Selfie and Women Self-perception

Taylor_selfie together
Taylor_selfie together

Business Insider showed that there was one million selfies were taken each day, and women were the biggest users who did this kind of self-portrait. They posted the pictures to mobile phone application or social media sites. It also found that Facebook is the major site for selfie picture to be post. It was estimated there are about 1.3 billion Facebook users which also reveal the same number of profile pictures. Pew Research Center found that women were more enthusiasm to post selfie into social media through mobile application.

Taylor Summerville, an undergraduate student of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville said that beside he wanted to be seen as attractive girl, she had also other motivation to post a lot of selfie on her Facebook account. As a sophomore who lived far from her parents, she feel selfie as her medium to show her activity to her parent.

“You know, I do not live close to home, so I will send those to my family them to see how I am doing ok, like that,” Taylor said. She admitted that she fell prettier and feeling goofy after taking selfie.

Puoch_selfie pose from her side with two guy behind her

Different answer was given by Phuoc Trinh, a Vietnamese student who was studying nursing at Arkansas Tech by saying that she took selfie as it was a more popular culture today.

She argued, “Selfie is the new lifestyle, and I can quickly show my current circumstance.” She expressed her happiness after taking selfie.

Beside those motives, some findings also showed that 52 percent of women are posting more selfie picture than men. Thus, it is not surprising that more women want to replace their profile image frequently and to use the picture in a friendship interaction. This number is almost suitable with the fact found on Facebook. Strano in his research “User descriptions and interpretations of self-presentation through Facebook profile images,” said, “It seems that female Facebook users focus on constructing identities as happy and fun-loving person that emphasize light-heartedness and beauty.” This fact shows that more young women prefer to care about their self-perception than men.

Taylor realized that this might be seem to be truth because selfie could be a medium for constructing such an identity. She said, “Every girl is different because they have their own issue for example confident issue that made them finding source for some validation for some other people.” For her, it is more than that. She regarded social media as a medium to keep up with her family because of her job and studying making a distance among them. Thus, she claimed her reason to post self-picture on social media.

In the other hand, Phuoc expressed her agreement on the fact that women are more passionate in engaging with social media.

“Women is different than man. They tend to do something to let other pay more attention to them. So, that is understandable, “as she said.

Ririn_CCIP Fulbright Grantee
Ririn_CCIP Fulbright Grantee-selfie among her friends inside a van

Similar statement was also come from Ririn Farina, an exchange student of Fulbright program that joining her training in electrical engineering. She said, “Yes, I agree with that statement. Maybe because woman love being praised. She likes when people pay attention to her. Her confidence increases as much as people say that she is beautiful.”

According to Pew Research Center, women seeing photos is on the top list of online activities. This seems to support that women actually prioritize for the visual presentation. Nevertheless, the major issue of this activity might be about how positive self-presentation is achieved by the women. A research “Men are From Mars, women are from Venus,” by Haferkamp revealed that a positive self-presentation was a top priority for women relating their interaction in social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook or Myspace which offers features for profile pictures.

Ririn also admitted her agreement on the result. She really hoped that people did not say about her getting fat or her skin getting worse. Similarly, Puoch also hoped for a good feedback from her friends after seeing her picture.

Thus, a survey told that achieving positive self-perception needs applying an impression management, in which the users are making an effort to change the way people look at them. One of the impression management is to insert social cues in profile image as Seoyeon Hong, M.A Hong and Kevin Wise, Ph.D expressed in their study. They found that people with Facebook profile images that embed with social cues were positively perceived as more attractive than others with profile images with plain headshots. Inserting social cues means a woman can display her playing a sport to describe a social cue of an athlete or a social cue for a musician may be a profile picture of the woman playing an instrument.

Puoch believed that she did not have to be hard as those efforts to make smart selfie. It means that she did not need much effort to make her picture look prettier.

“To make my selfie looks good. I like to smile or do funny face and using Instagram,” as she said.

Different answer was conveyed by Ririn when she expressed that using plugin tool on mobile application to make her picture look amazing. She said, “Edit! I use some apps in my phone to edit it.”

It was in 2011, Instagram released hashtag and more than 18 custom filters. Those filter actually helped the user to enhance their profile picture. It might be one of the reason that Instagram become the home base of selfie. Afterward, Instagram had 150 million users and 16 billion photos in 2013.

Making the picture more attractive is also not enough to get positive self- perception. Hong added that positive comments from friends were also primary point to create more positive perception.

Hong said, “Positive comments are very helpful, but negative remarks can be very damaging, even if they are silly or sarcastic.” 

He recommended to use a profile photo with extensive social cues in order to tell who and what the user was in a positive way and maintaining trend of what other users comment on it.

It might be true as it was said that women also need to consider social and cultural context when they take selfie pictures. Matching it with the social and cultural context in which they are living with could be a good strategy to create a better and a positive perception.

Women took more selfie than men. Was it really true that selfie was so segmented just for female culture. Because selfie is alike a universal gesture language since it enables people around the world to communicate. Find it more on the video, “Selfie as a Universal Language.”



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