IVF So White, So Medical: Digital Normativity and Algorithm Bias in Infertility on Instagram
Increasingly, women experiencing infertility are turning online to social media platforms, like Instagram, to engage with a support network and foster empathy. However, Instagram is also noted for its augmentation of White, cis, and heteronormative femininity through a process of silencing and minoritizing alternative, non-White voices. Through an inductive analysis of the most frequently used infertility hashtags, we collected and analyzed 252 Instagram posts to investigate how these algorithmic practices may socially construct the idealized IVF experience through communicating normative expectations. We identify predominant patterns of use that reinforce stratification within infertility treatments as primarily accessible to White women and best handled through expensive, expert medical procedures. Ultimately, we argue for increased attention to how algorithms may communicatively constitute and socially construct existing health disparities.
Author ORCID Identifier
Caitlyn M. Jarvis: 0000-0003-4576-9844
Margaret M. Quinlan: 0000-0002-7325-4058
Jarvis, C. M., & Quinlan, M. M. (2022). IVF So white, So medical: Digital normativity and algorithm bias in infertility on Instagram. Human-Machine Communication, 5, 133-149. https://doi.org/10.30658/hmc.5.6
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