What is social media bias?
Society has created narrow stereotypes of beauty. This means that anything seen as “different” is often challenged. Social media posts are being removed due to a person’s skin colour, size, religion or disability. How does it work? Content can be unfairly reported by other social media users, but also by an algorithm - the technology that powers what you see on your feed. And this algorithm is subjected to unconscious bias. It favours beauty stereotypes and censors real beauty - particularly the beauty of underrepresented communities. For women breaking the beauty bias, their voices and stories need to be heard even more.
Shazia Hossen is a Muslim personal trainer based in the UK. She started wearing a hijab five years ago. For her, navigating the male-dominated fitness world as a Muslim woman has been hard. Social media bias meant that at first she only saw one type of fitness ideal on social platforms. “A lot of women I was following for fitness inspiration didn’t have my body type, skin tone or culture so it was unattainable for me. I started looking for hijab-wearing fitness women and that representation helped me to see myself. It’s been a journey of finding my voice and having the confidence to speak, even when it’s been intimidating.”