Women's Self-Objectification and Strategic Self-Presentation on Social Media

Shilei Chen*, Wijnand A.P. van Tilburg, Patrick J. Leman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In four studies, we tested whether higher trait self-objectification was associated with more strategic and less authentic self-presentation on social media among cisgender women, and whether these links could be attributed to heightened approval motivation among those having higher levels of self-objectification. Study 1 (N = 167, Mage = 27.05) and Study 2 (N = 149, Mage = 29.87), using self-reported measures, found that self-objectification was positively associated with strategic self-presentation on Tinder and Facebook. Study 3 (N = 202, Mage = 28.07) replicated and extended the first two studies, using self-reported behavioral indicators of strategic self-presentation. The first three studies were conducted on Prolific with a nationwide sample of female participants. Study 4 (Mage = 21.87) was a real-time behavioral study conducted on Zoom with 102 female U.K. university students using a tool by which actual photo editing was measured. The results confirmed a positive association between trait self-objectification and strategic self-presentation. Mediation analyses suggest that this relation may be attributed to a heightened approval motivation among those who self-objectify. Social media users and policy makers should be made aware of the potential downstream consequences associated with the frequent use of social media self-presentational techniques discussed in this research.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • approval motivation
  • deception
  • objectification
  • self-presentation
  • social media


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