Women With 'Sexy' Facebook Photos Are Seen As Less Smart

Life & Love | Gerren Keith Gaynor | 07/17/2014 | 01:30 PM EDT

A new study finds that young women who post racy photos are seen as less competent by their peers

Ladies, be weary of how much skin you show on the Internet - it just may give you a reputation.

A new study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture claims that young women who post revealing pictures are seen as less competent, and less physically and socially attractive by their female peers.


“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,” psychologist and study author Elizabeth Daniels said in a release.

For the study, the researcher asked 58 teenage girls and 60 young women aged - 17 to 25 - questions about a 20-year-old woman’s Facebook profile.

Half of the participants were shown a provocative picture in which the woman was wearing a low-cut red dress with a slit up one leg that made her garter belt visible. The others saw a photo of the woman covered up in jeans, a short-sleeved shirt and a scarf.

The participants who were shown the non-sexy photograph thought she was prettier and would make a better friend compared to those who saw the sexy photo. The largest disparity in responses involved whether or not they had confidence in her ability to get a job done.

The woman received lower competence scores among the people who were shown the racy picture, according to the study.

The results of the study reflect young women and girls in a “no-win” situation, Daniels said.

If they post more wholesome pictures, the women may lose “social rewards,” like the attention of boys and men. However, if they post sexy pictures, they risk being harshly judged by their peers.


“Why is it we focus so heavily on girls’ appearances?” Daniels said. “What does this tell us about gender? Those conversations should be part of everyday life.”

(Photo: Christin Rose/Corbis)

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