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Article by Laura Grindstaff & Gabriella Torres Valencia published in Information, Communication & Society

An article titled "The filtered self: selfies and gendered media production" by Laura Grindstaff and 4th year Sociology undergraduate student Gabriella Torres Valencia has been published in Information, Communication & Society. An abstract of the article is below. 


In 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary selected 'selfie' as the word of the year. Since that time, selfies have been much discussed in the media and increasingly in academia. Selfie culture is gendered not only because women take more selfies than men but also because women's selfie-taking is both criticized (as narcissistic) and defended (as empowering) on feminist grounds. In this paper, we draw upon the existing literature on selfies as well as 260, short 'person-on-the-street' interviews with young people (mostly Latinas, mostly in California) about their selfie-taking practices to demonstrate that selfies are indeed a gendered genre and an important if overlooked form of gendered media production in a postfeminist context. The data reveal that disciplinary function of the narcissism narrative for young women, their navigation of gendered and sexual double-standards as well their understandings of 'publicness' when posting selfies, their ambivalence about feedback, and their commitment to individualized notions of empowerment realized through 'control' of the gaze. We argue that self-production is never simply about the self because cultural filters are at work that shape in systmatic ways how women envision and enact female subjectivity and visibility. Our goal is not to determine whether selfies are good or bad; rather, we explore what they suggest about the gendered politics of self-production for young women of color in the new 'gaze economy' of social media.