Face-ism from an International Perspective: Gendered Self-Presentation in Online Dating Sites Across Seven Countries
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The present study analyzed whether the face-ism phenomenon, which argues that the media visually depict men with more facial prominence compared to women (whereas women are shown with greater body prominence), exists for self-selected photographs worldwide. Based on a content analysis of a sample of 6286 profile photos drawn from online dating sites in seven countries (Austria, Denmark, Hungary, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, and the United States) in 2013, we did not find any overall gender differences in facial prominence. However, further analysis showed gender differences in facial prominence for certain age groups: whereas there were no gender differences in the 25–41 year-old age group, young women between 18 and 24 had a higher facial prominence than men, and men older than 41 had higher facial prominence than women. These changes by age are driven by a pattern wherein facial prominence generally remains stable for men, but declines for women with age. In short, older users follow more traditional gender depictions in accordance with the face-ism phenomenon, whereas among younger people, women sport an even higher facial prominence than men do. In contrast to this significant interaction between gender and age in facial prominence, we found no significant interaction between culture (as measured by Hofstede’s masculinity dimension) and gender, which indicates that culture plays no discernible role in gender differences in facial prominence, possibly because macro-level sexism (Hofstede’s masculinity dimension) and micro-level sexism (photographs of individuals online) are not the same.
KeywordsFace-ism Facial prominence Online dating sites Gender stereotypes Hofstede’s cultural dimensions Cross-cultural study
This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government (NRF-2013S1A5A8020741).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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