Factors Affecting the Online Self-Presentation of Black Women on Social Networking Sites

Mahitot Elizabeth Arnold, Fordham University


This study examined the extent to which Black women in emerging adulthood presented multiple facets of the self (real and three versions of false) on Instagram, and how these women’s racial identity and self-esteem predicted these online self-presentations. Three-hundred-two Black women participants completed an online survey consisting of three measures: Self-Presentation on Facebook Questionnaire, Rosenberg Self-Esteem, and the Multidimensional Inventory of Black Identity- Short. Results indicated that Black women during emerging adulthood used Instagram to present their real self and all versions of their false selves albeit real self-presentation was reported as more prevalent than other versions of self. These presentations of the real self online were predicted by high self-esteem and a high affinity to Black racial identity. Participants who reported low self-esteem were more inclined to display versions of the false self online. Collectively, these results are largely consistent with extant findings whereby individuals with high self-esteem engage in more self-enhancement whereby they display aspects of themselves of which they are proud of as opposed to those who are lower in self-esteem. These findings also highlight the centrality of racial identity in regards to how Black women present themselves online.

Subject Area

Special education|Womens studies|Web Studies|African American Studies

Recommended Citation

Arnold, Mahitot Elizabeth, "Factors Affecting the Online Self-Presentation of Black Women on Social Networking Sites" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28545402.