Elizabeth Daniels* studies the effect of media on the body image. She says that young women are often pressurised to portray themselves as sexy. Daniels set up two Facebook profiles. They were identical in everything but their profile picture. Although photos of the same person were used, one was ‘sexier’ than the other. 58 teenage girls and 60 young women were asked to comment on the profiles. The respondents found the ‘non-sexy’ profile to be prettier, more competent and more likely to be a good friend.
Daniels advises young women and girls to choose profile photographs that showcase their identity – not simply their appearance. Meanwhile, in Spain a bylaw is attempting to stop people using cameras at the running of the bulls festival in San Fermin. Those failing to comply may be faced with fines of up to €3,000 for endangering themselves and others. Three people – all British citizens – have been fined so far including one who used a drone to film the bull run. Police are also looking to identify a man seen taking a dangerous selfie as he ran ahead of the bulls. He is now known on Twitter as ‘the idiot with the mobile’.
People were also attempting to take selfies when the Tour de France was in the UK. An American cyclist dubbed their attempts ‘a dangerous mixture of vanity and stupidity’ – which seems to be a perfect description for many selfies.
* Daniels’ research was published today in the journal “Psychology of Popular Media Culture.” The article, titled “The price of sexy: Viewers’ perceptions of a sexualised versus non-sexualised Facebook profile photo,” was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
[This article first appeared on Information Today Europe].