Superdudes.nl and Sugababes.nl, two related websites, together form one of the biggest social networking sites in the Netherlands. Almost 60% of all the youngsters between 13 and 18 have created a profile at least once. Superdudes, not very surprisingly, focuses on boys, whereas Sugababes is the girl variant. The aim is to become popular, by creating a profile and uploading your hottest, sweetest and sexiest photo’s. The way to achieve popularity is by collecting as many kudos as possible. Kudos are signs of appreciation, which are usually reciprocally given and received by peers.
Since the site is divided into a blue site for the boys and a pink one for the girls, it could hardly be bold to state that the site enforces stereotypical thinking about men and women. After a small investigation it has become obvious to me that brains don’t matter here. As a man you need to look tough, but show a soft side as well, have short hair and carry a sixpack under your shirt. The girls, usually sarcely dressed, need to be bored with everything, have long hair, and wear lots of lipstick. We can imagine parents wondering whether all this is really necessary and possibly are shocked when they see their children putting themselves on display in such shallow stereotypical positions. But do we know what’s really going on there? Continue reading