A Sexy Post a Day Brings the “Likes” Your Way: A Content Analytic Investigation of Sexualization in Fraternity Instagram Posts

Kun Yan, Jade Salmon, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fraternities and sororities are popular organizations within university life. Even though their activities are usually secretive and protected, social media offer a chance for the public to understand these groups. In the present study, we investigated how sexualization is communicated on fraternities’ location pages on Instagram. Applying a multi-dimensional coding scheme composed of 12 sexualization variables, we analyzed 600 Greek life posts from 49 fraternities. Among the posts, we found (a) body shots, (b) revealing clothing, (c) sexualized mouths, and (d) breasts/chests to be the most frequently used sexualization cues. In addition, there was a positive association between the number of sexualization cues in a post and the number of likes the post received. The results also point to gender differences: fraternity posts portraying only women included a greater number of sexualization cues, on average, than posts showing only men or mixed genders. Also, gender of individuals in the pictures moderated the relationships between sexualized mouths/buttocks and likes. Implications for gender inequality and risks of sexualization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalSexuality and Culture
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Fraternities
  • Gender
  • Instagram
  • Sexualization
  • Social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies

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