BEND, Ore. Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites such as Facebook are viewed by their female peers as less physically and socially attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.
"This is a clear indictment of sexy social media photos," said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studies the effect of media on girls' body image. Daniels' findings are based on an experiment she conducted using a fictitious Facebook profile.
"There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive," Daniels said.
Girls and young women are in a "no-win" situation when it comes to their Facebook photos, Daniels said. Those who post sexy photos may risk negative reactions from their peers, but those who post more wholesome photos may lose out on social rewards, including attention from boys and men, she said.
"Social media is where the youth are," she said. "We need to understand what they're doing online and how that affects their self-concept and their self-esteem."
Daniels' research was published today in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture. The article, titled "The price of sexy: Viewers' perceptions of a sexualized versus non-sexualized Facebook profile photo," was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Daniels conducted the research while on the faculty at OSU-Cascades and received two Circle of Excellence grants from OSU-Cascades to support the study. She is now an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
For the study, Daniels created two mock Facebook profiles for the fictitious 20-year-old Amanda Johnson. In both versions, Amanda liked musicians such as Lady Gaga, b
|Contact: Elizabeth Daniels|
Oregon State University