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Study: The biggest “gender stereotype” offenders turn out to be women sending selfies

January 19, 2016

From my latest blog post for the Independent Women’s Forum:

Aren’t I cute? Females just love those “gender stereotypes”!

For decades feminists have blamed the evil advertising industry for its “gender stereotyping” of women as passive, weak, overly emotional, girly-girlish, and obsessed with pleasing men.

But it turns out that the biggest offenders in the gender-stereotyping department are women themselves. According to a recent German study, advertising moguls are sexist pikers compared to females taking pictures of themselves on their phones and sharing them online. After all, when taking a selfie, lady, you alone have total control over both the subject matter and the medium.

The Pacific Standard reports:

“‘Selfies turned out to be even more stereotypical than the adverts in four of six categories,’ researchers Nicola Döring, Anne Reif, and Sandra Poeschl write in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.  ”User-generated content obviously does not automatically lead to a reduction in stereotypical gender portrayal.’

***

“The researchers found women’s selfies were more likely than the ads to reflect gender stereotypes in four ways: They were more likely to feature a ‘feminine touch’ (using one’s fingers or hands to cradle or caress an object); a ‘withdrawing gaze’ (looking away from the camera, or closing one’s eyes); ‘imbalance’ (tilting one’s body one way or another, rather than standing straight); and ‘loss of control’ (implied by, among other things, exaggerated facial expressions).

“‘The biggest differences between selfies and magazine adverts appeared for the categories “imbalance” (85.6 percent of females in selfies vs. 50 percent of women in ads were not standing stable) and “loss of control” (79.5 percent of females in selfies vs. 50 percent of females in ads showed strong emotionality),’ the research team writes. ‘Only in two of the six categories the magazine adverts revealed more gender stereotyping: 77.8 percent of the adverts depicted women in a lying position, as opposed to 66.7 percent of the selfies, and in 79.5 percent of the magazine adverts, women were sparsely clothed, as opposed to 59.4 percent of the selfies.’

“‘Additionally, young females’ selfies more often use social-media-specific gender expressions like the  “kissing pout,” implying seduction/sexualization, and the “faceless portrayal” (implying focus on the body solely), while young males’ selfies more often contain “muscle presentation” (implying strength),’ they add.”

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by Charlotte Allen
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One Comment
  1. Lastango permalink

    Directing my male gaze at that photo, I found myself wondering how that poor demeaned creature might change herself to prevent the likes of me drinking in her femaleness. Here’s my shortlist:

    — hair in that armpit.
    — hacked-off hair, or a buzzcut – preferably streaked.
    — visible tattoos.
    — piercings.
    — statement T-shirt.
    — warface, or at least an angry grimace reflecting her neverending struggle against oppression.
    — othersuch in the background, proving she stands with the sisterhood.

    To every feminist who has embraced all that and more, I say “You go girl!”

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