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In , it was the Yik Yak van parked on campus for the first few weeks of fall term. The year before it was a Facebook Confessions Page. The latest social media app for showcasing college life is as much a part of the start of the school year as buying books or being frustrated by the suddenly long line at Starbucks each morning.
Expectations of college life at many universities throughout the United States, influenced by representations in films such as the Neighbors series, Old School and others, revolve around the idea of a social world filled with drinking and parties. While in the planning stages of our intervention, we realized we needed a better understanding of the gendered dynamics at work in the digital college party scene.
In order to do so, we both downloaded Yeti onto our phones and observed the University of Oregon Yeti feed during the fall of taking detailed field notes from November 5 to December 5.
In this article we begin with a brief discussion of the framework through which we analyze the digital party scene then provide information about Yeti as a social media app founded in a sexist startup culture. After contextualizing social media within college party culture, we then turn to two major themes found on Yeti.
For women, participation in the digital party scene is guided by expectations of a particular performance of femininity exemplified by the posting of sexualized selfies. Women are able to gain status and popularity and exert some measure of control and agency over images of themselves while adhering to a set of sexualized expectations.