How Sociocultural Context Matters in Self-Presentation: A Comparison of U.S. and Chinese Profiles on Jack’d, a Mobile Dating App for Men Who Have Sex With Men
Theorizing profiles on mobile dating applications (apps) as self-presentation, this study examines how men who have sex with men (MSM) presented themselves on Jack’d, a dating app tailored to this population. This research takes a cross-cultural perspective by comparing 204 profiles from the United States and 204 profiles from China. The results show that Chinese MSM were less likely to show their faces on Jack’d than American MSM because of the stronger stigma of homosexuality in China. In addition, the average number of relational goals mentioned by Chinese MSM was smaller than that mentioned by American MSM, supporting the low- and high-context cultural difference. However, more Chinese MSM mentioned looking for relationships specifically, suggesting that they seem to regard Jack’d as a non-romance-seeking platform and have to make their goals explicit. Sex was not often mentioned as the relational goal in both countries, implying “slut-shaming” is in force. This study demonstrates the value of examining online self-presentation of MSM to understand sociocultural differences between the United States and China regarding homosexuality.