Happy sort-of-fall, everyone! I spent my summer vacation counting the Instagram bra ads that I still can’t get rid of, and also reading Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, the classic early-nineties accounting of how evolving beauty standards are damaging women. Seems fun, right?
If you haven’t read the book, though, and you’re interested in the topic, I recommend it. …
Hey Instagram. I was just wondering,
does your company collect any user feedback from women?
I ask because I am one, and I’ve noticed that my sponsored content is…
well, it’s a little repetitive.
Kind of one-note. And I get why: somewhere, an algorithm has (correctly) identified that I do yoga,
and yeah, I guess I’ve bought a sports bra or two in my day.
And also other kinds of bras.
So naturally, you’d like me to purchase more bras.
Golly, there sure are lots of bras on your app!
I didn’t appreciate just how many barely-different strategies a company might employ to lift a pair of breasts! …
I’ll make this quick, because I don’t want to devote my whole day to thinking about the argument recently made by a Google engineer — that biological differences between men and women account for the lack of women in tech. You’ve heard the claims before: that women are neurotic while men are rational, women are passive while men are assertive. You’ve heard them before because they are literally thousands of years old, dating back to Artistotle’s 350BC writings on biology and political philosophy.
In the rich history of tired arguments, this one may empirically be the most played-out.
A fun side note about Aristotle, though: his biological explanation for what makes men physically, mentally and morally superior? That semen is some kind of purified menstrual blood, which women cannot produce because their bodies are not warm enough. “For the female is, as it were, a mutilated male,” he argues, and her fluids are something like semen, “only not pure; for there is only one thing they have not in them, the principle of soul.” …