“I don't want to seem trashy:” Exploring context and self-presentation through young gay and bisexual males' attitudes toward shirtless selfies on Instagram

Jeremy P Birnholtz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Mobile devices and social media have made it possible to share photos, often selfies, nearly instantaneously with potentially large networks of contacts and followers. Selfies have become a frequent component of young people's online self-presentations and shirtless male selfies, a common trope among some gay Instagram users, present an interesting self-presentation dilemma. Images of shirtless males, normatively appropriate, attractive and innocuous in some contexts, can also be vulnerable to misinterpretation or unintended sexualization in ways that can negatively impact others' impressions. This paper reports on an interview study of 15-24 year-old gay and bisexual Instagram users' attitudes toward and experiences with shirtless selfies. Results suggest that they see a clear tension between these images conveying attractiveness and possible negative connotations such as promiscuity, and have different strategies for navigating this tension. The results have implications for consideration of the contexts in which mobile social media content is produced and consumed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMobileHCI 2018 - Beyond Mobile
Subtitle of host publicationThe Next 20 Years - 20th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Conference Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
ISBN (Electronic)9781450358989
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 3 2018
Event20th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI 2018 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Sep 3 2018Sep 6 2018

Other

Other20th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, MobileHCI 2018
CountrySpain
CityBarcelona
Period9/3/189/6/18

Keywords

  • Self-presentation
  • Selfies
  • Social Media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software

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