Class Year

2016

Document Type

Thesis

Honors Designation

Honors

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Primary Advisor

Carolyn Hsu

Second Advisor (if necessary)

Paul Lopes

Abstract

My study examines the importance of gender within online self-presentation, particularly how gender identity creates different experiences for men and women on Instagram. The purpose of this study is to explore the social implications of Instagram, one of the newest and trendiest social media applications, and the interaction between social media and the offline world. More specifically, how do college students, who live in an environment where substantial overlap between the virtual and online community exists, perform gender? In addition, I seek to determine whether membership in monogender sub-communities (i.e, Greek letter organizations) influence students’ gender presentation of self on Instagram. I conduct a content analysis of a total of 1.493 photographs that are collected from Instagram accounts of 108 participants. The participants are first split into male and female groups and then divided further based on Greek Life affiliation. The result confirms that not only women produce self-presentations online at a much higher frequency than men, but also women put much more thought and effort into their Instagram posts, which often exhibit clear markers of femininity, than men do. Furthermore, monogender group affiliation does not appear to influence gender performance on Instagram. Regardless of Greek Life affiliation, all women on Instagram express similar symbols of femininity in their pictures.

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