Las mujeres que deciden publicar fotos con tono sexy o revelador en sus redes sociales son vistas por sus compañeros como menos atractivas y poco competente para realizar sus tareas, reveló un nuevo estudio de la Universidad Estatal de Oregon.La investigadora Elizabeth Daniels, profesora asistente de psicología, estudia el efecto de la imagen corporal de las chicas en los medios sociales. Sus hallazgos se basan en un experimento que se llevó a cabo utilizando un perfil ficticio en Facebook.
Hay mucha presión sobre las chicas adolescentes y las mujeres jóvenes para parecer atractivas, pero compartir esas fotos en línea puede tener más consecuencias negativas que positivas", comentó Daniels.
Las niñas y las mujeres jóvenes se encuentran en una "situación sin salida", cuando se trata de sus fotos de Facebook, agregó la investigadora. Aquellas que publican fotos con tono sexy se arriesgan a reacciones negativas de sus compañeras, pero quienes suben fotos más tradicionales pueden perder en recompensas sociales, incluida la atención de los niños y los hombres.
"Las redes sociales es donde los jóvenes están", dijo. "Tenemos que entender lo que están haciendo en línea y cómo afecta su autoconcepto y su autoestima".
Para el estudio, Daniels creó dos perfiles en Facebook para la ficticia Amanda Johnson de 20 años de edad. En ambas versiones, a Amanda le gusta: música como Lady Gaga, libros como "Twilight" y películas como "The Notebook".
La única diferencia entre los dos era la foto de perfil. En la foto sexy, "Amanda" es llevaba un vestido rojo escotado con una abertura en una pierna a la mitad del muslo y un liguero visible. En la foto no sexy, ella está usando jeans, una camisa de manga corta y una bufanda envuelta alrededor de su cuello, cubriendo su pecho.
Los participantes del estudio fueron 58 niñas adolescentes, de 13-18 años, y 60 mujeres adultas jóvenes entre los 17 y 25 años. Las participantes fueron asignadas aleatoriamente a uno de los perfiles y las preguntas con base a ese perfil.
El estudio completo:
Study: Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent
BEND, Ore. - Girls and young women who post sexy or revealing photos on social media sites such as Facebook are viewed by their female peers as less physically and socially attractive and less competent to perform tasks, a new study from Oregon State University indicates.
"This is a clear indictment of sexy social media photos," said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studies the effect of media on girls' body image. Daniels' findings are based on an experiment she conducted using a fictitious Facebook profile.
"There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive," Daniels said.
Girls and young women are in a "no-win" situation when it comes to their Facebook photos, Daniels said. Those who post sexy photos may risk negative reactions from their peers, but those who post more wholesome photos may lose out on social rewards, including attention from boys and men, she said.
"Social media is where the youth are," she said. "We need to understand what they're doing online and how that affects their self-concept and their self-esteem."
Daniels' research was published today in the journal "Psychology of Popular Media Culture." The article, titled "The price of sexy: Viewers' perceptions of a sexualized versus non-sexualized Facebook profile photo," was co-authored by Eileen L. Zurbriggen of the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Daniels conducted the research while on the faculty at OSU-Cascades and received two Circle of Excellence grants from OSU-Cascades to support the study. She is now an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.
For the study, Daniels created two mock Facebook profiles for the fictitious 20-year-old Amanda Johnson. In both versions, Amanda liked musicians such as Lady Gaga, books such as "Twilight," and movies like "The Notebook," that would be appropriate for a person her age.
The only difference between the two was the profile photo. The photos were actual high school senior portrait and prom photos of a real young woman who allowed the photos to be used for the experiment.
In the sexy photo, "Amanda" is wearing a low-cut red dress with a slit up one leg to mid-thigh and a visible garter belt. In the non-sexy photo, she's wearing jeans, a short-sleeved shirt and a scarf draped around her neck, covering her chest.
Study participants were 58 teen girls, ages 13-18, and 60 young adult women no longer in high school, ages 17-25. They were randomly assigned one of the profiles and asked questions based on that profile.
The participants were asked to assess Amanda's physical attractiveness (I think she is pretty), social attractiveness (I think she could be a friend of mine), and task competence (I have confidence in her ability to get a job done) on a scale from 1-7, with one being strongly disagree and 7 being strongly agree.
In all three areas, the non-sexy profile scored higher, indicating that those who viewed that photo thought Amanda was prettier, more likely to make a good friend and more likely to complete a task. The largest difference was in the area of task competence, suggesting a young woman's capabilities are really dinged by the sexy photo, Daniels said.
The research underscores the importance of helping children and young people understand the long-term consequences of their online posts, Daniels said. Parents, educators and other influential adults should have regular conversations about the implications of online behavior with teens and young adults, Daniels suggested.
"We really need to help youth understand this is a very public forum," she said.
The research also highlights the need for more discussion about gender roles and attitudes, particularly regarding girls and young women, she said.
"Why is it we focus so heavily on girls' appearances?" she said. "What does this tell us about gender? Those conversations should be part of everyday life."
Daniels' advice for girls and young women is to select social media photos that showcase their identity rather than her appearance, such as one from a trip or one that highlights participation in a sport or hobby.
"Don't focus so heavily on appearance," Daniels said. "Focus on who you are as a person and what you do in the world."