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Young women with sexy social media photos seen as less competent, study finds Getty

A new study indicates that girls who post 'sexy or revealing' pictures online through social media platforms such as Facebook are often viewed as less competent to perform tasks by their female peers. The study was conducted by researchers at the Oregon State University, according to a report from Phys.Org.

"This is a clear indictment of sexy social media photos," said researcher Elizabeth Daniels, an assistant professor of psychology who studied the effect of media on girls' body image. Daniels' findings were the result of an experiment she conducted through a fictitious Facebook profile.

Girls and young women don't really have much to gain when it comes to sharing photos on social platforms, Daniels said.

"There is so much pressure on teen girls and young women to portray themselves as sexy, but sharing those sexy photos online may have more negative consequences than positive," she added.

For the experiment, Daniels created two fake profiles for the fictitious 20-year-old Amanda Johnson. And on both of these profiles, Amanda's likes included music, movies and books appropriate for her age, including Lady Gaga, Twilight and The Notebook. The only difference between the two profiles was that one had a revealing profile picture, while the other didn't.

Study participants included 58 teen girls between the ages of 13 and18 and 60 young adult women who had completed high school, between the ages of 17 and 25. They were randomly shown one of the two profiles and questioned for their opinion on multiple aspects. The aspects included Amanda's physical attractiveness (How pretty is Amanda), social attractiveness (Could she be a friend of mine), and task competence (How competent is she) on a scale from one to seven, with one being strongly disagree and seven being strongly agree.

In all three aspects, the non-sexy profile scored higher points. This indicates that respondents perceived the more conservative Amanda to be prettier, more competent and more likely to make a good friend.