Instagram users looking to use made-up pronouns that sound like space aliens or magical creatures are in luck! The photo sharing platform rolled out a new function for users to switch to a wide variety of absurd gender pronouns.
Instagram announced a new feature to “Add pronouns to your profile” in a May 11 tweet. “The new field is available in a few countries, with plans for more.” People magazine reported that “[t]he new feature allows users to add up to four pronouns from the app’s list by going to ‘Edit Profile’ and clicking on ‘Pronouns’ then typing in the search tool, Instagram revealed in their Help Center.” Instagram also reportedly has an extensive list of unorthodox gender pronouns:
“Instagram appears to have an expansive list beyond commonly used pronouns she/her, he/him, and they/them. Other pronoun options on the list include xe/xem/xyr, ze/hir/hirs, thon/thons, ey/em/eir, fae/faer/faers, and many more.”
Instagram made clear in its Help Center that users who are not satisfied with the platform’s set of weird gender identities can request new ones: “If your pronoun doesn’t appear as an option, add it to your bio or let us know.”
The Help Center illustrated further that users “can choose to make your pronouns visible only to people who follow you by turning on the Show to Followers Only setting. This setting will be on by default for accounts belonging to people who are under 18 based on the birthday listed on their profile. You can edit or remove your pronouns at any time.”
Public universities such as the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee (UWM) even appear to have embraced nonbinary gender pronouns with how-to guides including multiple sets of unorthodox gender pronouns. UWM’s designated Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Plus (LGBTQ+) Resource Center perhaps sheds a light on the impetus behind the push for new pronouns: “the dichotomy of ‘he and she’ in English does not leave room for other gender identities, which is a source of frustration to the transgender and gender queer communities.”
A “Nonbinary wiki” website that focuses on alternative gender identities clarified that “fae, faer, faer, faers, faerself” refers to identifying as a “fairy (faery, faerie, fey or Fair Folk) themed set” of gender pronouns. Nothing says your gender identity is legitimate and valid like identifying with something fictional.
Instagram has a history of humoring fringe-left identity politics.
Instagram had a “MUTE WHITE PEOPLE” sticker that users could place on their content last summer. The platform only removed it after conservative journalists and Donald Trump Jr. torched the company on social media. While the sticker appears to no longer be available on Instagram, the sticker can still be accessed on the GIPHY website. GIPHY, like Instagram, is owned by Facebook, meaning that Facebook was responsible for the image circulating.
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