On average, females posted five selfies and ten non-selfies a month, compared to two selfies and six non-selfies by males. However, there was a large range of selfie posts, with some people posting more than 40 selfies a month.
Self-Presentation Strategies in Social Media Differ from Reality
For females, the strongest predictor of selfie posting was the degree to which they adopted intimidatory self-presentational strategies. The more they tended to emit actions in the real world with an intent to project a powerful and dangerous personality to induce fear in others, the more they posted selfies.
Males did not show any relationship between real-world intimidatory self-presentation and selfie posting, but their desire to avoid punishment, that is, to fit in and be accepted, predicted the sharing of selfies.
This finding contrasts with previous studies conducted in real-world situations, where females do not display associations between this aggressive characteristic and their behaviors as strongly as males. When the usual social constraints that operate in the ‘real world’ are removed, it could facilitate the expression of this aggressive facet of the female personality.
Intimidatory Self-Presentation in Selfie Posting is Greater in Females
These results suggest that traditional androcentric views of aggression need to be altered. Thinking of aggression by females as a result of some slightly male-like physiology in those females or as a mating strategy directed against other females will not do.
Rather, digital behavior suggests women are not programmed to be passive but are just as actively aggressive as men, and, in some circumstances, more so – and not just when getting a mate.
The data further revealed that, while males were generally more assertive than females in the real world, there was no difference in the use of real-world aggressive self-presentation strategies between genders; in fact, males tended to show higher levels of ingratiation strategies than females.
While males reported being more assertive in the real world, these behaviors were not always associated with their online behavior. This may reflect the operation of a different set of social-role norms or their absence in online settings.