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Posting selfies and body image in young adult women: The selfie paradox

Grogan, Sarah and Rothery, L and Cole, J and Hall, M (2018) Posting selfies and body image in young adult women: The selfie paradox. The Journal of Social Media in Society, 7 (1). pp. 15-36. ISSN 2325-503X

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Abstract

This exploratory study was designed to investigate how young women make sense of their decision to post selfies, and perceived links between selfie posting and body image. Eighteen 19-22 year old British women were interviewed about their experiences of taking and posting selfies, and interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Women linked selfie posting to the ‘ideal’ body, identity management, and body exposure; objectifying their own and others’ selfies, and trying to portray an image that was as close to ‘ideal’ as possible. Women differentiated between their ‘unreal’, digitally manipulated online selfie identity and their ‘real’ identity outside Facebook and Instagram. Bodies were expected to be covered, and sexualised selfies were to be avoided. Results challenge conceptualisations of women as empowered and self-determined selfie posters; although women sought to control their image online, posting was constrained by postfeminist notions of what was considered socially appropriate to post.

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