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Body Image. 2018 Dec;27:118-127. doi: 10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.08.013. Epub 2018 Sep 19.

The effects of viewing thin, sexualized selfies on Instagram: Investigating the role of image source and awareness of photo editing practices.

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The Ohio State University, United States. Electronic address:
The Ohio State University, United States.


This experiment examined how features of images shared on social media sites, such as Instagram, impact and are evaluated by young adult female users. Specifically, we examined conditions under which female viewers (N = 360, Mage = 20.34, SD = 2.74) were more or less likely to internalize the thin ideal after viewing other women's selfies (i.e., images taken of oneself by oneself) posted on Instagram that depicted the thin ideal. We also examined how female viewers evaluated women who posted these selfies. Results indicated that the more female viewers believed that the women digitally modified or altered their selfies, the less likely viewers were to internalize the thin ideal. In addition, the more female viewers believed the women digitally modified their selfies and the more they believed the women were their offline peers (vs. models), the more negatively (e.g., less intelligent, less honest) they evaluated the women. Explanations for why awareness of photo modification and different image sources (peers vs. models) influence evaluations of selfies are discussed.


Instagram; Selfies; Sexual objectification; Social media; Thin ideal

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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