sexy facebook girlMaybe you should think twice before uploading your beach vacation pictures to Facebook.

A new study found that people with sexy photos on their social media profiles are often judged as less competent than those who post more conservative snapshots of themselves.

Oregon State University researchers asked 118 young women to judge two nearly identical Facebook pages that hosted different profile pictures – and unsurprisingly, the page with a sexy profile picture was condemned. “The message here is that to be on social media, you must present yourself for objectification, but you can’t objectify yourself – or go too far with your social media persona,” writes SE Smith for the Daily Dot.

Of course, the online sphere is only reflecting what has been omnipresent in our non-digital society for years, Smith says: “Women can’t get ahead no matter what they do, and this is a society where women who are sexual (or present themselves sexually) are judged. But on the flip side, women who don’t take enough care in their appearance, who dress sloppily, who don’t fit the required metric of how women should look, are also criticized”.

Although this study may be unsurprising, it does show that simple social media choices can have consequences. “The study authors suggest that women and girls should select images that speak to their identities, such as pictures of them engaged in activities they like doing,” Smith writes. “But is that really the answer?”

There’s a larger issue at play here that goes beyond bullying and unkind judgements, she contends. “Women and girls are being judged on how they look, not who they are.” In the long run, having more conversations with young women about judgemental attitudes might be the way to go, writes Claire Hannum for the Frisky.

“Double standards aren’t fun to talk about, but it may help girls to better understand why the world seems so hung up on their appearance,” she says. Young women should be taught to be aware of the implications of posting sexy photos on social media, but at the same time they should be wary of enforcing the double standard, writes Jihan Forbes for the Fashion Spot.

“Yes, it is important for girls to present themselves in ways that don’t spotlight their sexuality, but from a feminist perspective, it is equally important for young ladies to not see overt displays of sexuality as a sign of a deviant personality,” says Forbes.


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