social media

Gender Diversity in Social Media – by Ally Bergin

Gender diversity in social media has become a major problem in modern society because social media reinforces the notion of stereotypes. Social media influences user’s perception by not pressing the importance and the need for a resolution of these gender related issues. The problems surrounding gender diversity is that it’s corrupting individual’s minds and perceptions by sending out specific messages to encourage users to think a certain way. This is a current and relevant problem that I see every day on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

The significance of gender diversity is it’s teaching teenagers and adolescents to follow along with stereotypes and who they’re ‘supposed’ to be, rather than being who they truly are. It holds importance because it represents how manipulative and negative social media can be for users. Gender diversity in social media creates a false narrative for users because they want to fit in with the stereotypes they’re exposed to, such as what it means to be a man or woman. Social media utilizes manipulative tools to influence consumer behavior, and their perception about themselves and others. Essentially this issue has impactful effects on users mental health, and their pattern of thinking. Gender diversity in social media is shaping society’s views and beliefs by constant exposure to these stereotypical behaviors. 

Social media limits gender diversity by encouraging misrepresentations of gender through the use of stereotypes. Studies have shown that teenagers often use gender stereotypes to create their own social media personas. This includes the type of content they post. “For instance, teenage girls post overtly seductive photos of themselveswhile boys share pictures related to risky behaviors, alcohol or sex,according to the article, “Gender and Social Media.” (Aleksandra Atanasova, “Gender and Social Media,” Oct. 22, 2016). This gender specific behavior targets mainly teenagers, but has a robust effect on all users that engage in social media. It occurs on a diverse range of social media platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. These platforms subconsciously change user’s pattern of thinking because social media encourages users to keep scrolling to increase the amount of exposure to specific content and messages. The surrounding problems regarding gender diversity happen because the content users post is motivated by a desire to make a good impression. Users want to be portrayed in a positive light that shows how great their life is. In addition, social media platforms want users to stay on their site for as long as possible to gain popularity in society, and to collect data on its users in order to expose them to related content that meets their needs. 

Detrimental consequences could potentially arise on a personal and societal level regarding gender diversity in social media. Personal consequences can include a negative change in behavior or thinking pattern that affects an individual’s overall mental health causing them to compare features about themselves with others they see online. It could influence users to not embrace their true selves, but rather create a stereotypical identity for themselves. This example directly effects and relates with societal consequences because social media platforms have millions of users that engage with their site all around the world. In addition, social media platforms rarely emphasize the importance of gender diversity and the role it plays in society. Platforms manipulate their choice of words that don’t communicate the true meaning of the message to create a stimulant response from users. This has a great effect on societal views. 

Gender diversity in social media reinforces the notion of gender stereotypes by influencing users to think and be portrayed a certain way to best appeal to others. This problem has a drastic effect on society and personal users because social media alters their messages using manipulative tactics to get the response they’re searching for. Gender diversity is an important topic that holds a significant value on society. Social media takes advantage of their users by manipulating them into thinking and behaving how they’re ‘supposed’ to. In order to overcome and prevent this problem, personal users and society needs to gain awareness about these issues. It’s important to be mindful of these tactics in order to prevent gender stereotypes. Limiting social media exposure is a suggestion as well to prevent this problem because the more a user is on the site, the more data it collects about them individually. 

 

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

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