Mayda Putri Setyastuti, Manik Sunuantari


Selfie is a phenomenon that best represents popular culture in today's digital era. The trend in the use of smartphones with front cameras and social media has contributed to the creation of 93 million selfies per day from Android-based phones alone (Brandt, 2014). In fact, selfies are not something completely spontaneous and authentic. Selfies go through a series of processes of production and curation in various ways to bring out the 'best version' of a person. The awareness that selfies shared via social media will be seen, even commented on by others, makes individuals take a number of ways to 'enhance' their appearance virtually. One way to improve the appearance of yourself on a selfie is to do selfie-editing. This practice has been practiced and widely accepted. Selfie-editing is the process of perfecting selfies before they are uploaded and shared via social media platforms, especially Instagram. Instagram is currently the most popular social media platform for users to publish their selfie and other photographic contents. This article attempts to explain the selfie-editing phenomenon as an individual effort to manage impressions through the concept of looking-glass self by Charles Horton Cooley. The research was conducted qualitatively, namely by conducting in-depth interviews with informants who are influencers on Instagram, as well as observing and analyzing selfies and photos published in each of the influencers' Instagram accounts. The three accounts that had been the object of this research are @cindaranii, @indripurwandari, and @ipehkhalifah. The three users consistently posted their selfies and self-portraits with various arrangements in their Instagram feeds, as they have thousands of Instagram followers. The findings show that selfies undergo some specific and organized process which can be classified into 3 phases: Pre-production, Production, and Post-Production. These processes indicate that a selfie needs to meet some criteria prior to its uploads in Instagram. This study also found that selfie-editing or photo-editing is certain, but such editing and modification process should deliver a natural and effortless look, the least fabricated it could be. This indicates that selfie-editing is not only a form of impression management on social media, but also a form of censorship action according to the myth of beauty, even though the internet and social media are often perceived as a free and democratic medium.

Keywords: Selfie, Selfie-editing, Looking-glass self, Self-censorship, Beauty Myth


To cite this article (7th APA style):

Putri, M., & Sunuantari, M. (2021). Perpetuating Beauty Myth through Selfie-Editing. Journal Communication Spectrum: Capturing New Perspectives in Communication, 11(1), xx-xx.


Communication; Cultural Studies; Digital Culture; Social Media


Abidin, Crystal. (2016) Aren’t These Just Young, Rich Women Doing Vain Things Online? Influencer Selfies as Subversive Frivolity. Social Media + Society April-June 2016 pp. 1–17. DOI: 10.1177/2056305116641342

Clement, J. (2020). Leading Countries Based On Number of Instagram Users as of October 2020 (in millions), Statista, 29 October 2020. Available:

Jiyoung, C. (2017). Virtual makeover: Selfie-taking and social media use increase selfie-editing frequency through social comparison. Computers in Human Behavior 66 (2017), pp. 370-376. DOI :

Lobinger, K., & Brantner, C. (2015) In The Eye Of The Beholder: Subjective Views of The Authenticity of Selfies. International Journal Of Communication 9 (2015) pp. 1848-1860 via

Littlejohn, S. W., & Foss, K. A. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theories (Symbolic Interactionism, pp. 945-948) . SAGE Publications.

Purwati, P. (2015). Fenomena Selfie Kalangan Remaja Perempuan Di Instagram. Departemen Ilmu Komunikasi, Fakultas Ilmu Sosial Dan Politik, Universitas Diponegoro via

Senft, T. M., & Baym, N. K. (2015). What does the selfie say? Investigating a global phenomenon. International Journal of Communication 9 (2015) pp. 1588-1606 via

Sokowati, M. E. (2020). The Paradox About the Body in the Film ’Imperfect’. I-Pop: International Journal of Indonesian Popular Culture and Communication, 1(1), 63-66.

The Renfrew Center. (2014). Afraid To Be Yourself: Survey Reveals Most People Photoshop Their Images. Diunggah pada 14 Februari 2014. Diakses pada 9 Oktober 2019 melalui

Tiidenberg, K. (2018). Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them (Society Now), "What Are Selfies?" pp. 17-46. Emerald Publishing Limited. DOI:

Tiidenberg, K. (2018). Selfies: Why We Love (and Hate) Them (Society Now), "(Why) Do Selfies Matter?" pp. 75-100. Emerald Publishing Limited. DOI:

Widiastuti, T. (2019). Teenage Perception towards the Role of Beauty Vlogger in the Effort to Develop Buying Interest. Journal Communication Spectrum, 9(1), 1-13.

Wolf, N. (2004). Mitos Kecantikan : Kala Kecantikan Menindas Perempuan. Yogyakarta: Penerbit Niagara.

Yusuf, I. A. (2020). Perpetuating Stigma: Representation of Widows and Divorcees (Janda) in Indonesian Popular Media. I-Pop: International Journal of Indonesian Popular Culture and Communication, 1(1), 1-12.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Indexed by:

Archived in:

Listed in: