Application of Goffman’s framework of gender display in explaining stereotypes: Females’ self-expression in selfies

Xiaoqing ZHU

Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


Selfies, usually taken via smartphone, are a modem form of self-expression. Selfies are widely used in social media for self-presentation. Social media is now an important tool of expression for Chinese people to convey their messages. Young females, the largest social group of Chinese social media users, are the most representative. Some studies have shown that young females tend to copy and stereotype the normative female cues of selfies or cell phone selfies that are popular in mass media. However, some scholars argued that modem user-generated selfies may paint a more diverse gender map. Therefore, this study investigated contemporary young females' selfies on social media to examine whether Goffman's framework still applies to selfies in today's era and to see which stereotypes young females' selfies follow. It also uses selfies to understand how young females present their ideal selves, as well as to explore the influence of media fads in the process. This study used qualitative research methods to collect data through interviews with 10 females between the ages of 20-22. The analysis concluded that Goffinan's framework still applies to young females' selfies and that stereotypes are related to cultural norms. At the same time, young females are more likely to show their real self rather than their ideal self in selfies, and social media and stereotypes in popular trends are still influencing females.
Original languageEnglish
  • CHENG, Wai Lun, Eddie 鄭偉倫, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Liberal Studies Education (Four-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A4B071
  • Course code: SSC4240
  • Alt. title: Gender and social media: Examining the selfies of young females


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