Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Young women-Psychology, Young women-Social networks, Online social networks, Self-presentation, Self-portraits, Portrait photography, Qualitative, Selfies, Instagram, Social networking site, Young women, Women, Emerging adulthood, Beauty, Independence, Life satisfaction


The purpose of this study is to explore how female users identify the act of uploading selfies as an expression of external affirmation or as an act of empowerment in terms of redefining beauty standards that are reinforced in society. In addition, this study attempts to provide a foundation for understanding the selfie phenomenon and its relationship to perceived sense of self-worth in young women from the usage of Instagram. As the literature review indicates, there is a lack of research presented on the user's emotional state in relation to using Instagram. Thus, the most appropriate research design for this subject was a qualitative study. The interview questions were open-ended and structured to acquire knowledge about participant's ability to believe in themselves, assumptions taught about what it means to be a woman, and motivations for personal aspirations and happiness. The sample consisted of eleven participants. The findings in this study provide valuable information that build on the current literature of social networking sites and it's implications on the users' emotional state. Results from the findings include handling rejection and criticism, conflict between external expectations and personal aspirations, comparison to others and independence. This study provides a framework for future explorations of identity construction through self-presentation and social media use in a rapidly changing, communication environment. It is important to continue research in the area of selfies as a category on its own due to the endless ways it is incorporated in our lives.




iii, 45 pages. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 36-39)