Sex Roles

, Volume 78, Issue 5–6, pp 311–324 | Cite as

Instagram Use and Self-Objectification: The Roles of Internalization, Comparison, Appearance Commentary, and Feminism

  • Chandra E. FeltmanEmail author
  • Dawn M. Szymanski
Original Article


The current study examined potential mediators (i.e., internalization of cultural standards of beauty, engaging in upward and downward appearance comparison, and receiving positive and negative appearance-related commentary), moderators (i.e., feminist beliefs), and moderated mediation of the links between Instagram (an electronic way to share visual images) use and self-objectification and body surveillance among 492 undergraduate women from the Southeast United States. Results revealed that internalization of cultural standards of beauty and engaging in upward appearance comparison uniquely mediated Instagram usage and self-objectification and body surveillance links. Additionally, findings from the moderation analyses indicated that the direct effect of Instagram usage on body surveillance was contingent on feminist beliefs, such that this relationship was only significant among women with lower and moderate feminist beliefs. This finding suggests that higher feminist beliefs play a buffering or protective role whereas lower feminist beliefs play an intensifying role. Implications and future directions are discussed.


Objectification Social networking Social media Feminism Social comparison Body image 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Informed Consent

The research involved human participants and included an informed consent that was approved by the University of Tennessee’s Institutional Review Board.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

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