Why don't we just admit it already? Facebook is HotOrNot.com in disguise. It's not like the The Social Network didn't illustrate that the site was based on the realization that young, horny people want to check out other young, horny people. Now that everyone and their grandmother are on Facebook, its superficial roots haven't exactly disappeared. In fact, a new study pretty much says women, in particular, are addicted to posting pics of themselves on Facebook because it boosts their self-worth.
In other words, we need to see that Jessica Hotchicksky from high school "liked" the photo of us taken after having lost a few pounds, or Jack Popularguyawitz wrote "sexxxy" under that one of us at a bar with the girls ...
The University of Buffalo researcher Michael A. Stefanone and his cohorts found that not only do women share more photos on Facebook, but that they generally base their self-worth more strongly on their appearance. (Sad!) As a result, it seems like we women upload pics of ourselves to Facebook for validation, to boost our self-image.
Now, here's the thing ... The study was really just a survey of college-age participants. It measured how participants used Facebook and the factors they base their self-esteem on. Women, and younger participants, seemed to get bigger boosts of self-esteem from appearance and approval of others. And, in turn, they spent more time online.
This isn't rocket science. Not that it's okay by any means, but of COURSE younger women are more likely to pride themselves on their looks, to want to look like Kim Kardashian in their profile pic (pouty lips, flaunted tush), to post pics for attention. (Then again, let's be real here -- aren't we all posting photos to Facebook for attention?)
Still, it's an unfortunate testament to the fact that younger women feel like society wants them to be hot above smart, accomplished, interesting, etc. That they feel like their physical appearance is what makes them worthwhile -- or not. Why shouldn't they feel that way in a world where beauty contests (hello, reality TV) still reign supreme?
But as easy as it is to pass this study off as just proving that superficial young women are still superficial young women ... online, I think it highlights something we all know but don't talk about much. Why do we post photos on Facebook? Specifically, usually ONLY our best shots? Why do we make friends de-tag us (or even take down) shots in which we're not pleased with how we look? Why do we upload pics from our phone when we're out doing something that makes us look cool (a concert, a club, a party, etc.)? Why do we feel compelled to let others know our "status"? It's all about getting approval from others to boost our egos. And you know what? Younger women aren't the only ones who are guilty of it.
We're all insecure little freaks, just like we were as adolescents. Except now, we're living out the popularity contest on the Internet.
Am I right?
Image via John Loo/Flickr