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Why Do Women Take 'Sexy Selfies'? Study Says it's Because of Economic Inequality

If you're economically disadvantaged, you may take more sexy selfies than others.

Raka Mukherjee |

Updated:September 7, 2018, 3:55 PM IST
Why Do Women Take 'Sexy Selfies'? Study Says it's Because of Economic Inequality
Picture for representational purpose only.
Selfies are the most common way of documenting experiences in modern times. They've replaced vlog videos, which have replaced old-fashioned photographs. Every time you scroll through your social media feed, you're very likely to see a selfie on it, posted by one of your friends.

And while most of them are #vacayselfies and #OOTDs, a few of them could be classified as 'sexy selfies.' A study called 'Economic inequality drives female sexualization' published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) found out that these sexy selfies trend mostly in situations of economic inequality.

The study directly links 'sexy selfies' with economic inequality. 'Sexy selfies' are defined as 'sexualized self-portrait photographs.'

The study builds itself on the "the conventional view among social and psychological scientists that female sexualization is a direct product of male dominance and gender inequality." This implies that the prominence of sexy selfies in countries where women are not as oppressed would be counter-productive to this view.

The authors reason that income inequality in women breeds status competition and anxiety - which in turn "strengthen incentives for women to compete in the sexual marketplace," and more specifically, the urge to use their physical traits is primarily for competition with other women, and also as a way to enhance their 'value among potential partners.'

This study finds a pattern - looking at 'sexy selfies' published on Twitter and Instagram during a 30-day period from 2016 - which proves that that sexy selfies are most likely to occur in environments which are characterized by 'highly unequal incomes.'

“Rightly or wrongly, in today’s environment, looking sexy can generate large returns, economically, socially, and personally,” the lead author, Khandis Blake told IANS.

“So, when a young woman adjusts her bikini provocatively with her phone at the ready, don’t think of her as vacuous or as a victim. Think of her as a strategic player in a complex social and evolutionary game. She’s out to maximise her lot in life, just like everyone,” Blake further adds.

While this study links economic disadvantage directly to 'sexy selfies' - it also highlights that women do it as a form of competition and a way to alleviate their economic status.

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