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Casanova` s of the Virtual World. How Boys Present Themselves on Dating Websites.

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ABSTRACT As the identity of the young is largely shaped through the feedback they receive from their peers, the impression-management has become an essential part in the lives of the youth, both in the real world and also in the virtual worlds of the Internet. The aim of the paper is to analyse how young men present themselves in the photographs of dating websites in the Baltic States. Dating websites of Rate (Estonia), Face (Latvia) and Point (Lithuania) are known as portals where people can post a short description of themselves and photos, so that other portal users can give points and rate what they see. The purpose of my study was to analyse how the boys on these websites formulate their masculine identities in order to appeal to potential partners. Content analysis involving elements of visual analysis methods developed by Goffman (1979), Kress and van Leeuwen (1996), Umiker-Sebeok (1996), Kang (1997), and Bell (2001), was carried out to analyse the photos of girls who appeared in the “TOP 100 of the most remarkable men” of Rate, Face and Point, in a period of six months. Altogether 117 men from Rate, 100 from Face and 113 from Point where analysed to find out how the boys market themselves on dating websites. The results of the analysis suggest that the photos of the most remarkable boys play with two contradictory types of masculinity.

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