tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

The Great Facebook Marriage Experiment, Part 4: life as a man-who-likes-men

When we left off, I had just married my sweetie of three days, plantgirl, in a ceremony that somehow managed to involve fluorescent sheep and elephants on unicycles. As such whirlwind romances are wont to do, once the honeymoon-that-we-didn't-actually have was over, the bloom faded fast and after a week, I quietly divorced her.

Funny how Facebook doesn't auto-trumpet your divorce the way it does your engagement and/or wedding.

Anyway, so if you've been following along, you'll know that this move left me a single man. A heterosexual single man. Within 5 minutes of my divorce, I was receiving ads for Elite Single Women In Your Area, Local Ladies On Facebook, and chainsaws.

Yes, chainsaws. I am not sure what it is about being male, heterosexual and single that equals Wants Chainsaw, but there you go. Chainsaws.

I stayed heterosexual for a whole week, because I wanted to give it a fair go. The theme of the week was Ladies, Women, Girls, and Moving To Australia. The ads for Australia were less common than the girl ones, but still common enough to make me think that single men are a target for firms that want to sell one-way plane tickets. Hmm. I have to say that I haven't yet been a single heterosexual woman, so I can't say whether skipping the country is considered to be equally appealing for women, but I'll get there. Meanwhile, it also advertised the usual business courses, cars, and travel that one would expect to see when you're in the demographic with the most disposable income.

But being a straight bloke got boring after a while, so I decided to be bisexual. What changed? Well, I got more ads for jewellery, and more ads for women. It seems that as a bisexual man, you're considered to require twice as much dating, but the dating is still all women. WTF?

Bisexual. I don't think it means what Facebook thinks it means. It didn't matter what I said or did, the algorithm had it in its head that I like women and women only, and Sexy Chicks Want You Twice As Much Now, and I was a little taken aback by this because if you're allowed to specify your sexuality, why is this particular one not acknowledged in the advertising?

Yes I am complaining that targeted advertising is not targeting me enough. At least, when I'm a bisexual man it isn't. *ahem*

So I did what any sensible woman would do, and became a gay man. More straightforward for the algorithm, right? I did this yesterday. So far I have received ads for contact lenses, girls, jewellery, girls, how to get big muscles, girls, holidays, girls, men's clothing, and girls.

So either Facebook is trying to turn me straight, or it ignores sexuality entirely when targeting its advertising. I even made a post to try and jig it along a bit that went like this:

" I like men! men man hotmen boys hawt, men men men booty pecs biceps abs men hairy legs and chests gimme men oh yes men."

I got a couple of responses that made me think. One from the ever-awesome Dr Wheel: "If facebook was really smart it'd detect your frequent changes and realise you like playing games and doing experiments and then advertise qualitative surveying services! Or it'd decide you were confused about your gender/sexuality and had frequent short lived marriages and recommend counselling."

It's also true that both my marriages have been to women, so maybe there are some historical assumptions going on there too.

However, the other message was from a lesbian friend telling me that she only gets ads for men and we should swap. Heh. But this does seem to bear out the theory that Facebook advertising is based on gender and a very heteronormative assumption of sexuality, which you can't even override by declaring yourself.

Which kind of sucks in this day and age.

Oh yes, and apparently gay men need less sex than bisexual men, because I'm not getting ALL my ads being for ladies any more. WUT.

Anyway, I'll give it a few days to catch up. I still have a few iterations of gender and sexuality to go through before I'm done with this, and then I'll declare my actual status and see what happens. But that won't be anywhere near as interesting.
Tags: facebook, ph3ar my heteronormativity, targeted advertising
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