873-4758
Publication date 2017-01-01
Year available 2017
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.08.012
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 39
Start page 78
End page 85
Total pages 8
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier BV
Language eng
Subject 2701 Medicine (miscellaneous)
2719 Health Policy
Abstract Background As a result of the mainstreaming of bodybuilding, the majority of image and performance enhancing drug (IPED) users are now not athletes or competitive bodybuilders, but recreational bodybuilders. Previous approaches provide little insight into how the shift from competitive to recreational contexts impacts the use of IPEDs. Methods In this study an online ethnographic approach is used to explore the social lives of IPEDs in a recreational context. The study focusses on the Zyzz fandom, an international online community of thousands of recreational bodybuilders who idolise the alleged IPED user Zyzz. Results Zyzz fans see IPED prohibition as failing, as causing harm to users, and as sexist. Their IPED use is informed by not only instrumental benefits, but social benefits such as altering gendered power relations. IPEDs have been normalised in this community, and new patterns of use are emerging. Conclusion IPEDS have moved through different hands, contexts and uses, and in so doing the values, norms and meanings attached to IPEDs have changed. The results suggest that intervention efforts may be best directed towards harm minimisation, and in particular towards bridging the divides between the medical and bodybuilding communities.
Formatted abstract
Background: As a result of the mainstreaming of bodybuilding, the majority of image and performance enhancing drug (IPED) users are now not athletes or competitive bodybuilders, but recreational bodybuilders. Previous approaches provide little insight into how the shift from competitive to recreational contexts impacts the use of IPEDs.

Methods:
In this study an online ethnographic approach is used to explore the social lives of IPEDs in a recreational context. The study focusses on the Zyzz fandom, an international online community of thousands of recreational bodybuilders who idolise the alleged IPED user Zyzz.

Results:
Zyzz fans see IPED prohibition as failing, as causing harm to users, and as sexist. Their IPED use is informed by not only instrumental benefits, but social benefits such as altering gendered power relations. IPEDs have been normalised in this community, and new patterns of use are emerging.

Conclusion:
IPEDS have moved through different hands, contexts and uses, and in so doing the values, norms and meanings attached to IPEDs have changed. The results suggest that intervention efforts may be best directed towards harm minimisation, and in particular towards bridging the divides between the medical and bodybuilding communities.
Keyword Image and performance enhancing drugs
Anabolic-androgenic steroids
Ethnography
Online research
Recreational bodybuilders
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Social Science Publications
 
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Created: Sat, 29 Oct 2016, 21:04:04 EST by Dr Mair Underwood on behalf of School of Social Science