If there is anything social media doesn‘t lack at all, it is selfies. Pretty much everyone is uploading selfies to such sites like Facebook – it became a norm long time ago. However, women seem to be uploading different kinds of selfies – their selfies seem to be emphasizing their sexuality. Scientists from the University of New South Wales decided to take a look into this phenomenon.
Sexy selfies are common pretty much everywhere in the world. And men take a fair share of sexy selfies as well, but nowhere near as commonly as women. Scientists analysed tens of thousands of social media posts across 113 countries. They paid more attention to images that have been tagged sexy, hot or similar. Then scientists looked, where in the world these kind of pictures are more common. Scientists commonly believe that women emphasize their appearance because of patriarchal pressure – they feel that their looks are valued more than other traits. However, now scientists found that it is more about economic inequality than anything.
Scientists found that women post more sexy selfies in countries, where economic inequality is rising – this phenomenon is consistent across different geographic locations. And scientists feel that they have a pretty good explanations, why this could be happening. Economic inequality increases competitiveness and at the same time emphasizes importance of the social status. Your success at that point is defined by how you compare to others, which is called status anxiety. Because in today’s society looking sexy can be beneficial in economic and social terms, women use these selfies to climb the social ladder among other women. These results are consistent with other findings that showed that women in regions with greater economic inequality spend more money in beauty salons.
Interestingly, scientists say that this kind of behaviour actually makes sense from the evolutionary point of view as well. Dr Khandis Blake, lead author of the study, said: “The basic idea is that the way people compete for mates, and the things they do to put themselves at the top of the hierarchy are really important. This is where this research fits in – it’s all about how women are competing and why they’re competing”. And that is an important message – women who take these kinds of selfies are not victims.
Females who choose to fight their way up the social ladder using their bodies just chose different weapons, but everyone is in the same fight. It is about competition and making yourself feel better. Women are just trying to maximize their chances of success.