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Kapidzic, Sanja; Herring, Susan C. (2015): Race, gender, and self-presentation in teen profile photographs. In: New Media and Society, Vol. 17, No. 6: pp. 958-976


This study analyzes how teens represent themselves through their profile photographs on a popular nonymous chat site. Using visual content analysis methods, we analyzed 400 profile photographs, controlling for the self-reported gender and the apparent race of the photographic subject. The analysis finds significant differences in gaze, posture, dress, and distance from the camera according to gender and race, although racial differences are stronger for boys than for girls. To a surprising extent, the findings mirror previous findings of gender and race differences in face-to-face interaction, suggesting that the teens construe their profile images as invitations to interact with others online. At the same time, their photo choices reproduce culturally dominant ideologies of gender and race as reinforced by mass media images.