Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on
 

Who takes more selfies: Women or men?

By Kelly Wallace, CNN
updated 12:06 PM EDT, Tue October 7, 2014
Television personalities Kim Kardashian and Willie Geist take a selfie during "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Television personalities Kim Kardashian and Willie Geist take a selfie during "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
HIDE CAPTION
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
Celebs taking selfies
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • More women than men, on average, take selfies, according to a new research project
  • But after age 40, more men than women take and post selfies
  • Women over 40 may not take selfies because of insecurities about how they look
  • Another theory: Men over 40 are looking for more external reassurance than women

Editor's note: Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She is a mom of two. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN) -- When it comes to aging, I know I am lucky, at least so far, because usually when I tell people how old I am (47!), they're surprised.

On the one hand they're saying they don't think I look my age, which could be considered a compliment. But on the other hand, they are clearly thinking, "Wow, I didn't realize she's so old."

"Hey, 47 isn't ancient!" I want to say, but never do.

But who am I to criticize? I had the same preconceptions around age when I was younger.

Will our attitudes about aging -- especially the differences in how aging men and women are viewed -- ever change?

READ: Selfie named word of the year for 2013

A new research project about, of all things, the "selfie," shows we women may have a long way to go.

CNN\'s Kelly Wallace on why she doesn\'t take too many selfies: \
CNN's Kelly Wallace on why she doesn't take too many selfies: "Who wants to see my laugh lines -- that's what I call them! -- up close and personal?"

The project called Selfiecity, backed by the City University of New York, California Institute of Telecommunication and Information, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is exploring the impact of the selfie on our society. Researchers looked at selfies shared on Instagram in five major international cities, Bangkok, Berlin, Moscow, New York and Sao Paulo, over six months.

While they found that women, on average, take more selfies than men, the situation reverses itself after age 40.

READ: Obama selfie: Danes surprised by global attention

Men are more likely than women after hitting the big 4-0 to take and post selfies on Instagram than women.

Stay in touch!
Don't miss out on the conversation we're having at CNN Living. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest stories and tell us what's influencing your life.

Ladies, why is this so? I am only half-seriously asking the question because I think I know the answer. It's the reason I don't love taking selfies myself. Who wants to see my laugh lines -- that's what I call them! -- up close and personal, or the big bags under my eyes? I know I'm aging and I'm generally OK with it, but why do I need a reminder of it on my iPhone?

"Women over 40 are probably more insecure about how they look (over 40) than men are," said Jenny Dean Schmidt, host of "The Channelmom Show" in Denver, on Facebook. "I'm over 40, so I know. I'd probably be snapping away if I was 22."

"Obviously guys are looking better over 40. Or at least that's what they think," said Lela Davidson, award-winning author of "Blacklisted from the PTA" and "Who Peed on My Yoga Mat?"

But Amanda Rodriguez, who hasn't reached the 40 milestone just yet, had another take. She believes selfies might be more about getting external reassurance, and that men over 40 might need it more than women.

How 'selfies' can boost self-confidence
Are these sexy selfies too far for kids?
Talking to teens about social media
Beautiful timelapse shows aging woman

Selfies "are something people do to garner attention of others, so people who desire or require that maybe post them more?" suggested Rogriguez, host of the blog Dude Mom.

"Maybe guys over 40 are having a mid life crisis and use the selfie to see if women are still interested in them?" said Kelly Glover of the plus size blog Big Curvy Love.

"As for women dropping back in the selfie stakes after 40, maybe they've just grown out of it and the men haven't," said Glover.

READ: Michelle Obama 'fabulous' at 50: Has the big birthday changed?

I have to admit I never thought about it that way.

I'm still thinking one of the bigger reasons more men than women take selfies is because women are less welcoming of the aging process. Just consider the impact it could have on all of us if we aging women made ourselves much more visible in this world -- and yes, took more selfies.

NBC's "Today" show gathered a group of women in their 40s and above this week as part of a series called "Love Your Selfie." The women talked about the body parts they despised, how they feel invisible in this world and how they don't love the way they look in selfies.

But then, as part of the shoot, they took selfies and unbeknownst to them, "Today" showcased their selfies on a large billboard in midtown Manhattan directly across from where the interview was taking place. Their reactions were priceless. They were first freaked, but then they laughed and cheered each other on.

They looked beautiful. Each and every one of them.

READ: For women over 50: Bikinis, botox and bling?

Diane Smith, an Emmy Award winning television journalist, radio talk show host, author and speaker, told me via e-mail that after age 50 and a career on television, she rarely takes selfies.

"I need good lighting, hair and makeup to see myself the way I imagine myself," said Smith, who co-authored the New York Times bestseller "Obsessed-America's Food Addiction and My Own" with Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC.

Asked what it will take for women in their 40s, 50s and beyond to love the way they look, she said that'll happen when society "stops holding up women in their 20s and 30s as the only ones with sex appeal, and beauty."

"I think we need to accept that women are beautiful at all ages, and that the wrinkles, laugh lines etc. that are on my face are telling the story of a life well lived ... not a life with no value left."

I couldn't agree more.

So how about us 40 and above women start a movement of sorts? Let's take more selfies than our male contemporaries and post them, embracing the laugh lines, bags and age spots, knowing we really do get more beautiful with age.

Will differences in how aging men and women are viewed in society ever change? Chime in below in comments or tell Kelly Wallace on Twitter and CNN Living on Facebook.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 5:20 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. CNN's Michaela Pereira grew up in a family of five adopted girls in Canada and eventually reunited with her biological half-sister.
updated 2:39 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
It began for Nickolay Lamm as a question: What would Barbie look like if she had the dimensions of an average woman?
updated 9:16 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
Bill Cosby was thought of as a perceptive comedian and genial father figure. Now, that persona pairs with another, much darker image.
updated 12:35 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
If you think 'my teen would never sext,' you might be mistaken. Recent studies suggest it's more common than many parents might want to admit.
updated 6:44 AM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
I pictured myself graduating from college, getting a cool job and even having a cute place of my own. Instead, I wake to the early-morning sounds of my family dog barking and my parents making coffee downstairs.
updated 12:38 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Samantha Futerman and Anais Bordier tease, poke and prod each other like they've grown up together, but they didn't. Neither woman knew she had an identical twin sister until less than two years ago.
updated 9:02 AM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
A school district in Maryland has decided to remove all references to religious holidays from its school calendar, leaving some in the community frustrated.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Thu November 13, 2014
Female veterans often have a harder time finding employment than their male counterparts. But why?
updated 3:19 PM EST, Fri November 14, 2014
I simply couldn't believe my eyes. At a children's party this year, I witnessed full-on "mean girl" behavior.
updated 12:24 PM EST, Mon November 10, 2014
Several children were sent to the hospital after being sickened by ingesting detergent pods.
updated 9:46 AM EST, Wed November 12, 2014
There are plenty of times when I literally wish I could take a hammer to the portrayal of girls and women in the media. In a new ad, a little girl gets to do just that.
updated 10:09 AM EST, Sat November 8, 2014
"Playing doctor" and "I'll show you mine if you show me yours" are common rites of passage in childhood sexual behavior, according to the experts.
updated 3:12 PM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
A tech startup claims credit for making Alex from Target go viral, but there's skepticism about how involved it was, if at all.
updated 5:47 PM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
A soft toy for cribs lets babies post pictures of themselves to social media.
updated 11:55 AM EST, Tue November 4, 2014
Schools are increasingly confronting a controversial question: Should they do more to monitor students' online interactions off-campus to keep them safe?
updated 11:56 AM EST, Thu November 6, 2014
The National Toy Hall of Fame recently inducted three new favorites into its hallowed halls. What's your favorite?
updated 10:09 AM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
We don't know, and may never know, what led to the Washington school shooting, but we have to ask ourselves, following this tragedy, if we are doing enough to help our boys deal with difficult emotions without resorting to violence.
updated 7:01 PM EDT, Wed October 29, 2014
The viral video of a New York woman being catcalled on the street has men asking, "So, what should I do?" The answer starts with respect.
updated 2:40 PM EDT, Thu October 30, 2014
Trick-or-treating and dressing in costume have been Halloween traditions for a good long time now, but it seems we're still struggling to get it right.
updated 4:38 PM EDT, Fri October 31, 2014
Yes, there's actually corn in it. Corn syrup, if that counts.
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Tue October 28, 2014
Walmart found itself sending apology tweet after apology tweet after the Twitterverse raked it over the coals for a major goof on its website.
updated 4:02 PM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
There aren't too many times when I'm speechless about what I consider an outrageous example of parenting. This is one of those times.
updated 7:57 AM EDT, Mon October 27, 2014
Holy crap, LeVar Burton.
updated 5:38 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Critics pounced on supermodel Gisele Bundchen for advocating a little mommy "me time" recently. When did it become a crime to admit that you -- as a parent -- put yourself first?
updated 12:21 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Sally Kohn says a video of little girls dressed as princesses using the F-word very loudly to condemn sexism is provocative. But is it exploitative?
updated 4:27 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Not again.
updated 12:41 PM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
"Breaking Bad's" drug-dealing chemistry teacher Walter White will have to stop making the sale at Toys R Us.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
I happen to agree with Renee Zellweger that all the chatter about her face is "silly." But I, and many other women I talked with via email Wednesday, would add some other choice words to the mix to describe the non-stop attention about her appearance: nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
I have long thought millennials, who expect flexibility in the workplace, would be the group that would bring an end to the stigma that is too often associated with flex time -- the belief that wanting a flexible work arrangement means you aren't willing to work as hard. But now I'm thinking it's going to be men who will get us there.
updated 7:40 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Say it with us: Kids today have it sooooo easy.
updated 2:29 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
An Atlanta judge reportedly reprimanded an immigration attorney for bringing her 4-week-old to court for a hearing -- a hearing she asked the judge to reschedule because she was on her six-week maternity leave.
updated 11:04 AM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Monica Lewinsky tweeted for the first time. She called herself "patient zero" of cyber-bullying.
updated 3:43 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Meet Shyanne Roberts, a 10-year-old competitive shooter with something to prove: "Kids and guns don't always mean bad things happen."
updated 9:50 AM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
strawberry ghosts
We love Halloween season. Sweets. Sweaters. Sipping hot cider (maybe spiked). Halloween can certainly get you in the spirit, and nothing warms our hearts like these healthy Halloween treats that help you stay energized instead of stuck in a sugar coma.
updated 3:23 PM EDT, Fri October 17, 2014
Does your baby cry during long flights, causing you to want to disappear from the glares of fellow passengers?
updated 4:14 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
Ask any teen if they suffer from social media anxiety and they would probably tell you no. But the truth is getting "likes" and the fear of missing out are adding stress to teens' lives.
updated 9:13 AM EDT, Thu October 16, 2014
Many photographers have taken it upon themselves to document stillborn and terminal babies' precious moments after birth.
updated 3:46 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
As part of the insurance coverage offered to its female employees, Facebook is paying to freeze their eggs.
updated 2:15 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Amal Alamuddin was well-known in many important circles long before she snagged the world's most eligible bachelor. But Amal Alamuddin is now Amal Clooney, according to her law firm's website.
updated 12:42 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Trends in young adult fiction have shifted from wizards to glittering vampires to bloodthirsty "Hunger Games" and now, to teens coping with illnesses and realistic issues.
updated 8:56 PM EDT, Tue October 14, 2014
Before he died this year, 14-year-old Martin Romero wanted to do something for his community.
updated 6:33 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
A 12-year-old girl called Dick's Sporting Goods out on its lack of female athletes in the Basketball 2014 catalog.
updated 12:36 PM EDT, Mon October 13, 2014
Before he was even born, Shane Michael Haley had already met the Philadelphia Phillies, been to the top of the Empire State Building and shared a cheesesteak with his parents.
updated 3:39 PM EDT, Fri October 10, 2014
I couldn't quite believe my eyes when I read the initial comments from Microsoft's CEO on how women who don't ask for raises will receive "good karma."
cnn, parents, parenting, logo
Get the latest kid-related buzz, confessions from imperfect parents and the download on the digital life of families here at CNN Parents.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT