Pronouns on Profiles: The Significance
Why is it important that social media platforms add pronoun options to people’s profiles?
The importance of giving people the opportunity to add their pronouns to social media platforms, like Instagram and LinkedIn, lies in the reality that knowing people’s pronouns, acknowledging them validating them, and accepting the person as who they truly are is but one of many ways to show respect and kindness for people.
How much can pronouns on my profile really do?
As I see it, there are a few important components. One is validation- the ability for people to know they are being seen and communicated with on their terms. The inclusion of pronouns signals that people have the ability to fully inhabit who they are and that there is no presumed identity that is more “normal” or “acceptable”, but that we have the agency to take control of who we are, how we are perceived, and demand respect for ourselves and every one of our identities as a result.
What does it mean when we are not given the option to display our pronouns?
The exclusion of pronouns, on the other hand, assumes that certain identities, namely cisgender and heterosexual, are the assumed reality of who people are, and that we must declare ourselves as “other” in order to be seen. As such, the impact of social media platforms asserting that this is not true is powerful. Of course, it is worth noting that Instagram nor any social media or networking platform in no way leads the endeavors of marginalized or otherwise oppressed groups, but can work to normalize asking, and stating, with conviction and pride, one’s pronouns.
How do Instagram, Linkedin, pronouns, and Pride all fit into the same picture?
Pride is something different to everyone, but by including pronouns as something that cannot be ignored or dismissed in people’s everyday lives, pride becomes not only an act of community or visibility or acceptance, but of the ability to fully inhabit who we are, and not allow people to separate content from person or work from person. This can work to minimize the separation from content and social performances from people’s identities, so that we have to begin to engage with people for every aspect of who they are- not only because of their instagram persona, for example. This is a critical component of rejecting the desire to see people as single parts of who they are and beginning to normalize embracing every part of people- not just those that are immediately legible, and that in itself, is a way to show pride. And for those who cannot for many reasons share things like pronouns or identities openly; do not have to but can see the implications of acceptance and normalization, which carries a lot of weight for many folks.
Feel like you're ready to add your pronouns to your Instagram and/ or Linkedin accounts?
How to add your pronouns to Instagram:
Instagram: Open Instagram, click on your profile picture, click edit profile, tap on pronouns option, add your pronouns by typing them out, and click done. After you’re done with this, all who view your profile or receive notifications from your account will be able to interact with your account with your pronouns visible.
How to add your pronouns on LinkedIn:
LinkedIn: Open LinkedIn, go to your profile, click on the pencil icon, or “edit”, and under the pronouns section, you can choose from a drop down menu consisting of the options “she/her” “he/him” “they/them” or “custom”, where you type your preferred pronouns. Save your selected or custom pronouns, and your pronouns will be viewable to all who interact with your profile.
Not everyone is ready to add their pronouns, and that’s ok!
Changing your pronouns is ok too!
There is always the option to edit, or remove your selected pronouns altogether. There is no limit to how many changes can be made to pronouns, or whether they can be removed, because navigating gender identity and pronouns is a fluid and moving process that is not static or fixed; and luckily, on LinkedIn and Instagram, we are given the flexibility to navigate the space of gender identity accordingly.