Towards a Bra-free Instagram Experience
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! It’s truly incredible.
So thanks for opening my eyes. But here’s the thing:
I’ve started feeling like
maybe you don’t realize what being exposed to an endless string of half-naked, extremely thin women
is doing to people like me?
You know, I mostly just came here to see pictures of my friends’ dogs and kids and shit,
but every time I fire up the old ‘gram these days,
I gotta waste a ton of mental energy comparing myself unfavorably to Kayla, here.
Or feeling like I’m supposed to figure out how to do this:
Or whatever the hell this is.
And here’s the thing: if you’re a woman who finds this triggering —
— who thinks that lots of time spent looking at these images is bad for our overall mental health and sense of self-worth,
or that the sheer quantity of this stuff says something really depressing about our value as women in the world —
there isn’t really a way to opt out of it. Honestly, that seems like a design flaw, to me! I’ve started hiding these sponsored posts, and when you ask me why, I’ve been saying they’re
“not relevant.” You don’t give me many more options than that, unless I decide that I’m offended. But overall, I don’t think I’m seeing fewer bra-stagrams. For my efforts, I’ve been rewarded with slightly different shapes of partially-naked women.
But not always.
I even went through the app and tried to figure out WTF this means.
My…device settings? That doesn’t seem right. (Also, I think I’m already in the section called About Instagram Ads.)
Still, I followed your advice and reviewed the stuff that Facebook thinks I like. Facebook thinks I like fitness and yoga, unsurprisingly, but this experience feels more like there’s a secret box checked off somewhere, and it reads “user’s main hobbies are (1) hoarding spandex leggings, and (2) calorie deprivation.”
Oh, and on that note: you occasionally try to tell me that unpeeled avocado slices on a bed of fucking limes is food.
I’m being gaslit, here, Instagram. Is this really what you think my life is supposed to look like? What is even going on in this picture?
Do men on Instagram contend with this many half-naked dudes and their butts all the time? I really want to know.
Anyway, if you could maybe bring in an expert or two — someone who does public health research, or has studied the effects of advertising on female body image —
you might see your way clear to giving us a little more control over how much of this content we have to scroll past to get to where we wanna go.
Facebook seems to be piloting opt-out filtering for alcohol and parenting content, I’ve noticed, and I think that’s a great first step.
Well, I gotta go. Wishing you lots of group hugs between skinny white women of similar height; kisses; and an entire closet full of “revolutionary lace bralettes,”