Google Thinks I’m Gay

My Gmail account thinks I’m a lesbian.

You see, I’d be totally cool with a human mistaking my sexuality because it’s not a big deal, but the fact that Google gave me ads targeted to a presumed sexuality is disturbing. Since when is my sex life remotely relevant to the internet?

I mean, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised since Facebook has given me fertility and baby advertisements since I changed my status to “married.” And, since Gmail doesn’t know I’m married, but I have Google alerts for “sexism,” “feminism” and “women’s issues,” the email provider made a generalization that I have sex with women.

So being a feminist makes me a lesbian? Does that mean all lesbians are feminists? Wow.

You know, it’s too bad you can’t be a person concerned with issues that affect women without being forced into gender roles, sex and other labels. Why should anyone define themselves by their email usage or Facebook status? Targeted ads are another form of stereotyping.

Let’s be honest, these personalized ads are totally sexist. Why are my sexual habits even coming into play? When men change their status to married, do they get fertility and baby ads? I mean come on, as if my age, family and heterosexuality aren’t pressure enough to have kids, I have to deal with Facebook giving me tips on becoming pregnant, or Gmail encouraging me to come out of the closet?

So what if I have a Google alert for “sexism.” Yeah, people laugh when they hear that, but it’s informative and I need to know exactly what people are seeing, saying and hearing about the topic.

The truth is, both men and women should care about equality whether they read the news, set Google alerts, or pay attention to these subtle cultural niches, because in the end, it will affect them in the work place, at home, in public and in their families — if they are so inclined.

I understand ads are generated by calculated algorithms and these links pay for the free services I use, but there’s a big difference between sponsored ads based on my searches and ads that make assumptions about my personal life.

I don’t want anyone to be defined by their gender, where’s that preference in our Google account settings?

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2 thoughts on “Google Thinks I’m Gay

  1. This is why people shouldn’t be blasé about using data-mining social media sites like Facebook or seemingly “free” web applications like Gmail. They aren’t free. The currency you pay to use them is your personal information, which they in turn sell to God knows who for God knows what.

  2. This is really funny….and true. I have had the same question as to why certain subjects are more targeted than others. I have had this issue with Netflix. We must have watched something at some point in a certain alternative category, although, I honestly can’t recall. NOW…I am starting to think Netflix knows something about me that I don’t even know! We (the man I live with and I), it would appear, are now in the “alternative” movie suggestion category. I even accused him of questionable activities and looked through what both of us have been watching just in case he is not telling the truth or I was drunk at some point. 😉 The only way that this could happen is that they (Google and Netflix data developers) are applying more importance to certain categories than others. WHY? I do not know! Perhaps you have touched on a very interesting question.

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