Social Comparison of Idealized Female Images and the Curation of Self on Pinterest

Neil Alperstein


The online social network, Pinterest, has grown in significance since its introduction in 2010, perhaps because of its emphasis of visual content, known as “pins.” According to the Pew Research Center, when it comes to Pinterest, “Women are about five times as likely to be on the site as men, the largest difference in gender” among popular social networking sites. While the literature indicates that idealizes images in traditional advertising venues have a negative impact on women’s self-perceptions, the present study extends this research to consider how newer social media, Pinterest in particular, affects women’s body image and self-esteem. The empirical findings of the present study, based on the results of an online survey of women, will greater understanding of the degree to which exposure to idealized images on Pinterest have an effect on self-evaluations. The study is based on social comparison theory as a moderator of effects, along with body image and self-esteem. The findings will be of interest to those concerned with the unintended consequences of social media use.


Pinterest; social media; social comparison; self-esteem, Idealized images; body image

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