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Sexually Objectifying Selfies: Gender Impression Management, Body Image Concern, and Appearance-related Social Comparisons.

1. Introduction

Selfie's usage is increasing with technological developments in front-facing devices and photo-editing computer programs. (Shah and Tewari, 2016) Taking and posting selfies online may generate detrimental psychological consequences for women. (Mills et al., 2018) Recurrence of self-portrait posting may be favorably related to body satisfaction. The dynamic interest in selfies is decidedly relevant to body discontentment and bulimia symptoms, while self-objectification facilitates this link. (Cohen et al., 2018)

2. Conceptual Framework and Literature Review

The relationship between egocentricity and selfie posting is more stable among men than women. The former having a low or average degree of self-admiration may not be determined to undertake extremely self-presenting behaviors on social media. (Sorokowski et al., 2015) As a kind of particular self-presentation (Balica, 2018; Carter and Chu-May Yeo, 2018; Deggans, 2018; Lazaroiu, 2018; Massey et al., 2018; Moghtader, 2017; Popescu and Creager, 2017; Ranki et al., 2018; Smith and Stirling, 2018), selfie-posting is favorably associated with women's vanity. (Wang et al., 2018) Women who take and post self-portraits online feel more stressed, less self-possessed, and less physically good-looking following that in contrast to females in the control group. (Mills et al., 2018) Notable degrees of self-objectification may reinforce the link between definite social networking site selfie operations and unbalanced eating in young women. (Cohen et al., 2018)

3. Methodology and Empirical Analysis

Building my argument by drawing on data collected from FHE Health, Georgia Tech, LEWIS, Pew Research Center, PicMonkey, and Statista, I performed analyses and made estimates regarding ways of sharing selfies (%, by demographic profile), % of U.S. adults who have ever taken a selfie and uploaded it to a social media website (by gender), and number of selfies posted weekly (%, by gender). The structural equation modeling technique was used to test the research model.

4. Results and Discussion

Men and women have diverse motives for taking selfies, being frequently an act of entertainment and affirmation of an individual's right to self-depiction. (Shah and Tewari, 2016) Social networking site selfie (i) behaviors may be instrumental in body image concerns and unbalanced eating and (ii) such undertakings may offer an innovative means via which women get involved in self-objectification. (Cohen et al., 2018) Detrimental consequences of selfies are identifiable even when individuals can retake and improve their self-portraits, an operation that may be a rather unpredictable as regards its likelihood to adversely shape the body image and vanity of girls and women: selfie posting online is damaging with reference to their emotional state and self-esteem. Being able to improve or alter their self-portraits does not play a role in women feeling more attractive after posting a selfie online. (Mills et al., 2018) (Tables 1-10)

5. Conclusions and Implications

The incentives and ramifications of online social networking (Bratu, 2018; Coavoux, 2018; Katz, 2018; Machan, 2017a, b; Mirica (Dumitrescu), 2018; Peters, 2018; Ralston et al., 2018; Roberts and Marchais, 2018; Stewart and Mika, 2018) may to a certain degree display strategic self-presentation. (Sorokowski et al., 2015) Self-portraits have a development which reaches a finale after collecting reviews online. (Shah and Tewari, 2016) Women tend to obtain favorable reactions when posting selfies, which as a consequence may result in intensification of their body contentment and additionally improving their vanity. (Wang et al., 2018)

Funding

This paper was supported by Grant GE-4792812 from the Social Analytics Laboratory, Los Angeles, CA.

Author Contributions

The author confirms being the sole contributor of this work and approved it for publication.

Conflict of Interest Statement

The author declares that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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Mathilde Felstead

m.felstead@aa-er.org

The Digital Dynamics Laboratory at CLI, Chicago, IL, USA

How to cite: Felstead, Mathilde (2019). "Sexually Objectifying Selfies: Gender Impression Management, Body Image Concern, and Appearance-related Social Comparisons," Journal of Research in Gender Studies 9(1): 139-145. doi:10.22381/JRGS9120196

Received 8 March 2019 * Received in revised form 1 July 2019

Accepted 6 July 2019 * Available online 10 July 2019
Table 1 Ways of sharing selfies (%, by demographic profile)

                      Women  Men  18-24  25-34  35-44  45-54  55+

Publish it on         23     21   67     59     54     45     38
social media
Send it in private    20     11   16     19     21     24     26
to your close
friends
Send it in private    17     16   14     16     17     20     19
to your partner
Keep it for            4      6    2      3      3      3      6
yourself
I don't take selfies  36     46    1      3      5      8     11

Sources: Statista; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted December
2018.

Table 2 % of U.S. adults who have ever taken a selfie and uploaded it
to a social media website (by gender)

        Have taken selfie  Have never taken selfie/Not sure

Male    68                 32
Female  74                 26

Sources: Statista; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted December
2018.

Table 3 How many selfies do you take until you know you have got a
winner? (%)

       Women  Men

1       4     11
2-5    52     54
6-10   24     14
11-15  12     11
16-20   5      7
21-25   2      2
26+     1      1

Sources: FHE Health; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.

Table 4 How much time do you spend tweaking your selfie before
uploading it? (%)

               Women  Men

1-3 minutes    39     49
4-6 minutes    28     25
7-9 minutes    14     12
10-13 minutes   9      7
14-16 minutes   5      4
17-19 minutes   3      2
20+ minutes     2      1

Sources: FHE Health; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.

Table 5 Number of selfies posted weekly (%, by gender)

             Women  Men

None         39     42
1-2          27     33
3-4          19     14
5-6          12      7
7-8           2      2
More than 8   1      2

Sources: Statista; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted December
2018.

Table 6 Top 10 selfies (%, by gender)

                           Women  Men

Appearance                 39     24
Social                     16     27
Ethnicity                   4      2
Travel                     11     18
Health and fitness          6      4
Hobbies                    10     16
Gender and sexuality        4      2
Teen + young adult          2      1
Celebrities/Entertainment   4      3
Alternative culture         1      1
Food                        3      2

Sources: Georgia Tech; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.

Table 7 How many "likes" does it take to feel good about a selfie? (%)

        Women  Men

2-20    14     17
21-41   28     41
41-60   34     24
61-80   12     10
81-100   7      5
100+     5      3

Sources: FHE Health; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.

Table 8 % of U.S. teens who say they... post the following things on
social media

                                   Often  Sometimes  Rarely  Never

Things only their closest friends  17     44         15      24
would understand
Selfies                            19     33         20      28
Updates on their location,         12     36         29      23
what they are doing
Videos they have recorded           9     38         26      27
Things they want to go viral        9     31         16      44

Sources: Pew Research Center; my survey among 5,400 individuals
conducted December 2018.

Table 9 Does your body compare favorably or unfavorably to images in
the media? (%)

                             Women  Men

It compares favorably        18     23
It compares unfavorably      37     36
I go back and forth on this  34     32
I am not sure                11      9

Sources: FHE Health; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.

Table 10 Type of photos U.S. adults are likely to edit (%)

                        Women  Men

Selfies                 21     18
Food                    12      7
Family                  14     13
Home/Interior design     7     12
Wedding/Engagement      12     13
Personal workout        11     12
Professional headshots   7      9
Group                   11     12
Baby/Newborn             5      4

Sources: PicMonkey; LEWIS; my survey among 5,400 individuals conducted
December 2018.
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Date:Jul 1, 2019
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