How Virtual Meetings Affect A Women’s Body Image

How Virtual Meetings Affect A Women’s Body Image?

For most women—but not for all women—looking at themselves during virtual meetings has not been accompanied by any changes in how satisfied they are with their appearance, according to new research.

Video chatting services such as Zoom have become a common way to keep in touch with friends, family, and co-workers. But it’s also forced people to sit face-to-face with themselves with a clear view of every pimple, every wrinkle, and every awkward expression they’d otherwise never see.

It’s just weird. But is it worse than that? Have our self-perceptions changed?

First author Gabrielle Pfund, a graduate student in the lab of Patrick Hill, associate professor in the psychological and brain sciences department at Washington University in St. Louis anticipated she might find that people would generally be less satisfied with their appearance the more their video chat usage increased.

As video chatting became more pervasive, “I thought, this is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I wonder if this is affecting people?”

She reached out to a former professor, Jennifer Harriger at Pepperdine University, who researches body image and social media. Harriger encouraged Pfund to explore the topic.

For the study, Pfund surveyed 438 women—because, she says, “Women often report more issues with body image than men.” The participants ranged from 18- to 70-year-olds; all but 5% were 55 or younger.


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


They reported how much time they spent video chatting before the beginning of the pandemic versus after; with whom they shared screens, such as friends, family, co-workers, and/or romantic partners; and answers to a few additional questions about their habits related to video chatting.

Researchers then assessed women on a scale of self-objectification, a measure of a person’s conscious thoughts about how they believe others are perceiving them. They were also assessed on how often they compared their appearance to others.

Finally they were asked how satisfied they were with their own appearance.

Taken together, the women’s responses added up to a picture describing how their video chat usage tracked with how satisfied they were with their appearance, given these tendencies to judge themselves, either against others or through the eyes of others.

“We thought it might be moderated by self-objectification and appearance satisfaction,” she says, meaning the more a woman self-objectified, or the more she compared herself to others, the stronger the negative association would be between time spent video chatting and appearance with one’s satisfaction.

But what about when it came to analyzing the data and seeing how the women’s satisfaction changed in relation to how much more time they’d spent video chatting?

“The main thing we found is, it doesn’t,” she says. “The number of hours you spend video chatting during the day is not associated with how satisfied you are with either your face or your body appearance.”

Mostly.

“For people who scored higher on self-objectification there was a small negative association with appearance satisfaction the more time they spent video chatting,” she says.

It was a small association, but with potentially big consequences for some populations. One reason is because it’s not only friends, families, and coworkers who people have been connecting with via video chat. During the pandemic, many people have also turned to telehealth solutions for medical care.

“Future research should consider whether the use of such platforms may be problematic for some individuals,” Pfund wrote in the paper. Particularly, she says, this preliminary research raises questions about the use of video chatting for treatment for people with certain conditions, such as eating disorders.

And she’s not assuming video chatting use could possibly affect only women. Up next, Pfund plans to look at men’s video chat behaviors: Are the associations the same as with women? Are men comparing their video chat appearances at all?

In the future, she plans to dive deeper into women’s perspectives by having them keep daily records of their video interactions and feelings.

“Then we could tease apart, on days when a person spends more time video chatting, is their appearance satisfaction better or worse,” Pfund says. “Or what about when they spend time chatting with family versus friends versus work?”

Even the same study might look different if she did it again today.

When she started the research, it was May. At the time, it may have seemed like forever, but by now we can say that back then, the video chatting phenomenon was still pretty new—just two months into working from home. Now people are used to it and likely have adjusted to staring at ourselves, sometimes for hours a day.

“It has been almost 10 months of us doing this all the time,” Pfund says. “What it means to us now might be very different than what it meant to us then.”

About the Authors

First author Gabrielle Pfund, a graduate student in the lab of Patrick Hill, associate professor in the psychological and brain sciences department at Washington University in St. Louis.  

Jennifer Harriger at Pepperdine University, who researches body image and social media.

Original Study

More Articles By This Author

You May Also Like

AVAILABLE LANGUAGES

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

First name:E-mail:
 

{emailcloak=off}

DAILY INSPIRATION

citizen of the world dress
Daily Inspiration: March 6, 2021
It is said that when someone asked Socrates what country he was from, his response was "of the…
Daily Inspiration: March 5, 2021
Daily Inspiration: March 5, 2021
There's no need to run away, or run to others for answers. Close your eyes and talk to your Self...
InnerSelf.com Daily Inspiration: March 4, 2021
Daily Inspiration: March 4, 2021
When we think of greed, we usually think about money and material possessions. However, greed can…

INNERSELF VOICES

We Create Our Own Reality By How We See and Interpret Things
We Create Our Own Reality By How We See and Interpret Things
by Pierre Pradervand
How I see my life path is a choice I make minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day… And this…
How to Walk for Health, Fitness, and Peace of Mind
How to Walk for Health, Fitness, and Peace of Mind
by James Endredy
For most people, walking is an activity that requires no thought or intention -- it is rarely even…
Young girl sitting surrounded by lots of book of various colors
How to Recognize Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
by Thom Hartmann
ADHD is not an all-or-nothing diagnosis. There appears to be a curve of behaviors and personality…
How To Recognize Your Core Negative Beliefs and Inner Critic
How To Recognize Your Core Negative Beliefs and Inner Critic
by Bridgit Dengel Gaspard
You may not think you have a core negative belief, but if you’re mysteriously stuck, one or two…
Scrabble letters that spell out: NO HATE
Vaccination or No Vaccination? That Is Not the Question Here...
by Joyce Vissell
This is not an article about the benefits of getting a vaccination. Nor is it an article about not…
heart shape filled with various colors
Quiz: What’s Your Risk of Heart Disease? and What To Do About It
by Maryon Stewart
If you answered yes to more than three questions, I would highly recommend that you follow the…
two balls balanced on top of each other under an arch
Attaining Balance Between Left and Right-Brain by Nourishing the Solar Plexus Chakra
by Glen Park
Aspiration and achievement, power and success, and fame and fortune are presented as highly…
Photo of aurora and moon by Markus Varik on February 22, 2021, Tromsø Norway
Horoscope Current Week: March 1 - 7, 2021
by Pam Younghans
This weekly astrological journal is based on planetary influences, and offers perspectives and…

MOST READ

silhouette of a woman's head and it is disintegrating
Letting Go of All Perceived Pain, Ignorance, and Fear
by Alexis I. Jordan
Thank you, infinite goodness, for your bounteous gifts, including peace, love, freedom and joy,…
Transformation: Taking Back our Power from People and Parasites
Transformation: Taking Back our Power from People and Parasites
by Vir McCoy and Kara Zahl
I believe that both Lyme disease and parasites are teaching us to love ourselves, claim our power,…
picture of colorful fireworks in the sky
Cancer Meditation and Cancer Medication: A Powerful Combination
by Joyce Whiteley Hawkes
Each cell has its own biological clock that controls its individual rate of repair, replication,…
Emotions and Your Moon Sign
How To Deal with Your Emotions According To Your Moon Sign
by Donna Cunningham
The Moon, in the astrological chart, can help us understand how we deal with our emotions. It shows…
a model standing on a runway facing her shadow... all in green
Befriending the Shadow: Transforming Darkness Into Light
by Robert Ohotto
When we don't recognize or accept certain parts of our own nature - positive and negative - we'll…
Why Creating Art With Your Children Is Important
Why Creating Art With Your Children Is Important
by Vicky Armstrong
Many of us may be looking to art activities to keep children busy while at home. If you are, I want…
First Aid Buttons: Regulate The Body's Energy Flow and Improve Your Health
First Aid Buttons: Regulate The Body's Energy Flow and Improve Your Health
by Barry Sultanoff, MD.
We came into this world with special "buttons" pre-installed. These "buttons" are specific spots on…
boy covering up his face as if afraid of the tall city landscape behind him
Awakening to the Power of Healing Our Core Wounds
by Lisa Tahir
It is our human condition to experience wounding on the earthly plane of existence. It is our…

New Attitudes - New Possibilities

InnerSelf.comClimateImpactNews.com | InnerPower.net
MightyNatural.com | WholisticPolitics.com
Copyright ©1985 - 2021 InnerSelf Publications. All Rights Reserved.