Instagram now has the option to add custom pronouns to profiles.
What has changed?
Instagram has added an additional section to it’s user’s profiles, meaning they no longer have to use the bio space to include pronouns. What’s better, is that users can choose custom pronouns, not selecting from a drop down-box but free texting up to 4 pronouns on a profile. You can also choose to toggle this so it is either visible to everyone or shared with followers only.
What are pronouns?
I’m by no means an expert, however to understand pronouns simply, they are how we or you are referred to. There is no exhaustive list of pronouns, but most people are familiar with the three most commonly used: he/him, she/her, they/them. Learning someone’s pronouns or sharing yours aids to communicating respectfully with one another in a time where people feel more open and able to share their gender or identity.
Why do pronouns matter?
Some people don’t feel like traditional gender pronouns (she/her, he/him) fit their gender or identity, therefore they may choose different pronouns for themselves. This doesn’t always reflect what you feel you may ‘see’ in terms of gender and a person’s appearance. It’s important to familiarise ourselves with basic knowledge as pronouns are not only more commonly used, discussed and seen in everyday life, but they also encourage respect towards those who prefer specific pronouns to be used.
I’ve seen email signatures, social media bios, website profiles and TV shows stating pronouns in the past week. Speaking as someone who hasn’t previously felt the need to use or share my pronouns until recently, I didn’t understand why it might be important. This wasn’t me purposefully being ignorant, but I assumed as I ‘look’ female, everyone would also assume I am she/her. Flash forward a few years and I do now understand how important pronouns are for some people. Even if traditional pronouns apply to you, it can be a comfort for others if you share yours with them. I’m someone who has added She/Her to my IG profile, so that anyone who visits will feel comfortable to refer to me in this way if this is information they need.
Why write this blog?
The make-up series Glow up started using pronouns when showing their contestants on screen this series. All contestants were either she/her and he/him apart from one person who was they/them. It was important for the TV show to recognise this and ensure everyone had the same opportunity to share their pronouns and feel comfortable they were being referred to in the correct way suitable for them. I think more shows will start doing this with time.
In an age where people feel able to not conform to typical gender norms, its important for us as a society to respect and support those who value changes like Instagram’s new addition, as for some this addition will be very important.