Body or bawdy, what’s the real difference?
— A significant battle is taking place between apparel maker The Bawdy Filter and Instagram, the latter’s biased algorithms being the point of contention. Founder B. Lin Murphy has recently floated a Change.org petition to highlight how certain tags result in low rankings and partial bans on Instagram, affecting minority businesses at a time when online sales are the major or only revenue generator.
The Bawdy Filter makes bodysuits that are comfortable, convenient and meant to infuse confidence and dynamism in women. In the current pandemic, its anti-microbe dresses have shown their relevance too. Its guiding principle is that ALL bodies deserve to be seen, supported and accentuated.
However, all wasn’t well with the store’s Instagram ranks and exposure. B. Lin Murphy noticed the low rankings, researched deeper and found that the store’s page, as well as other pages where certain tags had been mentioned, were being suppressed and shadow banned. One such partially banned tag was #bawdy. This term is used in colloquial hip-hop, urban and Black circles as a body-positive term that appreciates all unique physical appearances.
The Change.org petition can be seen and supported here: “Mark Zuckerberg: Instagram must review discriminatory censoring & hashtag bans that perpetuate #BAWDYbias!”
“I discovered that according to Instagram... all bawdies are not created equal. Why is Instagram censoring women without much regard? Especially curvy women? #Thickchick is banned, but #slimchick is not. #Curvygirls is banned, but #fitchick checks out fine. Woman-owned and black-owned business are losing visibility and promotion opportunities. Fix it, please!” says B. Lin Murphy.
According to B. Lin Murphy, Instagram’s man-made algorithm is patriarchal and sexist. The platform has apparently applied blanket bans on hashtags that reference curvy body types, and tags with ‘thick’ in them, such as #thick, #slimthick, #thickchick, and #thickqueen. The platform recently acknowledged the shortcoming and failure, especially for Black users, for everyone to be seen equally.
B. Lin Murphy is an author of three children’s books, and runs three businesses. She also works in innovation for a global brand, and her mission is to address life’s problems through compulsive experimentation and creation.
About The Bawdy Filter
The Bawdy Filter was founded in 2019 by B. Lin Murphy to address her personal difficulties with clothing. After her fruitless search on the internet for a one-step outfit, B. Lin launched The Bawdy Filter, featuring comfortable, wearable compression designed to ease busy days for dynamic women. For more information, please visit: www.bawdyfilter.com
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